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."

bienvenu, hola, ciao!

06 October 2016

Bend it like a Boater

Yoga for Yachties.

We know how to throw some shapes.

Nothing says bendy, like a boater in a fix. Known to contort themselves into positions a yogi would be proud of, all in the name of changing an oil filter, fixing a water pump or entertaining a lover.

It's no coincidence that we describe it as berthing a boat.

In the name of public service and to spread a little of the health benefits of this past time, we bring you the directory of boating shapes. Let us show you how to Bend It Like A Boater.

see this ^
He's Chuck, he's hard, yeah.

Follow the handy key to difficulty (or hardness) level using the Chuck Norris method.
See this symbol and judge for yourself if you're up to it.
We won't be held responsible for hernias, slipped disks or ripped gussets.

Let's start with a simple warm up. 

   The Mount / Dismount  

Now this might seem rather silly, but to those who are infrequent boat visitors, the very act of mounting or dismounting these crazy beasts can seem a challenge.
(This is also a good way of judging if someone is going to be a practical addition to crew by their ability to get on and off in less than the time it takes to unwrap a Mars bar)

Grab the stays aligned centrally to your body (the cables holding the mast up), get a foot firmly on the side and hoist your arse up in one swift movement. Bring the other leg up and straight over the guard wire. Then gracefully step inside with the other foot. If the boat is really high, then chances are you will have a bit of a hoist to do. Or you might be lucky and have a fender step.
(If you recently had a knee replacement, then forget about it. It will feel like a "5 Chuck" manoeuvre. Visiting the insides of boats is so overrated.)

Climbing like a cat
thanks to for the use of this picture

To take this up a level you can try climbing on to a boat with both arms filled with shopping bags, with at last one of those about to burst with a rapidly growing split, a chihuahua under one arm and  a gas bottle around your little finger about to snap it off. Wearing smart office clothing and footwear with shiny soles.

To level this up again, introduce strong winds causing the boat to rock violently or attempt all of the above from a small inflatable dinghy.
In a corset and long dress.
At 3am.

When descending or dismounting this must be in a controlled manner.

Never jump. Never Jump. Never Jump. I repeat, Never jump. Always step in a controlled and catlike manner.

Luke descends with poise and utmost care
(Thanks Clair Reed for this pic xx)

  The Squeaky Conscience  

Cleaning is a boaters mantra, clean boat, clean conscience. Or something like that.
You're going to need some stretchy clothes. Avoid spicy food several hours prior to attempting this.
Find a confined space that needs cleaning or maintenance. Now climb into the space and take a look around you. Check that both elbows are never more than 15cm from either knee. Check that the working height is never more than a third of your actual height when standing.
Hold this posture for at least one hour. Fetch more cleaning fluids and repeat the procedure for at least three more hours.

sometimes there's no space for legs, especially if they go all the way up to your arse. 

The head sized cupboard presents its own challenges. 

To level this up: try climbing into the lazarette and attempt to do anything other than breath.
If you can achieve this, then you are already well on the way to a top level of being able to bend it like a boater.

It all looks very easy from here. It's not. Props to Luke for this highly skilled move. 

Cleaning the diesel tank
this is a five chuck manoeuvre.

   Mast Monkey  

There's an art to climbing masts. it usually involves being pretty fit and/or lightweight.
If you're not fit or lightweight, then you might delegate this task.
If you're not exactly either, but you still want or need to attempt this, then find yourself a good spotter. Safety first and all that.
The ability to climb or hold your own weight while your spotter winches you, as well as take the required tools with you to somewhere around 15 plus meters above deck, then hold yourself in position by clamping your legs around a wire or mast while you attempt to work on something that mustn't be dropped while you sway two meters one way then two meters back again is a skill that needs to be built up gradually.
You may want to attempt this in a climbing harness for extra monkeyness. But beware, after an hour of dangling, your legs will go completely numb rendering any graceful landing impossible.

just dicking about at the top of the stick, spot the spotter ready to duck under the spray hood.
Here is the talented Gary who has developed the skill to actually walk up the mast stays.
Don't let his slight paunch fool you. He is like a ninja in a polo shirt. 

to level this up: Try doing this at fucken sea. You will probably feel like you want to die quite quickly. That or you'll ralf up your stomach contents at your spotter below. Hopefully they will be hiding under a spray hood.

   The Cabin Diver  

The climb into bed depends on whether the bed is already occupied by either lover or friend. (boaters are sharing types, beds are frequently shared in a non sexual, drunken, "mates who fart and put the duvet over your head" kind of way)
You can ascend the wooden hill to Bedforshire in several ways.

If it's a low cabin bed, you can simply do a forward roll like a commando and arrive facing the right way. That's called "Bedding like a Boss."
If it's the high level bed, this is less graceful but good results can be achieved by getting a knee on the edge of the bed first, rolling sideways and diagonally, breakwind as you approach something of a tuck position, (you may choose to avoid this part if you are trying to be romantic in any way at all) rotate on your side, kicking the duvet around you as you go. If the bed is occupied, your space will be roughly one third of a cabin and will make the entry more challenging.

Think of it as a jockey doing an involuntary dismount. Your task is to arrive with minimal injuries.

You may have to avoid a dog, a flag pole, some spare sail cloth, some paddles, an engine manual and sundry other items that probably should be somewhere else but the front cabin seemed like a handy place at the time. You will have to do this at least twice as you first forget to bring your alarm to bed then forget to switch off the water pump or gas. Think positive. Every repetition means you're going to be that little bit more bendy.

To level this up by at least two levels: try leaving your foul weather gear on, get under a blanket and climb behind a lee cloth while the boat is leaning at around 35 degrees. Leave your boots on. Avoid squashing the dog who is likely going to want to sleep on your head after being displaced from the bunk.

   The Guest Cabin Forage   

Without doubt the guest cabin forage is a major challenge. This is where the various bits of paraphernalia live along with your guests and their baggage.
If you need access to the bilge pump/s, the prop shaft, the spare jib, the solar panels, the dinghy seat, the cockpit table, life jackets... then you'll find them all nestled under your guests luggage in the back cabin.
To access any of the above, you will need to transform yourself into withered, permanently hunched Hobbit. The back cabin is the equivalent of going caving. A helmet is advisable. Chances are you will emerge feeling slightly angry and sporting several new bruises. This is character building. Suck it up sunshine.
the ceiling is low. It's dark. I likes it. 

   Raising the Wreck  

The ability to rise from our pit is one that requires sometimes unearthly efforts.
If the ageing foam mattress hasn't crippled you or you don't have concussion from the low headroom, then you're off to a good start.
It rather depends on your cabin location and whether or not you also have a dog or kit bag or friend that insists on wedging themselves in alongside you against the hull sides. All of them are a bit squishy and don't provide much grip.
You're going to have to figure this one out alone as we still don't have this technique mastered. If you find something that works, please drop us a line and share your wisdom. 

you may find you resemble the creature from the black lagoon on emergence from your pit

   The Squatting Crab  

the half stand, half sit, it's like a sideways crabbing squat manoeuvre.
This works those glutes, lower back and thighs. Sometimes we can go around in circles, all the way around the table and never actually sit down as we remember that thing we forgot when we went to sit down in the first place. This motion can be repeated ad infinitum, depending on your age and level  of senility. The bonus here, is that the more senile you are, the firmer your buns will be. So it's a case of yin and yang right there.

the squatting crab. can be repeated all night if we have to. 

   The Piriouette  

The helm position is unique to each boat.
Now this one (on Boogie Nights) offers a nice little space behind the wheel and a mini gymnasium to get there.
When the weather is being weatherish and you're clipped on, this makes moving from the helm to the cockpit a little adventure and slightly like a Crypton Factor exercise
Sometimes, if there's two of you and you need to perform a hand over, with the autopilot not engaged, then there's a funny little pirouette that we call the Boogie Nights groove

you'll hope to look like this but...

The Boogie Nights groove?
you'll end up looking like the pig and dog, above.

   The Slanty  

Leaning over at 35 degrees is fun. It's also a real work out of the core muscles. Do as much leaning over as possible. This will require you to go sailing as often as possible, however it is feasible to attach a halyard to a pontoon and winch the boat over so that you can practice being leant over for days at a time. Nobody will think you're odd. Trust me, your abdominal muscles will thank you for this.
  (Alternative ways to achieve the lean is to run aground and let the tide go out. Always a winner that one, or leave your boat tied to a quayside and have one too many pints in the pub, you'll come back to your boat dangling at an alarming angle, which you'll be very happy about)

   The Plank  

We've all been there. You're trying to leave a mooring or harbour. You're alongside and the wind is blowing the wrong way. You'll be tempted to push off. It's not advisable. You'll do your back in or go swimming. Of course you could give it a go just to see. Just because it never worked ever before, doesn't mean it won't this time. Everyone loves an optimist.

   The Hook a Duck   

Catching a mooring buoy is like vertical jousting with a hook. You'll need to be quick. You'll find your jousting position well in advance. This may well be laid prone across the deck or leaning dangerously over the side. Once you've hooked your duck, then hang on for dear life. Even if it means running down the side of the boat with your hook jammed in position. Never let go.
Think in situations like this, what would a Jack Russell do?
Be that Jack Russell. Using your teeth isn't recommended.

   The Strictly Come Dressed  

Putting clothes on while a boat is leaning over is one thing. Doing that while you have a damp body is another. Doing it while the boat is leaning, your body is damp and you levitate on every other wave is again another skill to which sailors not only thrive in, but actually quite enjoy in a slightly masochistic way.
We can't actually advise you how to do this, as every time is different. It requires balancing ability. You'll need to hang on, but simultaneously put something over your head. You'll need to use both legs merely to survive (assuming you have the standard full complement of two, if you have modifications then this will help your chances. Legs are tricky things to get into long rubber lined tubes called salopettes - it's no coincidence that the French word for bitch is salop. If you want to slide those bitches on, you'll need extreme skills.)

yeah,  I'll be right out. Just gotta get my boots on 

foul weather gear can be quite bulky. 
The sock is the ultimate challenge. Putting on a fresh pair of these bad boys while enduring full on sporty offshore levitating conditions, well, you're certainly in a podium position for skillz. You'll be getting the call anytime soon for the next kung fu movie.

serious skill required for replacing socks at sea. 

   The Master Chef  

Putting the dinner on can be quite literal. We often end up wearing our supper. It's advisable to keep footware and salopette on to avoid scalding or a hot mini sausage from the caserole wending its way skywards and lodging itself in your base layer somewhere difficult to suck the juices out of without disrobing. You'll be wearing that sausage stain for a couple of days more yet.
Wedging ourselves into a galley with a gimbled flame with scalding hot food balanced above it requires nerves of steel and a stomach made of unobtanium.

protective gear required

posture may seem a little unconventional
If you can master the art of basic cooking, then you might want to level it up to a six chuck (off the current scale) by baking a cake.

Extreme Baking

So there you have it. 

The easy guide on how you too can bend it like a boater. 
If you have further suggestions or find any dangerous omission, please drop me a line.  
If you find yourself stuck and require help, please call the fire service. They have really good cutting equipment. 
Please only attempt any of the above if you are unlikely to shit yourself when contorted.Also do not attempt if you are pregnant, lactating or have overly large manboobs. 

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