The Skipper’s In Stiches

Michel at the helm

Michel at the helm

It’s only 1pm and already today has become the most eventful day thus far. At 10am this morning whilst holding the gib sheet Simon told Dobby to steer to starboard and then disappeared down below. With the rest of the crew running round on deck (and Tim reading a book in bed!) I went down below to find Simon lying on his back on the floor, with his hand in the air, looking white as a sheet. It turns out he’d suffered a pretty nasty rope burn between his forefinger and thumb. So severe it had ripped the skin away right down to the tendons. Without wanting to deepen his shock I suggest that it could require stitches.

b2The idea excited neither of us – I didn’t want to do a DIY job on his wanking hand and he didn’t want to be conscious when I did it. “You’ll have to knock me out”, he said. “How do I do that?” I replied, with images of me smashing him over the head with the anchor chain. “Lot’s of rum” was Simon’s suggestion. After a nauseous pause we decided stitching that part of the hand was a silly idea and that a lightly dressed bit of gauze should do the trick. It wasn’t bleeding that much and he could still move his thumb. We sorted it out and marvelled at how such a potentially serious accident was avoided in the middle of the Atlantic. The funniest part of the incident was that whilst on the floor Simon had got Michel rummaging through the floor cleaners and bleaches when he asked for a cleaning solution for the wound. “Is that to clean the toilet with?” was the Frenchman’s reply as Simon lay there on the verge of passing out.


Cuppa tea'll sort you out

c1Whilst all this was going on the fishing line had got wound up in the prop because we’d been turning the boat hove-to (into the wind), so that had to be cut, losing Price Willem III in the process. This was a real loss to me as he’d made a fantastic debut for me yesterday and I had high hopes for him.

Bodge job

Bodge job

After all the excitement we then decided to resurrect the spinnaker pole, which had been repaired yesterday using two splints, a lot of rope and some gaffer tape. We weren’t expecting it to work, yet within 5 minutes we had the thing hoisted up and, after 3 days of gibing with the wind beam on we were once again running goose wing, down wind! “This is what sailing is all about – a bit of DIY,” I said, after the spinnaker pole was back in operation. “This is what these rich people don’t understand,” replied Simon. “Sometimes you can’t buy your way out of trouble”.

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