Posted by: williekp | April 24, 2012

More of the inside story of sailing a long way with 3 strangers


Things have gone downhill. For several days we have had an unhappy boat. I haven’t previously disclosed that I decided to leave the boat in the Galapagos. There were issues from virtually day one in Panama. The skipper threatened at least three times in the first three days after my arrival to put the German off the boat.This was mainly because Herman the German was unbearable. Very self centered, obsessive about cleanliness. I mean truely obsessive to the point of intruding into other people’s space and criticise their ( perfectly normal) habits. He also refused to do anything if it didn’t suit him in that moment. This extended to important things to do with the boat like helping to hunt down spare parts. I put up with it, hoping it would improve, however, it blew up again in the Galapagos and I told the owners that I was leaving. The wife was in tears and I felt pretty small that in some way my leaving was impacting on their enjoyment of their adventure. After a long day of everyone chasing me around town in San Cristobal, Herman apologised and the owners asked me to accept that and stay as they wanted me to continue. Anyhow, Herman hasn’t changed his spots. He doesn’t understand anything about balancing the boat and making it sail without wild rocking. After days of me sailing smoothly and helping the others set up the boat to sail smoothly I got fed up of coming off my watch to handover to Herman. Before I could get into bed, he changes everything and I am bouncing off the walls as if on Blackpool roller coaster. It came to a head one morning when we were all up and preparing to do a simple manoeuvre to alter course called a jibe. It was his watch so he is in charge. He goes into order giving mode in his best German accent. This is another of his annoying traits. He wants to start the engine which is totally unnecessary. He wants to put the sails away and motor around on to the new course and then put the sails out again. This is not the stuff of ‘Yot Meister’ Anyhow he barks me a command to release the sheet. I think he might have meant ease the sheet but that isn’t what he said so I let said sheet fly which seemed to upset him. I shrugged and told him I had done precisely what he had asked. Anyhow, he got it back under control, motored around onto his new course and put the sail out on the other side. The boat is rolling all over the place and we are still motoring so it is impossible to assess how it is sailing. A very important part of the rig of a ketch is the little sail at the back called the mizzen. It acts a bit like the flight on an arrow and stabilises the motion. It was still out in the position it was on the other tack, so the boat is never going to settle. We are motoring on for minutes in 3 meter swells with the boat rolling violently from side to side. Eventually I suggest stopping the engine and looking at the mizzen. This is met with ‘don’t tell me how to sail, I am Yot Meister’. I respond ‘try telling the boat that then because it doesn’t seem to know yet’. You get the picture. I explain that I won’t be taking any further orders or instructions from him. When he goes on watch and I am bouncing off the walls I go on deck and wait for the Skipper to come and save his boat. Skipper then asks me to settle the boat down which I do. Herman has another fit. After a couple of days of this Herman realises that it is better to learn something rather than stay in denial and we start to be civil again. I have had two nights sleep which has improved my demeanour which was not good in any case after my dad’s death. The atmosphere though is still poor.


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