Thursday, 21 May 2009

virgin skipper

I'm taking my first inexperienced crew out this weekend, and I'm tippy-toed on a thin wire above two precipices: sheer excitement and wet terror.

Although I have sailed about 10 000 miles in my erratic career, none of them have been in this position. I've normally crewed for others and when I've skippered it's been with a co-owner of the boat who's pretty experienced too.

This weekend I'm going to have to remember the names of things; my left from right (or port from starboard, which somehow is easier, as if it short circuits my basic dyslexia); think at least three steps ahead in every thing I do, and ask my crew to do; ask my crew to do stuff, not yell incomprehensively (see note one); locate all the bits of the engine I have to check after running it; sleep when we're at anchor, in full confidence we won't drag or that if we do I'll somehow intuit it before we hit rocks; all the while looking confident, acting with a graceful authority.

One part of me knows it's like a performance: relax into it with the confidence I know my stuff; remember I have a willing audience (cum crew); and enjoy this choice I've made (I could after all spend the weekend on the sofa watching Nip/Tuck dvds). That's the excitement side. The other part of me knows that it's also potentially much more dangerous than a performance, these people's (and my own) lives are dependent on good decisions and mental, emotional strength. That's, obviously the terror. never was one for responsibility ...

I'll (hopefully) let you know how we get on next week.

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