Friday, September 05, 2003

What's in a name?

As promised in the 9/18 journal, a sidebar on how Chris & KT came to be Captain & Chef.  Plus a quick summary of the latest happenings with our preparations.

The following journal entry is a bit random and pointless, however it has been a few weeks since the last entry, and other then "we are still working on the boat" there is not much new to report.  If you continue reading, you are responsible for your own boredom and I will not be held responsible!

In my last journal, I referred to Chris as captain and myself as chef, and mentioned that there would be a sidebar on this later ... and so here it is, how we came to be Captain Myles & Chef Roddick!

I think that perhaps Captain is a bit obvious.  After all, Chris owns the boat, has the majority of the sailing experience, is responsible for the vessel & crew (or chef as it may be), and ... well, is just pretty much in charge!  But, for the less nautically inclined (like myself!) you might be wondering, why not Helmsman or Skipper?  Actually, even I knew that helmsman wouldn't work ... anyone can be a helmsman, as it is just the current individual at the wheel or Tiller.  In other words Chris and I will swap helmsman's duties throughout our journey.  Plus, it just doesn't sound right.

But why not skipper?  I was kind of liking the idea of Skipper, especially when it occurred to me I could call him Skippy for short (I'm sure he would've loved that)!  However, I have recently learned (something even the Captain himself didn't know) that Captain and Skipper are not the same thing!  A Skipper is responsible for the care and safety of the vessel, ship, yacht, boat, whatever you want to call it!  This is true of the Captain as well, but in addition, the Captain is also responsible for the care and safety of the crew (or chef) ... and since my dad has threatened that Chris had better not return w/out me, it just seems obvious that he must be the Captain.

There were a few options open for me; Co-Captain, Crew, and First-Mate.

Honestly I like Co-Captain, the problem is that I don't feel that I'm quite there yet.  See, "Co" to me implies that you are equals ... and my sailing skills just aren't quite up-to-snuff with Chris (not yet anyway).  Who knows, maybe someday I'll take it on, but it just doesn't quite fit right now (not to mention it seems to imply quite a bit of work).  Bare with me while I go off on a quick tangent -- when I told my family (Chris included) about this Co-Captain business, I was informed that you could not have a Captain and Co-Captain, both people would have to be "Co" in order to fulfill the "Co" requirements.  This doesn't work though, because as you can imagine, it is quite important that a single individual be in charge and have "final say", especially during critical decision making moments.  Therefore it is necessary that Chris remains Captain (we can't have us fighting in the middle of a hurricane about what to do and whose in charge, now can we?).  But I am insistent that a Captain / Co-Captain combo is completely legitimate (after all you can have a Pilot / Co-Pilot), and since I'm quit stubborn I have chosen to ignore the heckling from my family on this point ... should I someday decide I am up to being Co-Captain, Billabong will have a Captain / Co-Captain team!  Plus, these rules & codes are meant to be more of a guideline really (go see Pirates of the Caribbean).

Many people opt for Crew ... technically I suppose that it is appropriate (and in our home page I'm even referred to as Crew), but every time I hear crew, I get this visual of a couple of straggly looking dudes standing on the dock; unshowered, unshaven, and with their thumbs out [i.e. hitching a ride to the next port].  I imagine some of the older pirate movies, where the crew was vulgar, drunk, and cleaning the deck all the time.  True, this type of crew probably only exists in the movies, but none-the-less it's the image that runs through my mind!  And while I like a good drink like any good pirate, I just can't get used to washing the decks all the time.

I also believe that a lot of partners go for First-Mate ... as a matter of fact, way back in November Chris even purchased a t-shirt for me that said "First-Mate".  I was quite fine with this until I read a book, written by a women who defined the First-Mate as the furry critter you brought on board for company (i.e. a pet dog or cat).  Ok, yes, she is probably some feminist or something, but after reading that, well my ol' imagination got going again, and as with crew, I just couldn't go there!

I suppose the other thing is that if I wasn't going to be Captain, then I wanted something all-together different or unrelated (I'm a bit competitive by nature).  A huge chunk of my prep work for this journey has been, in one form or another, involved with the galley and provisioning.  In addition, since we moved onto Billabong I've done the majority of meal preparation for Chris & I (which in no way reflects talent, because Chris is a wonderful cook).  I suppose the final hook for me was reading Care and Feeding of an Offshore Crew.  In the book, the author points out the importance of proper provisions, good (tasty) meals, and nutrition, and how it can effects the ability and mood of the Captain and Crew, especially on longer passages. That, along with Art (Chris's dad) informing me of all the problems we could have from malnutrition, convinced me that Chef was a title worth having, and hence Chef Roddick!  [As you may have noticed Chef in no way implies that I actually have to be a GOOD cook!]

And while we're going on about names, I might as well introduce you to some of Billabong's "Crew".  Gomez (our Wind-Vane), Pedro Jr. (our Auto-Pilot), and Ricardo, Ricky for short, (our Sourdough Starter).  You might think us odd for giving names to inanimate objects, however if you think about how important the Wind-Vane and the Auto-Pilot are, and how much freedom they provide to the Captain & Chef during passages, you realize that they truly should have names.  OH, and what about the starter you ask?  After feeding something, twice-a-day for two weeks, plus knowing that when it comes time to use it, you must once again feed it regularly for a few days prior, you too would name it!

Well, if you've read this far, you deserve at least a bit of an update of what's happening around the boat.

Chris's last day of work was Monday Sept 15th, so he is now officially working on the boat full time (my last day is Oct 9th).  He is doing so much, that's it is hard for me to keep up ... he's installed the water maker, attached the wind-vane (we were missing one bolt, which was just received yesterday, so Gomez should be ready to go in no time), hooked up the fresh & sea water foot pump to the galley sink, and investigated the procedures to getting our French Visas (I'm sure there is more, but this is all that comes to mind at this time ... Chris keeps promising to write an entry, so someday you'll get the real scoop).

We finished all our vaccination shots [Hepatitis A & B, MMR (measles, mumps, & rubella), Polio, Tetanus, Yellow Fever, & Typhoid].  About two weeks prior to entering certain parts of Mexico we'll begin taking Malaria medication.

We've been doing massive amounts of accounting and legal paperwork; wills, power of attorney's, health care directives, crew lists, and so on.

We've also tried our first canned meal.  Ok, so I wasn't very daring on the first try, I made salmon patties (from canned salmon).  They were great!  Next meal will consist of canned pork loin and canned hamburger!  YUM!

Our new sail cover came in (cadet gray), it looks great!  Our cockpit cover was delayed a month (so hopefully it will come in around the beginning of Oct).  We finally ordered a huge roll of sunbrella, so we will be sewing up a storm soon (grill covers, awning, compass cover, ditty bags, etc).  We are also deciding on the material for our wind curtains, we've been delayed by our debate over 80% or 90% coverage (oh such tough decisions!).

In my quest to make Co-captain, I've been taking some sailing classes to touch up my skills and hopefully learn a few new things.  I've already completed the first (beginning) course, and take the intermediate and advanced courses at the end of October.

I'm sure I've missed a dozen things, but that at least gives you a glimpse ... approximately 50 days left!
Continue reading "What's in a name?"...