Sailors have always had a bit of a reputation when it comes to booze.
Way-back-when rum or grog was actually a daily ration, it often being safer to drink than the putrid water supply on board. And when the crew finally got a night ashore, sometimes after months or years at sea, it was not a wonder that many proceeded to get blind drunk.
Sailing these days is a bit different, but the tradition of sharing a drink with a fellow sailor is still going strong. Sometimes drinks are shared over a beautiful tropical sunset, sometimes around a campfire. Sometimes drinks are shared to celebrate and sometimes, like the last couple weeks on board Kate, they are shared to commiserate.
We’ve recently had a string of disappointments; parts ordered, shipped and patiently waited for have arrived and not quiet met our expectations. It started with some small bearings a couple months ago; they arrived and were two sizes too small, despite having ordered them by measurement. No big deal, they were just to make the mainsheet traveller travel a little smoother, we could live without them.
We had a beer
Then we ordered some mounting brackets for the spinnaker pole. We’ve talked about buying some proper chocks for years but couldn’t lay down the almost $100 USD for the two pieces of molded plastic. But on our bash from New Caledonia to Vanuatu the spinnaker pole jumped and banged around on deck, no matter how soaked-to-the-bone Steve got while checking the lashings. We decided to bite the bullet and ordered a pair of fancy chocks from the same manufacturer that made the spinnaker pole. It took four weeks and then some serious negotiation at the post office in Port Vila to get the package released. When we got the parts home neither end fit our pole, Steve would have to make some modifications.
We had a beer.
On Tuesday, after years of consideration, months of mulling over order forms and weeks of waiting for the finished product to arrive, we finally received new sails. Thanks to online tracking we know it took almost 48 hours between the box landing at the airport and actually being delivered to us on the beach at 1700 that afternoon. The waiting was like Christmas Eve, we were so excited and anxious to get that box. It was too windy, to hang the sails that evening but we HAD to sneak a peek.
The first sail bag contained the main sail, and upon initial inspection everything looked good. Steve stood beside me as I pulled the second drawstring bag open. We leaned a little closer together and saw the new head sail neatly folded and tied inside and then I felt the now familiar wave of disappointment wash over me. The UV covering for the roller furling head sail was wrong. Very wrong. We had ordered yellow fabric and no one, not even someone who is colour blind, would say that the bland, boring tan colour before us was yellow.
We looked at the new sail and looked at each other and then I pulled the draw string closed on the sail bag. It was 1715 and we were already late.
We had a date to meet friends for a beer.