By Michael Osborn
Captain of the erratic ship Freefall
So tell me Bob
is there any 'real'
way to begin a story?
Would a beer in hand help? A tiller in the other? Sails up and
the slosh of water flowing past? Whats that
? I've started
already? Oh. Might as well continue then.
Who, what, where, why? Well
engaged in all of the above, beer, tillers, sails, movement and
story telling. 'We' or 'the cast' being; The author and boat
owner 'a saltwater feral' known as Mick Osborn, and 'Cowboy',
The Boss, Glenn the moron' and the star of
this insignificant occurrence 'Jamie' (owner of the now scarred
see attached photos!). Collectively we were The
paint crew and had just finished painting someones
lovely proud vessel.
being foolish (as all bosses are prone to be)
had offered to buy the alcohol if I would consent to casting
ropes and taking the motley lot sailing. Being fond of said alcoholic
beverages and fond of sailing I joined the ranks of the foolish
Alcohol, boats and sailing at night
who can spot the mistake
here? Please send answers to me via the 'Coastal Passage' as
I can't figure it out myself.
Obviously something went wrong
but I can't tell you exactly
what as of yet as it would spoil a perfectly good yarn!
I arrived like all good captains
late. The boys were aboard
already and as they immediately handed me a good (un-opened)
can of bourbon and coke I chose not to 'repel' the lot of them.
A good thing too
seeing it was me on the wharf and them
onboard my Catamaran said 'repelling' would have taken some doing
depending upon where you stood if you get my drift.
Anyway, we started engines and cast ropes, cleared the marina
and hoisted sails. Engines off, sails full, bows to sea
all is good, pass the Captain another bourbon.
The Boss was suffering mild dementia at this time
having put up with the 'stress' of the job (watching us earn
you the big bucks must be hard), the 'stress' of owning a 23ft
boat when one of your workers owns a 33ft boat, the 'stress'of
having kids at home, the 'stress'
well you get the picture.
He looked comfortable at the tiller so the Captain ordered his
drinks to be 'chain delivered', huh? Oh
think chain smoker
got the picture again? Good. Where was I?
enjoying a pleasant sail with mates, quaffing some
nerve-calming elixir and watching the sun go down. World is good
me another bourbon.
You would think once away from the work scene the 'Boss' would
unwind and relax
the 'Boss' still has 'requests'
hmmm OK, multihulls are good at
that so we tighten down and start hitting 10+ knots
the 'Boss' another drink. What? You haven't finished the last
one? Ya Sook
the boys are well in front in the drinking
stakes. They only have to stand around and make my boat look
ugly, so no surprise that moments later the chant of Skull, skull,
skull has its effect and the 'Boss' cracks another beer. Being
a good Captain I join him in navigating... with a bourbon in
Anybody seeing a recurring theme here?
the memory is a bit fuzzy
1x carton Corona,
2x carton Bourbon and Coke, 2x carton VB, 1x carton XXXX gold
Lucky I brought a packet of chips or we would have been drinking
on empty stomachs
Captains brain at work there.
We put in 40 odd minutes of fine sailing, allowed the sun to
settle over the horizon, an important procedure you know
who wants to sail with the sun in their eyes? Ahh
Pass me another bourbon. Helm over
the highly trained crew
handling the gybe with ease
they were in a relaxed frame
of mind ya know?
Man is a city pretty at night, all those twinkly little lights
back dropping the harbour
and the lead lights, port/starboard
lights, special marks, spoil ground marks
uh oh. Everyone
get a full drink and lets play a little game The game being
where is the harbour entrance? Don't you love the spirited discussion
this sort of thing can bring on? It's happened on your boat too
huh? So we all adjourn to the bows of the boat leaving The Boss
at the stern pleading for directions. No problems.
Although you may not believe it we made port without incident
some spirited arguing
but no incidents. How lucky can you
be? You need to understand something here
our stocks were
running low and the mere thought of running out of fluid supplies
used to scare pirates never-mind us 'normal' type people. So
it was with good cheer that we turned upwind inside the harbour
and I as Captain went forward to the mast to handle the lowering
of the mainsail.
Accidents suck don't they? There is usually very little warning
though hind sight will show up the tell-tale markers you missed
at the time.
the utterance of these words
is never a joke. I had enough time to look away from the mast
then the deep 'Thud, thud thud' of the outboard hitting something
shook the boat. The third strike was enough to stall the motor.
No screams from under the boat.
I looked at the Boss and knew he was thinking the
same horrible thought. Ever seen something that has been hit
by an outboard? I have
on the 'Net'
ugly. We both swallowed
were no screams and no body appearing out from under the deck.
My gut sank
Bedlam, people yelling, running, peering under the boat.
Jamie was gone. It always seems like hours doesn't it?
Thump! There he is! Splash
Cowboy goes in
eyes on the water. We heave the two of them aboard
eyes are huge and white. His hands are holding the front of his
shirt over his 'jewels'. I will leave out the expletives as this
is apparantly a magazine for all ages
but I'm sure you
know what they would be.
The million dollar question finally gets priority.
it ate my shorts but
We look from one to another astonished
people don't go through
a round with an outboard and win
it's universally unheard
Give us a look
He turns and there we see the damage
the same damage you
should see attached to this article
photo's tell the tale
well don't they?
Yes we tied up fine, Yes we partied till late that night, Yes
Jamie couldn't sit down for days, No I haven't taken them out
and strangely enough The Boss won't buy
us any more alcohol.
There is no moral to the story
sailing isn't about morals
not that I'm aware of anyway! Cheers and remember
is running out of oil
outboards will no longer be dangerous
and sailors will rule the earth
don't believe me? Bring
a few bourbons over to the good cat' 'Freefall' and we'll argue
Bobs note; $10 worth of honesty
is worth a million bucks of PC.
I have seen what a prop can do to a
human body... Jamie, you one lucky boy...you could have been
turned the other way!