Sunday was a beautiful day on the Dock, setting the scene for one of our most memorable day cruises aboard Whiskeyjack... and not just because Gavin and Sylvia FINALLY showed up.
As often happens, the breeze had picked up throughout the day, then died off about 4 in the afternoon. SWMBO and I were relaxing in the cockpit, debating whether to cast off and motor out and drift around, on the off chance that the wind picked up a bit, and we could get a short early evening sail in before dinner and sundown. While we were trying to make a decision, and simply enjoying the sun like a couple of old cats on a window sill, Gavin and Sylvia rolled up the dock with Sylvia's daughter, and Whiskeyjack's newest crew, Destiny.
They LITERALLY rolled up.
Y'see, Destiny uses a motorized wheelchair. She has limited mobility, and very limited use of her hands.
And she wanted to go sailing.
Waitaminnit.... how the HELL are we gonna manage this?
The finger dock on our slip is three feet wide, and Destiny's chair is 30" wide. and the boat has a foot of freeboard above the dock deck and the cockpit coaming is 3" wide and...
... what kind of faux pas am I going to commit and how much toejam am I going to be eating from sticking my foot in my mouth? Is it impolite to ask about top speed on the chair, whether we need straps, would it be bad form to ask if Destiny likes her feet placed a certain way? While I am doing the mental math and the gentility geometry and trying to figure out the etiquette of moving a person from a wheeled conveyance to a floating conveyance, Gavin and Sylvia swooped in and Destiny gave me the only instruction I got...
"Grab my legs!"
Last summer, Destiny took an introductory handicapped sailing cruise in Hamilton harbour, on Lake Ontario. The experience wasn't great. She didn't feel comfortable on the boat and the skipper didn't instill confidence, especially after he hit the dock. To Destiny's credit, she was willing to give sailing another try.
The wind was still absent, so we decided to take a tour up the river, under the lift bridge and past the yacht club. We've found that chugging along the calm sheltered river, with lots to see on both banks, is a good way to introduce new crew to the boat, the water, and the area, and allow everyone to get comfortable and confident. As the sun went down, we returned to the Bay, and made a long lazy loop past the beach and back to Dock, where we enjoyed a two-burner dinner and a good bottle of wine.
Destiny was a trouper. A great conversationalist with a quick sense of humour, she is a solid addition to the crew. Yeah, she can't handle sheets for shit, but she didn't get in the way, drop anything overboard, whine, complain or insult the cook, and she offered up a great idea for a future dessert! THAT is solid crew.
I'm not sure who had more fun, Sylvia or Destiny.
I do hope Destiny will be back. Thanks for joining us, kid.
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