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14 April 2016

L Is For Lazy Jacks | Nancy Drew Investigates {A To Z Challenge}


During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we'll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with "A is for Anchor" and ending with "Z is for Zodiac." Each post is an installment of "Nancy Drew Investigates the Case of the Missing Anchor" - so you may want to read the posts from the beginning, in order to follow along with the story (click here for the first post and here for an index of all the posts). At the end of each post, you'll also find some random thoughts on the day's particular topic. So, if Nancy isn't your thing, feel free to skip the story and go straight to the end.     

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When we last left you, Nancy learned that Captain Gus, the owner of Xebec Charters, might be involved in the thefts at the marina and that Pete, the man who sells used marine equipment (possibly stolen), is his nephew.

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“Wake up sleepy head,” said George as she poked her head into the v-berth. “Hurry up. Breakfast is ready. You’re going to need lots of energy for the big race today.”

“Can’t I just sleep in a little bit longer,” mumbled Bess as she snuggled back under the covers. “I couldn’t sleep a wink. There was this horrible crackling noise all night. It sounded like something was chewing on the outside of boat. I kept trying to tell you about it, but you wouldn’t wake up.”

“You’re right. Something was chewing on the boat,” said George with a mischievous grin. Bess sat up and gasped. “What, you mean there are giant sea creatures out there trying to put a hole in the side of the boat?” “No, you silly goose, they’re tiny shrimp, practically invisible, which like to eat stuff on the hull. For such little creatures, they do make a big racket though.”

Bess got out of bed and went to join the rest of the crew in the salon for breakfast. Her eyes lit up when she saw scrambled eggs, crispy hash browns, bacon, toast and cinnamon rolls dripping with cream cheese frosting. She sat down next to Nancy and started piling food on her plate.

“Dig in girls. We’re going to get underway in a little while and make our way up to the start line for the race to Grande Isle,” said Marvin as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

Nancy rubbed her hands together in anticipation. “I can’t wait. This is going to be so exciting.” George nodded her head in agreement. “Hopefully, we can use that new spinnaker of yours, Marvin.”

“Well, we’ll see what the conditions are like. But, knowing the competition, I think we have a good chance of winning the trophy this year with our without our spinnaker.” Shelley patted Marvin’s arm and passed him the plate of cinnamon rolls. “Now, now, Marvin, it isn’t about winning, it’s about having a good day out.”

“Sure, honey, it’s all about having a good day out.” Lowering his voice, he whispered to the girls, “But it’s really about bringing home the trophy and showing everyone how it’s done.” Nancy and George smiled at Marvin’s enthusiasm, while Bess helped herself to another cinnamon roll.

“They are delicious, aren’t they dear?” said Shelley to Bess. “I’ll just start clearing things up and we’ll get underway soon.”

A half an hour later, The Scarlet Slipper’s anchor was hoisted and they were underway. “The starting line isn’t far from here,” said Marvin to the girls as they gazed out across Pine Tree Bay. “See, all of those other boats over there? That’s where we’re headed.” Marvin turned the boat into the wind and said to Nancy, “Why don’t you go ahead and hoist the mainsail. Maybe Bess wants to see how it’s done too.”

“Sounds super,” said Nancy as she made her way out of the cockpit and up towards the mast. “Come on Bess, this way.”

“Okay Bess, the first thing we need to do is attach the halyard to the mainsail. Then we’re going to hoist the main by pulling on this line.”

“What line? All I see are ropes.”

“True, these are ropes. But on board, we call them lines, and in some cases, we call them sheets. This braided one is the line we need to hoist which will pull the mainsail up.”

Bess sighed. “This is all too complicated. Maybe I should go back down below and curl back up in the sheets on my bed. Those are the kind of sheets I understand.” She watched in amazement as Nancy expertly attached the halyard, untied the line, hoisted the sail and tied the line back off again at the mast.

“Nancy, what are these ropes, sorry I mean lines, running along this pole here?”

“You mean along the boom and up to the mast? Those are lazy jacks. They make taking down the mainsail a breeze and keep it from falling all over the deck.” Nancy smiled at Bess and said, “They’re perfect for lazy sailors.”

“Now, Nancy,” Bess huffed. “I’m not lazy. I just think things should be simple and, so far, from what I’ve seen of sailing, it sure isn’t simple.”

“Nancy, Bess,” shouted George from the cockpit as she looked through a pair of binoculars. “You should see this boat at the starting line. It’s got a blue dolphin painted on the side, exactly like that white catamaran. And you’ll never guess what’s its name is – Party Palace.”

George handed the binoculars to Nancy. “You’re right, George. It looks like it might belong to the same owners as the catamaran.” Nancy put down the binoculars and puzzled over the coincidence of another boat with the same dolphin logo and the word ‘party’ in its name being seen in the same vicinity as the suspicious white catamaran.

Just then a horn sounded out. “Here we go, girls,” shouted Marvin. “The race has started!”

Tune in on Friday for the next installment of Nancy Drew Investigates – M is for Mooring.

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The thin, blue lines running alongside our mainsail are our lazy jacks. When we lower the mainsail, it falls in between the lazy jacks, rather than out on the deck. Which makes things so much easier.

It's not easy being short. On our old boat, it wasn't ideal, but manageable. On our new boat, I have to stand on my tippy-toes to attach the halyard to the mainsail, which isn't easy under calm conditions, let alone in rougher ones. I can barely manage to get the sail ties on without contorting myself in strange and unusual positions, again while on my tippy-toes. (Sail ties are like ribbons on a present. They hold the wrapping paper or sail in place until you're ready to open it.)

While I haven't figured out a way to make things easier when it comes to the halyard and sail ties (other than have Scott do everything, which isn't a bad idea, come to think of it), I have discovered that lazy jacks are a godsend. They make taking down the mainsail so much easier. Instead of desperately trying to fold the sail neatly on the mast and tie it with pretty ribbons (aka sail ties), while standing on my tippy-toes, I just watch it gently fall down into place between the lazy jacks.

Now, why can't everything on a boat be this easy? I'm kind of with Bess on this - things on a boat can be kind of complicated at times.

Is there something that you wish you had an easier way of doing?

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32 comments:

  1. Boating sounds pretty complicated. I'm short, too, though, so I totally get it!

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    1. We short people have to stick together :-)

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  2. Ooh, I'm thinking the race might not be quite as straightforward as hoped.
    I've only been boating once and all I had to do is steer - everything else sounds like it takes a lot of practice.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. I actually find steering the boat to be one of the harder things to do. I worry that I'll steer the wrong way or crash into another boat.

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  3. Being short isn't so different from being tall. You just have to solve the same problems a little earlier or for slightly smaller boats. At some point, the sail-ties are out of reach for all.

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  4. Sometimes, I wish teleportation were a real thing. Sometimes, I enjoy the journey, but many times, I just want to get there, and it would be so much more efficient with portals.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. I bet teleportation exists, they're just not telling us about it. It would be so useful to have, no more jet lag.

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  5. I like that, let your partner do it. I just want someone else to do the laundry and housework. I'm so done with all that. No, I can't rely on hubby, he's a slob and so are our sons. I'm the neat nick and like I said, damn tired of it! LOL
    I couldn't do what you do, I'm so afraid of deep water! :)

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    1. Laundry and housework must be so much harder to keep on top of if you've got kids at home. It's also hard when folks have different standards of what's acceptable when it comes to neatness.

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  6. They sure are eating good! Who is doing all the dishes?! - Lucy

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    1. Shelley does all of the dishes. She takes valium to cope with having Bess onboard, but one of the side effects is that she can't sleep, so she does dishes all night long.

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  7. Yes, finding easier ways to do things is a big priority as I grow older. The again, things I used to spend time doing no longer seem important.
    #AtoZchallenge
    Meet My Imaginary Friends

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    1. That's so true - as you get older what once was important sure does change.

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  8. Just let it fall. Sounds simpler.
    I wish there was an easier way to get around. Someone hurry up and invent teleportation.

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    1. I think if you and all the folks in the IWSG put their minds together, they could invent teleportation in no time. There are some really creative people in that group :-)

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  9. I was a pretty lazy sailor myself, but luckily, I am tall. And so is my husband. While handling the sails might have been easier for us, we sure bumped our heads a lot against every edge possible!

    I wish it was easier to control the weather! :-)

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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    1. Yes, along with teleportation, we need a weather controlling device. I think that I'd actually take that before teleportation.

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  10. I'm pretty tall, but there are things that I used to do that were easy and now as I age they are getting more difficult.

    I'm loving this story.

    Have a fabulous day Ellen. ☺

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    1. Things do get harder as you get older. The body doesn't quite bend and stretch the way it did when I was younger.

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  11. Forget the dishes, who's doing all the cooking and can they come and live with us on Cambria? That we make my life on board a lot easier!

    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/living-aboard-versus-cruising.html

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    1. That would be Marvin who does the cooking. He drinks a lot to cope with having Bess onboard. One of the things he likes to do when he's been drinking is make gourmet meals. Of course, Hannah Gruen did send the cinnamon rolls and brownies with Nancy, so we can't give Marvin all of the credit.

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  12. It's morning here as I read this, and now I want someone to make me eggs, hash browns, bacon, and cinnamon rolls! My stomach is growling! Too bad, I happen to know that the only ingredient we have on that list is eggs.

    I'm loving the story though, thanks! I can't wait to find out if they win the race.

    I have to stand on the sissy bars, and cling to the mast in order to attach the halyard to the main, and don't get me started on what acrobatics I have to do, in order to get the cover off. Fortunately, (or unfortunately), the mainsail cover shredded in the wind this past winter, and I get to design, and sew a new one. Hopefully I can come up with something that doesn't require me to be a trapeze artist.

    Donna/ svdenalirosenc43.blogspot.com
    facebook: Denali Rose Sailboat

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    1. I'll be interested to see what design you use for your sail cover and how it goes. Fortunately, ours is new and in good shape.

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  13. You guys are too funny! Popsi is right, tall people have the same problems as short ones, we just dont' have them quite so soon. As for making life aboard easier, I want self-cleaning anchor chain -- the soft sand and mud bottoms we have here in the East Coast of the US take quite an effort with anchor and chain washdown to avoid bringing stinking mud aboard. Teflon might be nice...

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    1. A self-cleaning anchor chain - would that be nice!

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  14. George was always my favorite. Starting with her name ;) Love how you're working the ins and outs of sailing into this story!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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  15. Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting? Yes, please. Oh wait. Ok. No thanks. Dang I hate that. On our boat, we have several step stools for me. One resides at the mast. It has rubber feet that keep it from slipping. I have to climb on top of the hard dodger to help with the sail flaking, even though we have lazy jacks and a stackpack. That sail is huge. So far, non of this has been difficult to overcome. But on high seas, there is no way I'm standing on a stool at the mast. Sorry, Mike. That will be up to you.

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    1. I'm curious about the stool - do you tie the stool to the mast? Is it there permanently? I could probably use something like that at the wheel too in order to see better.

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  16. I am actually taller than my husband (only by an inch or two... but hey!) so I rarely have issues with height.

    However... I struggle with upper arm strength. It is my goal this year to work out enough that I can easily put my own suitcase in the overhead bin of the aircraft :)

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    1. I sometimes struggle with getting my bag into the overhead bin - short plus poor upper arm strength means I usually tuck it under my seat.

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