Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Captain’s responsibilities

Yeah, life ain’t fair

I need to issue an apology for some of what I’ve said in some recent posts. I haven’t really meant to come across as so negative about my crew’s actions recently. Partly, it’s been a whole lot of anger on my part, and while Pat may have earned a bit of it, he certainly didn’t earn all of it. Much of that anger should really have been directed more at myself and my own shortcomings. The failures of communication have happened on both sides, when, for instance, I thought I was being perfectly clear but apparently I was not.

And Pat has emailed me a compendium of excerpts and anecdotes that show, no matter what, the captain is ultimately to be held responsible for whatever happens on a boat. One example, reported by Mark Twain when he was in San Francisco, was when the crew of a boat needed to get some varnish from a cask that was stored below. The captain ordered the crew to bring the cask up to the deck so vapors would dissipate, but the crew disobeyed, drawing the varnish while the cask was below, and their lantern ignited the fumes, and the resulting fire destroyed the ship. Even though the crew disobeyed the captain’s orders, the captain was held responsible.

Yikes. OK, so the hole that got punched in Black Magic is really my fault, since I was in command at the time. Still, it’s awfully scary that even if I do everything right, if somebody else screws up, it’s officially my fault. I’m beginning to rethink this whole captain-in-charge thing – maybe I’m not cut out for it.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, I was watching the Water Channel on satellite – the Thursday prime-time lineup is generally sailing-oriented. Early in the evening, there was a short bit on “Sailing Center” about fiberglass repairs. Later, there was a really exciting show called “Extreme Sailing: Hawaii” about the finish of the Transpac and the ensuing Maui Offshore Races. It was just getting exciting when the power went out, so I don’t know how it ended. Ah, the hardships of living in a rural place where the electric power isn’t so reliable – although the local electric co-op just installed a new substation that was supposed to make service more reliable in this area. But then … we’ve been getting a huge lot of rain, and if going without power for an hour or three a day is the penalty for the rain, it’s a price we’re willing to pay, as precious as moisture is around here.


Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

Carol Anne-

MIght be worth investing in some backup electricity. A gasoline-powered generator, such as those bought for the non-event Y2K, might do the trick nicely.

Don't be too hard on yourself either. Learning to command takes times, as does anything worthwhile. At least no one got hurt. Black Magic can be repaired, and she's not holed below the waterline.


Fri Jul 07, 07:11:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Dan --

Thanks for the kind words. You always help me to feel better.

We've looked at getting a backup generator, but so far, the reasons we want to keep the electricity flowing haven't been pressing enough to be worth the expense. Yeah, if I had a medical device keeping me alive that needed power, it would be worth it, but for keeping the television and computer going, nah, we can do without. It just means that if I drop out of the blogosphere every so often, it's probably because I don't have electricity. It's never, EVER, because I don't care.

Sat Jul 08, 12:20:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

You're very much cut out for it and you're learning fast, and your crew is proud to serve you. So, I very much want us to keep learning and sailing together.

Sat Jul 08, 11:09:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

US 38 new mast arrived back in El Paso Saturday night, lots of rigging and fitting to do, we are hoping to raise mast on Wednesday at the lake, and hope all the shrouds etc. fit. Miller's boat , US 574 is back an will race this fall .so looks like we have a little Etchells fleet!

Mon Jul 10, 02:11:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

I hope ... Power just went out so I'm on backup batteries and can't give the full report. US 125 has a leak at a place where there's an old patch, and I hope it isn't something structurally significant, but it's in a spot that looks scary, right below a bulkhead. And the crack is getting bigger.

Tue Jul 11, 02:07:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Gerald and Pat could help out if US 38 still needs work Thursday evening. Or maybe she'll be ready for a test launch?

Tue Jul 11, 11:21:00 AM MDT  

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