Spring is here and pale faces are beginning to emerge from their houses and enjoy the fresh air. With the winter cover finally off my boat, my mast up, and my lines cast free from the dock, I can feel a sense of freedom that, like the buds on the trees, is beginning to open up and reveal its charming face.
Yesterday I awoke to the sunshine streaming through my open hatch and the sound of the ocean lapping at my hull. And as I bobbed gently up and down on the waves, I thought to myself, “Yes, I live on a boat…. finally!”
From the cut of my jib one never guesses that I liveaboard and sail my own boat. Just last week after telling a colleague that I lived on my boat, she began asking questions like, “How long have you two lived aboard?” or “Where are you guys keeping your boat?” So yesterday, as I rowed ashore, dressed for the evening work of hostess; my hair curled nicely and my shirt pressed, I watched the four men on the dock staring me down and I wanted to shout, “What?! Have you never seen a gal row herself ashore?” …But I didn’t.
Twenty minutes later I was working on my new dinghy, appropriately called “the dirty dinghy” as it had sat in a friend’s backyard for years before I acquired ownership. I scrubbed, sanded, and repainted it inside and out.
Then I repaired a hole, added new rails, and even painted the name, “Peanut” on the transom. For the finishing touch I covered the entire rail with canvas padding. That last step required nearly eighty screws! Pressed for time, I called two friends for help.
While waiting for their arrival, I continued with my work and began chatting with a woman who was out walking her dog. “Wow, How do you know how to do that?” She asked. “Do what?” I wondered as I was only screwing in a zillion screws with the screwdriver. “Whose boat is that?”
“What do you do with a boat like that?”
“I’ll use it to row out to the boat I live on in the harbor.”
“You live on a boat? And you have to row to it? How often?”
“Wow. What if it is raining?”
“I’ll put on a raincoat.”
“Who helps you?”
When Kevin arrived I handed him a screwdriver and moments later realized that I should never assume a man knows how to use one. Two screws later I decided that I was better off doing the work alone. So, when Katherine and her friend Scott arrived, I asked, “Do you know how to use a screwdriver?” “Sure”, she said, “Where are the nails?”
After the dinghy was finished, Scott, Katherine and I launched it. It floated, and I jumped up and down with excitement!!! Katherine was eager to give rowing a try so she and Scott hopped in and I rowed a different boat. A few minutes later I was shouting to them, “Would you like me to tow you?” “No thanks,” said Scott, “I’m going to row now.” Now I know I can never assume a man can use a screwdriver or row a boat. But chivalry never dies, and so I allowed them to float on over, without a tow.
Onward I go, to hostess. I meet a lot of interesting people hosting at the restaurant/bar that I work at and last night was no different. A charter boat captain was telling me all about his fancy boat and the wedding and honeymoon charter cruises he does. So, I told him that I’m a sailor too. “Great,” he exclaimed, “because I’m looking for a crew member, and you would be perfect.”
The woman with him turned to me, got a little to close, and whispered, “If he wants you to work with him, you should because he is so interesting.” And then, leaning in closer, she said, “And he is not one of those pervert types. I’m serious! You know what I mean. He really is not a pervert.”
“Sure,” I thought.
And Mr. Honeymoon Captn’ said, “I’m looking for a new crew member. You really would be perfect because the job isn’t just about pulling on lines. I need a crew member who can cook!”