Boogie Nights

"Ever wondered what it's like to live the dream, with damp elbows and a feint whiff of your close friends toilet habits? This is a yachting blog with a difference, as we go on a journey of discovery, a journey of stupid ideas and ridiculous adventures. The daily commute will never look the same again."

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ever Decreasing Circles

JT: Lovely weekend for it  
Pogo lady: yes, lovely weekend.  
JT: are you going anywhere nice? 
Pogo Lady: I think we'll head over to the pub in Cowes, and you? 
JT: Oh we're going to head out of here, turn left then right a bit and just keep going until we get bored and come back again. See you at the bar on Sunday?

It's that time of year already when we have to knuckle down and do a few things to prepare for the first race of the year, actually my only planned race of the year (there will be more, I just don't plan far ahead normally)

Sue popped round to say hello and since the weather looked quite nice, we thought it a good time to nip out to get our qualifying passage done for the Yachting Monthly Triangle race. It's not particularly arduous at only 125 miles, but finding the time where we were both available and the weather was ok is the hard part.

Before we set off Sue made a rough passage plan and then suggested we use the log to...

no wait, Sue, the thing is, erm, my log, well, I haven't got one. Well, I have, but it's at Raymarine still. I forgot to get it back from them. Yeah I know, I took it there last October...

so we had to tot up the miles the modern old fashioned way using GPS lat and long, join the dots and measure it on a paper chart.

Sue, completely unfazed by my apparent lack of essential equipment didn't so much as bat an eye and just started a comprehensive hourly note taking and log book routine. 

And for once I was chef rather than heater-upper. Though, I'm no Steven Seagal...

bye bye Solent, we are finally out of it's clutches with a bit of help from the iron sail. 

must remember to replace that top batten...

sunrise amidst the shipping

chasing the wind meant we generally had a decent speed most of the time. But it did mean we went around in circles. 

the plant (on the left of shot in a cut off vittel bottle) I have fondly called Seymour is just a plant based creature that refuses to die. It came as part of a bunch of flowers a year ago and has continued to grow and sprout new growth in just a water container without soil. When faced with something so resilient, I can't help but admire it despite it's ungainly appearance. It's a fighter. I love a fighter. 

The dog assumes his primary position. On a bunk, near a cushion. His night shift involved cuddles for nearly 2 hours on, 2 hours off.  

if you look carefully, you'll see our meandering course. We had a lovely time with the shipping in the night. 

So, that's us done for the moment. we'll be back to talk proper nonsense in the near future. 

erm, wait a moment... A word from the figure head

whoa whoa whoa, not so fast there, I think you'll find I'm the spokesperson around here when there's the need for a third voice.

"I don't know what's going on here, but at no point above do I see any mention of being honked at by that massive ship leaving the Solent because dipstick one and dipstick two failed to make their intentions clear to the myopic watch of the bridge, like pointing me at the fort wasn't clear enough, or Sue having a minor moment of "ee bygum there's a lotta ships in the dark" and I've seen no mention of the chaos of re-entry to Portsmouth Harbour (3 ferries coming in, 1 ferry going out, two tugs escorting a ship in, a floating dredging raft blocking half the entrance and Jayne almost breaking a sweat)
No mention of Sue being passive aggressive to the little tupperware that completely pretended Boogie Nights wasn't there and no mention of the scrappy mooring offered by Jaynes cack-handed berthing skills.
but hey, I won't mention it if you don't ay ladies? You don't mind me calling you both dipsticks do you?  
Do you?  
Hey, where's my arrival beer?"

Monday, May 2, 2016

How to date: a sailor's essential guide

It seems the world is lacking in advice for would-be potential suitors of sailors. 

It is something I feel aught to be made into a handy guide, rather like a first aid manual, for which I am recently re-ticketed after a refresher alongside my esteemed co-skipper Sue. When asked how best to deal with burns by the instructor, Sue offered: bagpipes and a haggis? 

We were given acronyms to help us remember essential things we shouldn't forget.
I've forgotten most of them now. But I will always remember my ABC, Airways Breathing Circulation. or Accelerator Brake Clutch.  or in the case of boat dating:

A - Awesome at all times. - the ability to act cool in all situations.
B - Barometer brain -  knowledge of when pressure is rising or falling.

C - Charm and comedy - the ability to laugh the isobar off a weather front. 
The single sailor's essential guide to dating

Do your ground work before considering the first reef point of dating:

There's three types of people in the world, those who go boating, those who go sailing and Those-who-don't.  It's important at this point that you know which one of those you are and which kind the person on whom you intend to shine your head torch. (metaphorically)

The difference can be discerned simply by asking the following: "How often do you fill your fuel tank?"

Boater, "my MercruiserVolvoManCatterpillarYanmar is/are quite economical, I can cruise for miles before filling up, every time I go anywhere..."
Sailor, "surely that's excessive weight no? Cost me about £30 about a year ago."
Those-who-don't, "er... I go to Asda/Tesco/Morrison's/Sainsbury's once a week because it's on my way to work..."

Note that you won't get a straight answer from anyone, but you can figure it out like this:
a boater will avoid saying out loud how much fuel they need to put in their boat,
a sailor will make it very clear how little it cost and how long ago it was.
Those-who-don't will reference a Supermarket.
[There is a 4th type, they're called Sunsailers, if you accidentally meet one of those, run.
Run away. Do not go there. I repeat, do not go there.]

Now that you know what kind of person you're dealing with, the process of dating becomes simpler.

tips for first reef point:

It's important to understand the different techniques involved in the pickup and delivery of chat up lines. A boater needs converting and Those-who-don't need persuading (and quite possibly a safety briefing) A sailor needs little encouragement.

chat up line for a boater: 
Would you like to pop round mine to help me service my engine? I'll provide coffee and cake.
reasoning: boaters love their engines and they've often got a better quality oil suction pump, which us useful for servicing.

chat up line for a sailor: 
D'ya fancy going for a sail?
reasoning: nothing says, come on, than asking a fellow to partake in shared interests of rope fondling, casually discussing tidal flows and computational rates and tables. 

chat up line for Those-who-don't: 
Would you like to meet at X marina clubhouse for a drink?
reasoning: it's best to get social relations started away from the yacht initially. They need to see the shoreside human version before you morph into gibberish speaking rope tweaking sailor the moment you step onboard your beloved precious

acceptable attire and pre date prep for sailors on a first date with Boaters or Those-who-don't:

wear your sunglasses on top of your head like a hair band. It is definitely sexy. It doesn't matter if it's dark and/or raining.

ubiquitous glasses on head

wear foul weather gear. Even if you have stripped down to your salopette and vest. Yes I know, sailors amongst sailors, nothing says sexy like a salopette worn over long johns and a vest but this is a language your potential beau has yet to learn. Patience padawan.
Wear jeans and a smart top. Leave those sailing boots on the boat. Wear shoes. Unless you're wearing shorts, then wear boots. because sailing boots and shorts, yeah baby, you'll be irresistible and will look slightly like a pirate. Everyone loves a pirate. Amiright?

have a shower. Whilst sailors amongst sailors love raw pheromone, this is something you will need to train your suitor in later.

use wet wipes instead of a proper shower. Save those for when you're in full action mode strutting your stuff several days at sea. For now, use water. From a shower head. (you were reaching for those wet wipes weren't you?)

clear the dining table and galley of any paraphernalia not relevant for a potential evening ahead. Laptops, tools, excessive numbers of head torches, steam cleaner fittings, shackles, bits of rope and dirty socks all need to be stowed away out of sight.  This will be especially important later, which I will cover a little further down.

forget to scrub the heads (toilet and shower room) within an inch of breaching the hull. It must be spotless.

scrub the heads again for good measure. Poo-pipe stink paranoia is a real thing. Use air freshener and close the door.

Now you're all set, give yourself a wee check in the mirror, nobody will notice your white sunglasses induced tan panda eyes. You're looking hot to trot my friend.

you are the epitome of ABC

tips for second reef:

chat up line for a boater: 
Thanks for helping with the engine. I've got a bottle of wine in the cooler, would you like to come back for dinner/tea? (you can go up a level here by offering ice cream – this is high level luxury.)
reasoning: by demonstrating you have a cooler, you have shown that your yacht has a modicum of luxury and is worth further investigation beyond the engine hole. 

chat up line for a sailor: 
D'ya fancy dinner/tea while we sail?
reasoning: nothing says, come on, than a carefully prepared cornish pasty wrapped in kitchen paper. 

chat up line for Those-who-don't: 
I've got food onboard, would you like to pop back to mine for canapés and a little music, you like rum cocktails don't you?
reasoning: you need to keep up pretences that yachting is glamorous for as long as possible. The illusion will be shattered soon enough. (just got to get 'em onboard and ply them with dark 'n' stormy)

tips for a smooth transition into second reef evenings with Boaters or Those-who-don't:

continue to wear your sunglasses on top of your head like a hair band. It is definitely still sexy. Even when you're cooking or serving canapés.

wear a head torch to see inside the cupboards, it will ruin the sunglasses-on-head effect, instead, hold the light in your hand like a torch, or better still, don't use a torch at all and give the impression of being a cupboard-ninja with the ability to find the right thing simply by echo location alone. [remember our acronym, A = Awesome at all times even if you put you hand on a sharp or hot object.]

bend at the knees. not at the back when looking in those lower, floor level cupboards. This is not the time for a total eclipse of the moon. Save that for later.

don't forget the proximity of your guests. 

this is the polite way of being a cupboard-ninja

forget to explain how the toilet works and general boat-toilet etiquette if your date is one of Those-who-don't. It's best done earlier rather than later, but not the moment they climb through the companionway. Give them a chance to down that first drink. (handy hint: You can pre-prepare by having all seacocks open to save time and avoid terrible blow back consequences if they only open one.) Be aware that it can be confusing to explain that everyone must sit to use the toilet, but no-one should drop a bomb, we go to marina facilities for that sort of thing.

caution: If during some point of the evening you hear a higher level of toilet pump handle use than expected, it may mean the object of your affections has dropped a deuce and is struggling with the correct method. Do not, at any point laugh if they ask for a stick. Remember your ABC, you need to remain awesome at this point and turn the music up or offer assistance.

use mood lighting, the red LED from your chart table is acceptable for this purpose. It will also save on battery power. Win win!
remember C- Charm? The dimmed lights will enable your beau to see past that salt blasted complexion and experience your charm and wit with fewer barriers. 

use real candles, see reasons here > Boat tips over, candle sets fire to clothes and here > boat fires
Nobody wants to be that person calling the emergency services.

put some ambient music on, better still invite your guest to bring music. This will be especially important later when someone uses the toilet. [having an adequate stereo music provision should never be overlooked. Consider a modern car stereo with bluetooth, usb, auxiliary inputs and CD ability as a small investment in providing the sound track to your love and toilet life.] 

If your stereo currently resembles anything like this, you may need to consider an upgrade.

tips for third reef:

chat up line for a boater: 
Would you like to see my back cabin?
reasoning: Nothing says, hello to a boater than being shown the back cabin. If the answer is yes, then give yourself a pat on the back. It looks like someone just pulled. 

chat up line for a sailor: 
Shall we anchor up for the night?
reasoning: nothing says, come on, more than dropping a hook and swinging about with the wind and tide in a sheltered bay, amongst a whole flotilla of others in what is the equivalent of a road side lay by, near some beach and nature reserve. Sundowners in the cockpit anyone? If the boat's rocking, don't come knocking. (or was that a  ferry?)

chat up line for Those-who-don't: 
Would you like to use my guest cabin? I have set the electric blanket to pre-heat the bed for you.
reasoning: Keeping up the appearances of sophistication is a must. You don't need to tell them that they will be jammed in with at least one spare sail, a couple of fenders, solar panels, dinghy paddles and spare life jackets. They will discover this soon enough when you use your own body as a barrier between them and your paraphernalia. Waking up with the mark of a photovoltaic grid pattern on your arse is a small price to pay. 

turn off the electric blanket after 10 minutes. You don't want to overheat your guest too soon.

attempt to do any show-boating yet. This will result in separate cabin sleeping arrangements. We don't want that. The aim is to find an excuse to share the same cabin. If they are Those-who-don't then you are in luck. You can simply explain that it's normal that everyone shares a cabin for safety reasons. They won't know any different.

leave a single night light on in the main cabin. Your guest may still be unfamiliar with the layout and struggle to find their way around in the dark if they need to use the heads.

forget safety precautions. Don't leave the electric blanket plug upturned or in a place where anyone, even your awesome-ninja-self might tread on it. Try not to utter, fuck bugger or cunt if you do inevitably hurt yourself, remember your ABC, it's your job to be awesome.

switch your mobile phone, AIS alarm, VHF distress alarm, anchor drag alarm, depth sounder alarm to silent or off. You don't want interruptions. If you happen to be at anchor, you might want to have a back up plan. You might leave your boots and safety pants in a rapidly accessible place, rather like a grab bag.

roll your eyes when the object of your affections comments when the boat rocks, saying "did we just rock the boat or was that a ferry?" or some other seemingly funny comment. They don't really understand that you've lived with this effect for years and don't even notice it anymore. Indulge them, it's still a novelty.

Did the earth move for you? No, but the wardrobe door came open.

take note of their complexion. If they drain of colour at anytime or go clammy, this is a warning that you need to dispense either Kwells [motion sickness remedy] or Alkaseltzer [too much dark 'n' stormy remedy. 
remember your ABC, be awesome at all times and (barometer) detect pressure rise or fall, comedy and charm will enable continued fun times in the guest cabin. 

climb over your guests head, naked, when exiting the bed. [for the uninitiated, most yachts have beds with a tiny access by the head of the bed which means an ungraceful entrance and exit] Instead, playfully throw a pillow over their face to distract them as you make your exit to visit the heads, or fetch water etc. Try not to accidentally smother them as you slip and put additional unintended pressure on the pillow.

Now assuming all went well with reefs one, two and three, you might get adventurous with your now willing and able cabin mate.


Definition: to gull-wing is the act of a delicate balance, a little dance if you like, trying to simultaneously carry one sail in one direction and the other sail in the opposite direction. This is a precarious position to be in, but can be rewarding, and has been known for people to cross an ocean like this. It may require additional apparatus in order to keep the front sail up. You be the judge and tweak and adjust things as you go to get it just right. 

With headroom limited to that of a seated greyhound you will soon run out of options in a yacht cabin.  You'll need to get adventurous and consider anywhere that has full standing headroom.

Grey hounds seated. 

This is where you'll be glad you cleared that dining table...
(Beware, the dog will be watching you. Try not to feel judged.) 

table for two? Watch out for those fiddle rails. 

Happy sailing :-)

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