If any of you have an idea for a title to this new story I am developing, let me know in the comments.
Part 1 was yesterday’s post.
“Hello.” What does one say when one comes calling at a sailboat? ”
“Ahoy there?” That sounds too cartoonish, like Popeye to Olive Oil.
“Anyone home? Onboard?” Nigel?? I knew his name.
Nothing. Silence except for a slight clanking sound coming from a loose halyard somewhere on some boat somewhere in the harbour and the relentless caw of the seagulls. Nothing. I was beginning to sweat in the mid afternoon sun. There was no breeze to speak of, no cool northeast trade-wind that I had read and heard so so much about.
It was bright, blindingly so. The same acuity sensation one gets when exiting a theatre on a hot summer’s afternoon. I made a note to myself to get shades as soon as possible.
Dropping my kit bag into Krofuni’s cockpit I decide to have a look at what will be my home for the next few months, my foreseeable future. From the perspective of the G35 finger float, on which Krofuni was tied, I took a good look at her from end to end or stem (bow) to stern. She was, in the vernacular, a sloop rig. That is she was equipped with a foresail, or a sail properly positioned when raised ahead of the mast, then a mainsail, the main propulsion, providing the primary source of horsepower for the boat to move through the water. That sail’s foot or bottom portion of the traingular shape was attached to a boom, along a track that went from the mast to an end cleat, of a thingamajig contraption on the end portion of the boom. The boom itself was connected to the mast via a universal joint such that the boom could move from side to side and up and down. A topping lift, or a line attacked to the end of the boom then running up to the top of the mast, parallel to the backstay, or metal line that was connected to the top of the mast and a chainplate at the transom or stern, rear end of the boat, held the boom horizontal, about 6 feet off the deck of Krofune’s cockpit. The forward, or leading edge of the mainsail, the luff, was down as was the trailing edge, of the mainsail, or the leech, stuffed in a seamanlike folds to the boom and protected from the sun with a mainsail cover.
Her decks were wide enough to manoeuvre, to work the sails. Painted a sun bleached dull yellow with a non skid of flecked shells, hard on bare soles but stiff and skiff free to provide non slip protection when operating forward and outside the combed protection of the cockpit.. Up in the bow, in the confines of the pulpit, were a few sail bags secured to the forestay, ready to go, to hoist as they say with only their hanks showing in a step like fashion. Lines emerged out of those bags leading aft outside of all the standing rigging like sinewy snakes meandering in unison back toward the winches. Of course I can say this now, decsribe Krofuni as I am looking back on this, but at the time I didn’t have a clue, or a withering breadth of knowledge of the nautical world.
No sign of life, The cockpit was very large for a sailboat of this size. Deep and narrow with combed benches port and stsbd. The engine controls were abutted up against the stbd side combing in the after section of the cockpit while a manually operated “gusher” pump was situated on its forward bulkhead. Turns out that is was a gusher pump having an attached steel handle topped with what resembled an eight ball. For leverage I guess. I would become very familiar with this piece of kit in due course.
The cockpit went as far back as it footprint would allow ending at a narrow covered transom. The transom, or stern section, had a protective white railing attached, not robust enough to save one from hurling overboard but more for utility and functionality as cordage, various sized red and black “Scotsmen” floats were attached. Some 5 gallon buckets, whisker poles, fishing poles were also in situ as if this part of Krofuni was a catch-all for the rest of the boat. Krofuni’s was squared off at the rear by a stern that dropped to the vertical for about a foot then angled itself forward at about a forty five degree angle toward the waterline. The stern’s aspect gave Krofuni an air of sleekness, fine lines and speed. An illusion as it would turn out. Of course it was impossible to see how the bottom faired as the deep bluish green shades of surface water obscured visibility other than a few inches below the boot topping. The boot topping, that narrow 4 inch wide black painted strip that followed the waterline of Krofuni from bow to stern and separated her from the living and the dead. It provided an aspect that seemed to frame Krofuni synergistically.
The hatch to the gangway was locked so I couldn’t go below. This was taboo of course without prior permission, no matter that I was deemed crew. If you want to get off on the wrong foot with any skipper or make a poor first impression just climb aboard without permission to come aboard. This I knew
I threw my kitbag into the cockpit and left it there. I wasn’t worried about somebody stealing it for there was nothing of value in there except for a 35mm camera, which I had with me, on me. No, if someone wanted my stinky stuff they were welcomed to it. I then proceeded to explore my surroundings. “G” dock, Krofuni’s main street was very long with finger floats abutting both sides of the main dock. Probably up to 100 boats on this dock alone. And “G” was followed by “H” and “J”, no “I” apparently, preceded by “A” through “F”. Unbelievable! An entirely different world than what I had been used to or even imagined: somewhat of a parallel universe to the tourist district and peons of the Waikiki district of Oahu.
This song was a huge hit in Hawaii in those days – Jessica by the Allman Brothers.