Can you guess who has the most important job on the boat?
Nope, it’s not me. And it’s not my husband. And no, it isn’t even Honey.
Lots Of Jobs On A Sailboat
As my sister says, sailing is lots of work.
It can take us an hour to leave the dock.
We have to disconnect shore power. Shut off access to various drains and openings that bring water into the boat and drain it away. Listen to the weather report. Set the batteries so the engine can recharge them.
We have to take Honey off the boat for a fun game of fetch before dressing her in her life jacket.
Finally, we start the engine, toss off the dock lines, and motor out to open water.
Once we are far enough out and clear of traffic, one of us goes forward to lift the main sail while the other person steers the boat into the wind to make it easier to raise the sail.
When the largest sail is up, we can unfurl a second sail from the cockpit. And we have a third sail to raise for more power (and work) along the way.
Once we’re under sail, we turn off the engine and there’s nothing more to do except steer. And adjusting the sails for the wind. Over and over again.
What is Honey doing during all this?
Hopefully sitting quietly on one of the cockpit seats.
Which gets us to the most important job on the boat.
If You Want To Sail, You Have To Work
With one of us at the wheel and one of us managing sails, Honey has her choice of comfy seats.
Sure, it’s often blocking the instrument panels we need to track our speed, wind direction, and water depth. Or on our chart (map of the water).
She’ll often drape herself uncomfortably on the hard seat directly behind the wheel. It’s the best place for her to keep track of us.
When we have guests aboard it gets crowded in our tiny cockpit. So I start assigning jobs.
Rather than stepping over one guest or another, I’ll ask the person sitting in one spot to help me adjust a sail. Or I’ll have another person look for markers in the water.
But there’s one job that’s more vital than any of those. And the person who does it has the most important job on the boat.
If Honey Ain’t Happy
You know the old saying: If Honey ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.
It’s tough for Honey to find a comfy spot in a full cockpit. Besides that, she really likes to cuddle.
Have you guessed the most important job on the boat yet?
Yep, it’s the job of sitting very still so Honey can settle in for a nap with her head on someone’s leg.
When we took my dad and brother-in-law out for a day sail the other week, it was really helpful for my dad to keep Honey in one place while I was trying to manage sails.
And my sister had Honey duty while Mike and I were anchoring the boat for lunch.
So if we ever visit you and invite you out for a sail, know that we’ll put you to work.
And your job will probably be sitting very still while fifty pounds of golden retriever takes a nap in your lap.
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Your Turn: Do your dogs like to cuddle while you’re working?
Picture Credits: Schooner Mystic Whaler taken by my husband, Mike Webster. You can his blog about life aboard at Bimini Dream. Photo of Uncle Bob and Honey taken by my dad, Dale Douglas. He doesn’t have a blog. Yet.