Hi, I’m Ryan. I’m Chris’ wife and First (and only, according to our marriage vows) Mate. I’m quite new to this whole sailing thing, so please forgive any misuse of nautical terms and/or jargon you may find in my posts. Though I’m a beginner who is still slightly terrified of sailing, I’m attempting to embrace this project and subsequent journeys with all of the interest and effort I can muster. Chris has been dreaming of climbing aboard a sailboat and setting off towards who-knows-what since he was a boy, which I think is amazing and inspiring. I’m not sure I’ve been dreaming of anything since I was a little girl, except maybe chocolate chip cookies. The fact that my husband is passionate enough to have unfailingly held on to this dream for so long means something to me. It gives me hope that we can do what we put our hearts and minds to, and it keeps me hanging onto sanity when I’m under fluorescent lights sitting at my desk, or sitting in traffic on my commute home from work. And so, as life would have it, I find myself co-owner of a 26-foot Pearson Ariel (is it bad that the name of the boat makes me think of The Little Mermaid?) and First Mate by Default.
That being said, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a First Mate. Wikipedia tells me that a First Mate or Chief Mate is “watchstander and is in charge of the ship’s cargo and deck crew” and is also “responsible to the Captain for the safety and security of the ship. Responsibilities include the crew’s welfare and training in areas such as safety, firefighting, search and rescue.” Ok, that seems straightforward (and maybe a little boring) enough. There is no crew besides the two of us. I can certainly start reading about safety measures and equipment, and I can totally be in charge of cargo, especially if we’re talking about food and clothing. However, I’m pretty sure a First Mate is supposed to be able to operate the vessel and provide other support, and as of now, I got nothing on that. The Wikipedia info is good to have (I guess), but it certainly doesn’t inspire any feeling in me about my position.
An aside: Starbuck was also the name of the bad-ass pixie cut-sporting lady-pilot in Battlestar Galactica. More on being inspired by TV Show Geekdom at a later date, methinks.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that I am not assuming First Mate status simply because I’m the wife and Chris is the husband (gag). I hope there are women out there who assume the role of Captain. I also hope there are women out there dragging their partners to sea (it would make me feel better). But in our case, because this is my husband’s idea and passion, and I’m along for the ride in a way, it’s only fitting for me to be in a sub-Captain role. And so, I’m happy to be the Chewbacca to my husband’s Han, Spock to my husband’s Kirk, and Zoe to my husband’s Mal. He and I make a pretty darn good team in life, so I’m thinking we can handle this.
- Removing deck hardware- Spent 3 hours attempting to remove16 screws. Got 14 out, got 1 epic blister, a stink bug flew into my face
- Scraping bottom paint- Joys of wearing a respirator, sore arms, slow progress, loud music
- Scraping bottom paint again- Respirator fashion statement (“I make this look good!”), much more progress, beer (see? We learned), music at a reasonable volume, sore arms, sore arms
So, that’s where I’m coming from. I’d love to hear any stories from any couples out there, or from anyone who has/had a partner who got them into sailing and cruising. Chris will probably be the primary poster here on The Bonnie Boat, so I’ll let you know ahead of time when I’m the one talking at ya!