March 14, 2014.
After my last post about the “greenhorn newbies” one of my friends dropped me a line. She and her husband are first year cruisers so she was reminding me to be kind to newbies. I know she was just busting me but then I thought “what if people thought I meant all newbies”. What I really meant are the ones who really don't seem to be trying. So for your perusal, a couple of quick examples.....
The other day while listening to Chris Parkers weather forecast a fellow called in from Thomson Bay, Long Island. CP gave him a very detailed forecast and before he signed off with the guy he asked “what conditions are you experiencing right now?” The guy kinda stuttered and said “ I just got back to the boat I'll have to get back to you”. So the guy was just outside and he couldn't just say “10 to 12 knots out of the southwest”. He had to start his equipment up so the machines could tell him there was a light breeze from a certain compass point.
At some point you have to start to notice these things without a gizmo. What does 15 knots do to the waters surface, what does 15 knots sound like? Test yourself, say what the wind speed is before you look at the screen. Every time you drop the hook you should know where north is so you KNOW what direction you have protection from. Then you'll KNOW where the breeze is coming from without a second thought. Before they cast off the dock lines most people read a lot trying to prepare for the journey before them. But the real learning starts after you're out and about and not everyone seems to grasp that. Its not a “sit down and study” thing, its observation.
Yesterday morning a woman got on the VHF and asked what time high tide was. After a moment another woman gave her the answer. My first thought was “Hmm, one woman who knows whats going on and one woman....well, lets just hope she looks good in a bathing suit” and then I forgot all about it.
Then this morning at 0730 the same woman got on the radio and once again asked “what time is high tide today?” I was about to get on the radio and explain to her an easy way to guesstimate the tide since she knew yesterdays tides when another guy beat me to the mic.
He correctly told her that the tide had just changed and was starting to ebb. Then she asked when the next high tide was. He answered “Umm, that'll be about 4 this afternoon.” I'm staring at the radio. Oh God, seriously? It takes about 6 hours for the tide to go out and then about another 6 for it to come back in. So its gonna be a bit more than 12 hours between highs. Four this afternoon? Good God man, do the math.
Then I got to thinking. I wonder if they were actors reading from a script. Like they were pulling everyone's leg. Trying to make everyone within 25 miles think they were listening to 2 dopes discussing the tide. Bravo you master thespians, you had me all the way. You really pulled it off, you were both so believable in your stupidity, that, well, I'm just embarrassed to be so completely fooled. A Greenhorn Newbie version of Masterpiece Theater. Bravisimo.