Friday, May 4, 2012
Another day another sail. We spent the morning working on a few fixes, some glitches from yesterday. Nothing major, just a few new leads for lines and raising the gaff a bit higher. It was a very light air day, and we started out in the bay just practicing tacks and wares. My first turn on helm came about a bit later in the sail as we made a light downwind run for the channel out into the bay. Even under leisurely speeds, you can't help but have a moment of awe about that responsibility. Though responsibility is a thing that we deal with all the time, to such a degree that we tend to forget it. The rig of Niagara, or any sail boat for that matter, is a powerful machine, and if you make a foolish mistake, the consequences can be dire. Two days in a row I have been responsible for handling the halyard when taking in the main tops'l and t'gallant. With a turn around a little wooden pin I have lowered, as fast as I could without losing control, hundreds and hundreds of pounds of wood and canvas above the heads of my shipmates. If I dropped it, the lifts should catch it, the gear should catch it... but at the end of the day those things could also fail; The risks are very real. I also spent a decent part of the day aloft with volunteers furling, and running around the rig a bit. I forget sometimes how hard it is for people, and need to focus more on being patient and understanding. I think it may be more of a challenge this season than last, because the crew knows each other so well; knows each others strengths and weaknesses to a point where we just get things done with very little open communication. It can get really difficult to actually articulate and explain things when you get used to that. Must remember not to get flustered. Hopefully another short sail tomorrow, and then a few days rest before the Coast Guard pays us a visit.