A backstory post, sometime around August of 2012...
Okay, so I put in my order with Neptune and I wait. Would you expect Neptune to send me the right humans on the first shot? Neptune’s a good guy, but he is mysterious in his ways. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he puts a boat to the test. Maybe he’s trying to see if the boat has really thought through her list of requests. Maybe he’s trying to see if she knows her soul, and therefore has considered wisely. Or, maybe he just likes to mess with me. Whatever it is, I know that I must keep up my guard. I must employ my next Secret Move, the rule that helps me navigate red flags and avoid terrible sailors.
I MUST BE PERSNICKETY.
Being persnickety is a skillset of its own. Some boats may be born with this talent, but not me. I am not naturally persnickety. A sense of duty to my current owners always creates the risk that I will set aside some personal need or desire in favor of being perceived as helpful, but some things are so important we cannot compromise in favor of a sense of duty, guilt or just good ole impatience. I must be on my guard.
Unfortunately, we started the human-hunt in 2009 - a year of economic recession that stretched in two, then three. My pickings seemed thin. I had only a handful of visitors to choose from, they would saunter down the dock, board my deck and sit in my cockpit. I’d look them over and sniff.
“I smell bananas…” I’d think to myself. When these unfortunate souls crossed my docks, I barely made eye contact with them. Rejected before they even stepped aboard, usually they wouldn’t even return for a second look. To my relief! As a couple years wore on, though, it was more difficult to keep focus.
A sea trial here, a survey there…”nope, not the ones!” I tell my owners. I'm sure they were frustrated with my delay, but they kept taking good care of me anyway. “They aren’t worthy!” I fold my arms and commit to remaining stubborn.
One day in August of 2012, I wake to hear Steve-The-Cheerful-Chainsmoker-Broker, leading two new sailors down the dock toward me. I can hear him listing off my prior travels, talking about all my pre-installed boat bling. “A good blue water boat is narrow inside,” he tells them, “You don’t want one of these new fangled boats where you can ballroom dance in the salon. She’ll throw you across the room in a seaway.” I raise an eyebrow and nod affirmatively. This is true. I am comparatively narrow inside, with a lot of storage behind my furniture. I have handholds everywhere, and I try very hard not to throw my favorite sailors across the room. But even I admit sometimes it can’t be helped…
“One hand for you, one hand for the boat!” I think just as the woman trailing in third place down the dock says the same thing aloud. Oooh, I like her.
Steve stands on the dock while he finishes a cigarette. Andrew and Leslie slough off their shoes and climb aboard. Shoes off: this is a good sign. Don’t spread your Land Filth and bird poo all over my deck with your Land Feet. Andrew starts looking me over from bow to stern. He starts knocking on my deck and presses his feet in certain places to determine if I’m squishy: I’m not squishy! He tugs on my rigging.
“A windvane!” Leslie says, peeking over my back stern. Oh, I like her. She appreciates my wind vane! A wind vane is a type of autopilot, steering device used to keep me on course without having to hand steer the whole way. It’s great because it operates without any electricity at all, just rudders, ropes, pulleys and the wind. Not everyone knows what a wind vane is or the extremely high value they bring to everyone’s sanity at sea.
Leslie moves around touching ropes. “Wow, a lot of halyards installed! And they seem in good condition.” I puff up with pride. Yes! I have many halyards. These are the ropes used to haul up sails, and they are very important. Each does its own job, but also can be used as spares. They make it easy to add storm sails if needed, and they are all oversized and strong! Like me. I’m very strong.
She grabs hold of one and squints into the sunlight to see the top of my mast. “Rigged for a spinnaker,” She says. I gasp. She noticed my spinnaker halyard! Could this mean…does she…no, couldn’t be. She side steps around my cabin top to where my spinnaker pole is mounted on the deck, bends down and inspects the jaws. She slides to the back and inspects the mounting mechanism that attaches to the mast. Ooooooooh! A spinnaker sailor!
Okay, Sonrisa, calm down. Seriously, have you even sniffed for bananas yet? I sniff…I do not smell bananas. No bananas!
“Where do you want to go?” Steve asks, his throat rattling with smoke.
“Around!” Andrew says, thumbing the paint on my mast. Suddenly, I get a little tingly. What does he mean by around, does he mean what I hope he means? Does he mean “around” in a general sense, or Around? “San Diego to San Diego, the Long Way!”
Suddenly, I see hearts in my eyes floating all around this Andrew fella’s head. AROUND! I want to go Around! I’m a great boat for going Around! I will him to hear me. These guys seem cool, but do they speak Boat? How do I let them know? I want to go! I Want. To. Go. AROUND!
They poke around down below knocking on this and that, peeking in hidden cabinets, looking beneath my drawers. I hate this part. It feels undignified to have them peeking around everywhere, but I steel myself knowing it has to happen. Leslie opens my bilge and looks at my keel bolts. Andrew surveys the engine room. Leslie lays in my stern bunk; she imagines what it would be like to sleep there with a tropical wind blowing through my hatch. Andrew stretches out on my Sea Berths; he takes up every last inch of my 6’3”. His head barely skims below my headroom; in the galley, his head fits right into the open hatch when he’s standing up straight. Then, they close everything up and climb out. As Leslie climbs my stairs, I swear she pats her hand on my bulkhead twice, leaving it there to rest for just a second.
“Thanks for the tour, Sonrisa.” She says as they walk away on the dock. She does speak Boat! I choose them. I have a good feeling about these people.