and now for something a bit different

Silver Bear
Ray Lawry
Fri 11 Jun 2010 11:35
47:24.8900N 17:18.5230W
This is not my blog but a copy of a message from Maria on Cantare sailing home to Sweden with her father Anders who joined the boat for the Azores to Falmouth leg.
Sailing with my dad....

Day 3 - Sailing with elderly people
Yesterday evening the dolphins were jumping around Cantare. Not like they normally do, they were jumping a lot higher, their whole bodies were out of the water, they turned sideways in the air and made a huge splash when they hit the water. It was amazing to watch them! The sun was gone behind the clouds and it was starting to get cold when I left the cockpit to get some sleep. Cantare was on beam reach and was doing good speed. I switched the plotter into night mode and instructed dad not to touch it. The nights before he had fumbled with the plotter and accidentally turned the route off, twice. It was hard to fall asleep, maybe I had slept to much during the day. Before it got dark we had taken the first reef in the main, the wind kept on increasing and after a while I could hear how dad reefed the head sail. I dozed off for an hour before I became aware of the shaking movement in the hull, the head sail was flapping. I sat up in the bunk and asked dad what he was doing. He was behind the wheel, waves were towering behind him, some of them very close to the railings. He said that one of the vindwane's blocks had got lose and he had to hand steer. Alright, but why was the head sail flapping? Because he couldn't see the compass and had a hard time keeping the right angle to the wind. I took on my clothes and lifejacket and went out to tie the block back to its right place. After this was done I had to get behind the wheel to reattach the windvane lines and engage Monitor again. Dad had his glasses on, which were covered with saltwater spray so he couldn't see well enough to do it himself, and he also doesn't really know how engage Monitor. During our work with Monitor the wind had increased even more, steady on 28 knots with some gusts up to 40 knots. We decided to take the second reef in the main and furl the headsail even more. When this was done Cantare was moving nice and steady again, doing good speed in the strong wind. After this I went back to my bunk, with only one hour to go before I was due to be back in the cockpit for my night watch. I thought about how difficult it must be not to see well, especially when it's dark. People get amazed when they hear how young we are, but I'm a lot more impressed by all those retired people sailing around the world. After having watched my dad stumble in the cockpit during night I realize what an advantage it is to be young while doing this, I'm a lot more flexible and move around easier. Maybe I'm a bit unfair now to my dad, he hasn't been sailing a lot with Cantare lately, the last couple of years I've done all the sailing with her, and lot's of the stuff on the yacht is new to him, like the wind vane and the single line reef system. Still, I start to understand why furling mains are becoming the standard and why older people like the luxury of bigger yachts, at least bigger than Cantare.

We still have rather strong winds today, around 24 knots with occasionally gusts. Waves crash into the cockpit and we try to hide behind the spray hood as much as possible. The floor inside the yacht is getting wet again, we are bilging out water regularly and move around in our rubber boats or without touching the floor. But we are moving in the right way and have lots of warm food to eat, and some cookies and candy for desert. / The Captain

Day 5 - Envious?

Nautical miles left: 774

I don't have a lot to write today. Dad is actually behaving very well, he has even managed to turn the plotter into night mode without losing all the route data. The only annoying thing with him today is that he's reading a book about a Swedish couple who sail a Halberg-Rassy 62 around the world and he keeps telling me about everything they have on the yacht. The last comment he made was that they have three bathrooms and think that is the perfect amount, one each and one extra for wet clothes. But that's alright today since the sun is shining and we don't have any wet clothes hanging all over the saloon for the moment. Although most of the yacht is rather damp again we have managed to keep the lee bunk dry, one of us is usually sleeping in it, warming it with our body heat. I have also taught dad the trick with wet socks, just keep them on when going to sleep and if you're lucky they are dry when you wake up. I'm not at all envious of the Swedish couple who made all meals before their crossings and froze them in their freezer, I like to balance around in Cantare with knifes and hot water. Life onboard Cantare is great! / The Captain
Now for my reply
Hi both
I must jump to the defence of the elder league. Ok technology may have overtaken some of us and yes we may not be able to swing up the mast as quickly as we may have done in our more prime years, but then what are young people for if not to do these things for us. Its age and wisdom we have on our side as I'm sure, skipper, your dad would agree. Now what is all this nonsense about having respect for oldies doing this long distance sailing stuff? You won't find any respect on this boat I can assure you... nothing but mickey taking by the younger team, which is in the rare moments when they are awake. (How do young people manage to sleep so much?)
And another thing, your dad is a mere youngster and keeps himself fit, so what does that say for us of more senior years who do nothing to keep in shape (quite the reverse indeed as my liver will tell you). The key to eternal youth is all about training oneself and using the wisdom those years have given us so that one doesnt become sensible or predictable, but rather unpredictable and, at times, foolish. So my answer dear Maria (sorry if the spelling is wrong) is that to be young is to be foolish!
At 1030 UT Friday 11 June 2010  Silver Bear is at position 47:25N 17:25W course 068 degrees True with NNW wind 18 knots; boat speed 6.3 knots and not heeling over quite so much
Why do I identify so readily with some of the comments made..." I told dad not to touch anything" .. "Dad had his glasses on which were covered in saltwater so he couldn't see very well"..."Dad is actually behaving very well today"
This could be David, Claire, or any one of the kids of our aquaintance. Where did we go wrong?