Basil Panakis
Sun 22 Jun 2014 10:31
38:08N 29:55W
This will take me about an hour and a half to type. Practically every word gets corrected. I do not have a stable platform. On Cunard's Queen Victoria I went to see how they put the shows on, talk to the stage manager and dancers. The strange thing was when and how they decide not to put a performance. The dancer takes off the boat moves down and he/she has to come down a longer distance or if the ship I should say moves up they come down with a thump. It is the same with the keyboard.
My sleep pattern is terrible, come what may I wake up the most strange hours to attend to the sails. No different last night.
As Jackie insists that I should keep on this blog despite the fact I talk to her on the phone here are some snippets today from my days as an instructor.
Spare shackle. This lady was a nurse from London and she had very soft hands. Some work needed to be done in the bows and I sent her there. It took a very long time so I went to investigate, apparently she was puzzled as there were two shackles there and did not know what to do with the second one. May  be they put it there as a spare I said. So to my amazement she threw it overboard.
During a rather rough weekend in the Solent a young pilot comes to me and says he wants to be sick. We also had a banker from somewhere in the Gulf onboard, both inexperienced. I said to the pilot to go and help his colleague at the bows with the sail change and he can be sick afterwards. Later he came back and said I do not feel sick anymore.
Ann the dentist from the Isle of Wight. The young lady got into her oilies did the Fastnet race, say 6/7 days and never once took her gear off. I would imagine she got undressed to go to the heads but that was always behind closed doors. Slept, ate, stood her watch in the same outfit. Never seen it before or since. She did sail with me a number of times. I leave the Fastnet stories separate, but this one just come to me.
A party of young grads came one weekend and wanted to go across the Channel. Checked their experience and I think it was only Kathy that had been on a boat before. You are the watch leader I said. We went to Cherbourg and then to Alderney, the passage back was going to be rough so while we were in harbour put a third reef and left. Not long after, I was sitting on the companion way and all of them were in the cockpit behind me. A sudden gybe and the sail rips just above the third reef. I look behind and their faces are all blank. I said nothing and kept looking forward. Eventually I turn around and say when are you going to get it down then? We came back on the headsail alone. Alison was sick and I told them to hold her when she was feeding the fish. The same group kept on coming and sailing with me. One of the guys was learning Japanese at the time. They were young bright people. Eventually Kathy become a skipper, I see her now and then with her husband/partner. 
Students from Portsmouth Poly came along one weekend for tuition and fun. Organised by a young then Richard. I took my group out and treated them with kid gloves. Everything nice and gentle as the weather was rough. We stopped for lunch in Cowes and a few of them came up and they asked me whether I can make it a bit more exciting. Took the reefs off and out we went, bashing about, waves washing over us, spray everywhere. It was fun but, and this is the big BUT, four of them left us that night, the ones that asked for excitement.  
Jeronimo. One weekend I was given a Sweden 36 that belonged to a titled individual and asked to take a few people out. There was not a full crew and the weekend was going to be rough. I took my son with me to help out. We ended up in Hamble and by Saturday morning a six was blowing. Onboard was the manager of the Marriott Hotel in Athens, who owned a boat down there and kept her in one of the marinas. He was concerned that we were setting to go out. Apparently the harbour master where he was moored would not allow them to leave harbour. I explained that I had to go through a syllabus and anyhow how was he to learn how to cope with in bad weather? Off we went practicing man overboard etc . He was most impressed, he was shouting Jeronimo as the waves were washing over us. I used to shout Jeronimo myself when I was doing dinghy sailing in rough weather, people that were overseeing us came out and towed us in.
We are becalmed.