While Cracker Jack turned her bow to the Virgin Islands for a non-stop 1100 mile passage over 8 days, I decided to take some time to write during my night watches. A night watch is when you are the lookout so that the boat can keep going on its journey through the blue waters 24/7. It is when the rest of the crew is down below, hopefully getting some well-earned sleep, and you are in the cockpit running the show…or at times maybe not! Many passage makers feel that night watches are spiritual, yet eerie. I am one of those people. It’s the time on the boat that leaves you in charge of everyone’s destiny and that includes safety and direction of the boat. It’s also a wonderful time of peacefulness or complete havoc…and those two are probably what draws me to my love of the “night watch”.
The wonderful Cracker Jack crew on board consisted of Stephen Yip, Director of the Sailing School at the Brooklyn One 15 Marina and my first sailing instructor; Bruce Steely, an excellent passage maker with whom I’d sailed a couple of years ago and is seriously MacGyver of the blue waters and the sweetest man you’ll ever meet (Bruce hails from Maryland); finally, Mr. Cracker Jack himself, my main squeeze and spooning buddy Master Captain Rod Lowe (even though he hates to spoon). This is a story of not only what goes on with my night watches but also a few stories about our 8-day passage, this is living the Cracker Jack Life!
Night Watch #1
That’s an Old Cliché but TRUE!
Tonight is my first watch aboard Cracker Jack. She has finally set sail, well motoring actually…we have no wind, bound for St. Thomas, USVI.
Before the shift tonight I cooked dinner for the crew which consisted of spaghetti for three fabulous crew mates. They are my main squeeze, Rod Lowe; my very first sailing instructor, Stephen Yip; and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and a former Pacific Passage crew member (Hawaii to Washington state) Bruce Steely.
The gents have all retired to their respective sleeping quarters and here I sit with my red headlamp (it helps with night vision) and six screens to watch—here they are with red light and without. I can see everything from our speed, weather (radar) and yes those “targets” that is what the screen calls other mariner vessels (like cruise ships) that are close to us. It also shows us how long until our paths cross, or until a we go “bump” in the night. Just glad we don’t have rush hour out here. We have all the electronic gadgets, so I have to pay attention. NO SQUIRREL for me tonight! (red head lamp pic and screen pics).