I have been living aboard this buoyant piece of formed aluminum for more than three years now, and I don’t mind admitting that I am still figuring this whole sailing game out. Once upon a time, friends tried to lure us back home with the carrot that the beautiful lots down the street from their house were for sale. We joked that we would just dig a big hole, put Papillon in it and watch everyone’s property value plummet. But now, while we wait for the endless Christmas holidays to be over and for our thrust bearing assembly doodads to arrive, I kind of feel like Papillon is sitting in that hole. As December wore on, our neighbours sailed out, one by one, for holiday adventures on the lagoon. And we sat. We stayed. We sighed.
But last week, some new friends invited us out on their boat for the afternoon. And it was a revelation to your correspondent. This opened a whole new world to me: the world of Mooching a Ride On Someone Else’s Boat.
|Erik took the tiller at the earliest opportunity.|
Why did no one tell me about this before? It’s perfect! Advantages: You get to go sailing. Broken boat parts are Someone Else’s Problem. You can test-drive another boat. You have built-in company for an afternoon. Did I mentioned you get to go sailing? It had been so long, I would have taken a raft and a bed sheet tied to an old oar through the lagoon if someone had made a half-hearted effort to convince me it was seaworthy.
After years of using the wheel, it was fun to try a tiller. As I never learned how to sail “properly” on a dinghy (Erik still schemes to enroll me in a children’s sailing class), I still find I am not intuitive with the backwards steering. (My dear husband points out that it is just the same as using the outboard motor. This is marriage, kids.) But I kept us on course, and we didn’t get in irons, so let’s call it a win.
We ate, we swam, we ate some more, then we hauled up the spinnaker and headed for home.
So I am going to keep my ears open from now on in case our neighbours need an extra hand on a Sunday afternoon. Pot washer, babysitter, main sheet adjuster or extra pair of eyes on the reef – the Papillon crew will be there to help. And when Papillon is back in action, we’ll be on the lookout for other hopeful sailors walking the docks and sighing. Everyone needs to mooch a ride, sometimes.