Many things run through my mind before doing something dramatic. I recall encountering an armed mob on the road in Somalia years ago and contemplated how my day was going to be if one of the members of our entourage over-reacted with armed force. Bandoliers of ammo wrapped on the backs of very agitated and skinny, even boney, men waving AK 47s in the air, is a metaphor for chaos. I was glad we were able to prevail with some sense of calm and pass through that "choke-point" on the road near Kismayu and back to our fortified base. The splash is an event almost as dramatic for me. There is that undeniable pit in the stomach and dryness of mouth that goes with repeated mental checklists days before, and the mental imaging of what a successful launch looks like and, what an unsuccessful launch might also look like.
|There's a lot of boat there on that trailer!|
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced these feelings of woe. But these are my feelings at present. And I've tried to prepare for contingencies; the mast stepping, bolts, tools, safety issues, the gin-pole operation, and the "I don't know about...." of something which will inevitably go wrong. How do you prep for something you've never done before? Well, I have participated in a mast stepping before but it wasn't my boat so what did I care? I was nervous for the skipper of that 36 footer but my concerns didn't have the gravitas that seems to be growing as my launch approaches.
I have a group of "usual suspects" who have indicated they might assist in the launching but since this is a voluntary event, one can't be quite sure just who will drag themselves to this drama. Thus further adding to the anxiousness of the event in my mind. There is the engineer, who analyzes weight distribution and angle of descent and offers caution as to the viability of anything but a very large vehicle for moving the Berg down the ramp. The Commodore who has gone hunting somewhere up north at the time, who points out caution about the cross frame on the trailer which caused him injurious suffering when the fin keel of his Express 27 hit that rather than coming off the trailer into the water at his launch. And there is the 747 Pilot who very happily offers his expertise and vehicle and has unlimited confidence that we can pull this off which I like. Plus there is the retired Merchant Marine who brings a bit of military sobriety and over-watch for me. He makes me feel comfortable, as if another military guy saying this looks good, somehow helps me stomach the event so much the better. And then there is the Photographer, and sometime part-time Funeral Home assistant whose southern, dry wit, is perennially hilarious and observations of the obvious are not without noting. He was curiously perturbed to know why it was the birds decided that with 40 boats in the water there was only his boat that deserved the privilege of being pooped upon as he furiously attempted to wash his boom cover again and again. And so many more. They are all great people and sailors who share in the adventure. I am happy to have them all and looking forward to the instruction they will offer. It is great to know these things happen during the day while the rest of the world is at work!
Well, it will be a Tuesday afternoon, a work day, so at least we will have the club to ourselves. There would certainly be more pressure to do this on a weekend while moms and their kids are squinting and asking questions like, "Are ya'll sure you know what you're doin?" and "Mommie, why is that tire smooshing like that!" Just being able to accomplish this with limited comments will help immeasurably.
Splashing should be something of great fanfare if all goes well, and congratulations will be passed along as if a birth has taken place and proud parents are standing about admiring their work. Or, there will be the pensive reflection if something goes awry and comments about what shudda been done are passed back and forth, nodding quietly.
I could however just leave the Berg in the work yard and keep preparing for this...
But that's not where it's meant to live. The splash will take place.