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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Cruisin' Rules"

Ship's Log

Lat 23 degrees 23 min S

Lon 175 degrees 24 min W

Yes, there really are such things... many of them being made up as we go along! I send apologies to the actual author of the book "Cruisin' Rules" , Roland Barth, although I know he would heartily approve of whatever mess I make of his work (he is wonderfully self- deprecating...) in fact, this happens to follow one of his original cruisin' rules, I believe it was #14, - "He who holds the paintbrush determines the colour". This one resulted from a number of co-owners including him of a boat who decided that a fresh coat of paint was needed and only two of them showed up on the agreed upon weekend to do the work. Well the absentees were more than disappointed when seeing the results after the weekend of work was done... I seem to recall that one of them called it "Cat's ass brindle" - I leave it up to your imagination as to the resulting colour... thus was born the new rule.

Both Bill and I read this small though powerful and extremely funny book before we left for the open ocean (although C0-cap Bill kindly gave it away to some unknown cruiser along the way without my say - the result is yet another cruisin' rule about books being lent) and many of the rules have guided us both in our journey not only on Terrwyn but in life itself! In fact this was a book that I had recommended to the principals of our Calgary Board of Education schools as an inspiration for them and their staffs and students.

One very important cruisin' rule is Rule #2 "Good though!" ... which was created during a voyage with a number of his friends on board. Each of them took turns in galley duty with each person responsible for cooking one meal in turn. One untalented epicurean created a dish that was particularly distasteful which inspired many critical comments after the meal was eaten. Being very hurt by those comments and bringing that to everyone's attention a new rule was born... that being that no matter how bad something tastes the final comment should always be "Good though!"...or the criticizer would have to cook for a whole week!. When it was next the turn of our unfortunate untalented chef he decided to test the rule and gathered up some of the ship's cat's excrement and made a puree on crackers as a first course. After first bites of the interesting looking appetizer one of the crew blurted out " This tastes like cat shit!!!" and then quickly added "Good though!". We may be close to testing that rule ourselves as we are working our way through the ship's provisions so that once we arrive in New Zealand we should have bare cupboards. After taking a brief survey of what we have left stowed in our quarterberth and under the salon port berth I can see that pork and beans, rice and ichiban noodles may become the major ingredients in every meal for the next 10-12 days (with a bit of ketchup, mustard and peanut butter providing additional interest to the dishes). Interesting challenge for Terrwyn's chef (and diners!!)... no matter what, everything will be "Good though!".

Since both of these rules apply, in our case, to being able to accept decisions made by your co-capn during his/her watch came into play last night when I happened to be on watch. During the evening the wind had died to measly 2-3 knots with a resulting boat speed of 0.03-0.05 kts.

While Bill snored (sorry, I mean "Made sleeping sounds") away below decks I sat in the cockpit listening to the main sail slatting itself to death with each lazy roll of the boat... after 2 hours of this torture (that is -the sound of the sail flopping not of co-caps sleeping sounds) I decided that I needed to do something about it and I hated to disturb the sleep of my hard working co-cap. Now one of the serious rules of
Terrwyn on the open ocean is Rule #1 - "No one leaves the cockpit when on watch alone without wearing a harness being firmly attached to the jacklines". (which leads from the stern to the bow of the boat allowing one freedom of movement but safely harnessed in). For two hours I sat listening to and looking at that flopping sail until I couldn't stand it anymore. At that moment I went through all of the steps that I would
need to do to successfully put the mainsail to bed and one of those steps required that I go forward to the mast to deploy the jack stays (lines that attach to the boom and when set up ensure that the sail nicely falls into place on the top of the boom instead of flopping all over the deck). Well I headed out with heart in mouth to venture along the side decks, clamber onto the deck top and position myself with bottom firmly planted on our granny bars or mast pulpit (which are there for just that purpose - as a place to be secure when working at the mast). Despite the roly-poly movement I quickly deployed the jacklines... scampered back to the cockpit, released the main halyard and watched as the mains'l settled beautifully into it's place cradled by the jackstays on the top of the boom. Feeling very encouraged by this small success I then grabbed a sail tie jumped out of the cockpit, scampered up to the boom and fixed the sail tie around the boom and then around the flaked sail - "Alison Style"), secured the main halyard on one of the mast winches and got back into the cockpit with a great feeling of success... first time ever doing sailwork all by myself in the dark... without... oh my, I had forgotten one of our cardinal rules about not leaving the cockpit without being harnessed in... gulp!! Then and there I made up a new Terrwyn cruisin' rule - Rule #1a - "It is not necessary to reveal to co-cap the breaking of cruisin' rule #1 if the rule breaker is still safely on board!".

Fair winds from

Co-cap Cath safely on board SV Terrwyn!!


  1. Hi Cathy and Bill,

    I am so enjoying your voyage. Both of you write so well and you make me laugh all the time.

    Fall has almost ended here in Millarville. The larches let go of their yellow needles last week and we are left with bare trees. Impatiently I wait for the snow to arrive so it will cover up everything! We are also involved in Freestyle skiing with our boys so the entire family is eager for the snow to fly and for our season to begin.

    Friday night I'm off with Rhonda Dee for a Jungle Jane fundraiser night. It will be an opportunity for me to don my leopard tights and dance the night away with "Sleeping Beauty" (Rhonda's nn) I'm looking forward to seeing her and having lots of laughs.

    Know that your adventure is one of my weekly reads and I share your thrill of new frontiers.

  2. Hey Cathy,
    That was a great post had a chuckle about the night sounds, and flapping sails. Did wince when you started your forward movement, just knew y'all had forgotten. An old west phrase came to mind " tombstone courage". Oh well better lucky than caught, cause I got the feeling Ol' Captain Billy might have exchanges phrases, leading to a new rule.

    Bear Hugs