Monday, July 14, 2008

Various Crew-related Tragedies

Yesterday, Sunday, DH volunteered the two of us to help at a local regatta. We ended up as a safety boat to make sure nobody did anything, well, unsafe. No problem. I knew it would rain, so I brought a raincoat. No problem. We had a battery-operated megaphone and one of the newer motorboats, so, again, no problem.


After trying one clunker of a boat, we got the newer one mentioned above and drove out to a huge green buoy near the docks to anchor there and direct as needed. Keep in mind that this is the Erie Canal, so these buoys are, as mentioned huge. And green. However, this did not stop one of the more novice eights (an 8-person boat with one coxswain, the tiny screamer in the boat who NEVER yells "stroke, stroke" contrary to popular belief) from zooming full-tilt at said buoy and us in our normal-sized motorboat. Here's how it played out:

Me: Honey, I don't like the course that boat's on.
DH: Yeah, it's really coming this way....
Me: How do they not see us? Or the buoy?
DH: I have no idea, but they obviously don't. [expletive]
Me: I think we better say something, pronto. [expletive]
DH: [using megaphone] Number 27! Change your course! You are headed toward the buoy!
[throws down megaphone in disgust when we realize the batteries, fine on shore, are now dead.]
DH/Me: 27! WEIGH ENOUGH! (crewspeak for "stop rowing") WEIGH ENOUGH! HOLD WATER! (crew speak for "dig your oars into the water and come to a dead stop RIGHT NOW) STOP! STOP! STOOOOOOP!!!!!!!!!!!

None of this seemed to get through until about a second before they ran into the buoy and us, with T catching the bow of the boat and shoving it between them. Miraculously, the bow sustained little damage and the crew simply rowed out the race. Ludicrously, the coxswain didn't seem fazed (I wondered if she was in shock, frankly) and didn't really realize what she had done. So that broke up the morning a bit. After that we got an old-fashioned cone megaphone that required no batteries.

Now, it also rained. A lot. I had a raincoat and regular shorts. I own rain pants but for some crazy reason didn't think I'd need them. In the rain. For hours. Fortunately the sun came out and dried out my soaked lower half by about 5pm. Fabulous. I also had had a purple pen in my bag that Penny had eaten a few months ago, so ink had pooled on the bottom pocket. We brought this bag with us, ironically to keep our dry clothes in. The ink, when wet, spread throughout the bag. My gray t-shirt now has a large splotch on it that reminds me of oil puddles at the gas station: A large purple spot with a sort of blue ring around it. Either it'll wash out or the shirt will become a rag, so it will still find use. Plus it stopped raining in the early afternoon, so we had that going for us, which was nice.

Keep in mind that we drove out to the buoy at about 9:00. By 11, we had to take a bathroom break, but when we got back to our green friend, for some reason the motor decided it had had enough of idling and petered out, never to start again. Thus we floated dead in the water, with DH paddling like mad every time a race came down to make sure we didn't blow onto the course, and me grabbing onto the buoy to ensure this as well. We did get towed in because, as a fellow volunteer said, "Rule of the sea: Never leave a man behind." Well put, sir.

Fortunately it all ended with pizza, beer, and blue skies, so I have to say that all in all, I really did have fun. Plus I got to spend hours of quality time with T. ;-)

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