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.
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.
“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.
|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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