Some Good Stuff #2
I’ve blogged about rowing. And I’ve blogged a tiny bit about volunteering @ Jericho Sailing Centre, primarily on the rescue boats.
Well, last weekend was a foul-up. Winds over 26 kn (48 km/hr) out of the west. Rain. Lousy sea conditions. English Bay full of logs, bits of logs, logs laying horizontal, logs standing vertical in the water. Root balls and boom-sticks. Conditions that limited ‘reasonable’ speed to 15 knots and still both crew were absolutely soaked within minutes of leaving shore.
Northbound, a wave lifts us vertically as it rolls under our port side, teetering as it passes. All I can see is a log off to port, hard to starboard, into a log I haven’t seen in the spray and swirl of water. That ends badly – no longer able to make more that 5 knots – something isn’t working. We kill the engine, bring the wheel out of the water, the boat slewing in the waves as I try to examine the propeller. Not visible damage. But we can’t get more than 1,500 rpm, we can’t get more than 5 knots.
The day goes against me.
Eventually we (not I) get the boat trailered, it made more sense to have someone with decades of experience put the boat on the bunks… out of the water, testing the engine, nothing changes.
I don’t feel guilty – an unacknowledged fact in BC coastal waters is the danger of wood in the water – but I don’t like hurting machinery. I don’t want to hurt my own machinery, I don’t want to hurt my employer’s machinery, I don’t want to hurt Jericho’s machinery.
When the boat comes back from service, when all the annually scheduled maintenance is done, I’m told I rattled some connector loose.
Part of me believes…
I did make ‘Rookie Volunteer’ of the year at Jericho, awarded at the volunteer dinner. And I’ve logged hundreds of hours in the boats, about half of the time actively helming.
A few rescues of one form or another, a couple more rescues where people might just have been hurt by that freighter headed for them. One of those rescues ‘mentioned in dispatches’ as it were in the Canadian Naval Review. And a rescue of a fellow Jericho member, an accomplished F-18 sailor, with Paul Botkin as my fellow volunteer. That one was serious, really, really serious.
Paul’s 30 years of lifeguarding paid off in spades. I just drove the bus. But apparently I did a better job than many, being told some days after the fact ‘I wanted to say thanks for doing such a great job getting us to, and on, the beach. Too many other would have done it at full speed and caused more harm. Thanks.’
I don’t take praise well. All I can say, Paul, is thanks.
With help from fellow F18 sailors and Paul’s initiative and experience the sailor will sail again.
And, to Jericho’s staff, and their more experienced volunteers, thanks for the support over Titan. Each and every person said you count, not the boat.
Jericho has been, in tandem with my rowing, my lifeline this year.
That’s some good stuff