Grateful

15 July 2016. As sad as this makes me, this will be my last entry on Billy’s Paccup 2016. Last I left it, we were motoring sail-free into Monterey. Severely disappointed, but relieved that we made it out of the roley-poley with the mast still standing. Within a couple of hours the Psyche crew, and the very competent workers at Breakwater Cove Marina had de-rigged and pulled the crippled mast out of Psyche. By afternoon, we had cleaned up much of the mess down below.

Such a mix of feelings. Relief to bring Psyche safely back to port. Longing to be out there changing headsails as the wind clocks. Gratitude to have a crew like this, each of whom works hard as can be till the job is done, whether it be hoisting a genoa, derigging a mast, or celebrating a “half-way” party (see below). Obsession, with the race on windyty, and whether we would still be in the running (conclusion, still in the running).

There was something about our sans-sails cruise from the rhumb-line to Hawaii into Monterey that I wanted to mention. Because we were powering, we just had 1 person on deck at a time. This meant 1 hour on, 4 off; a cushy deal, indeed. It also meant there was no chattering on deck. Very different. I watched the sun sink into the sea on my watch. It takes 3 minutes. I haven’t done that in many years. My 1AM watch let me watch the half-moon set as well. These moments are priceless. They don’t happen at home, although there is no reason they couldn’t. As soon as we came into cell reception range, it was all over.

Coming to dry land brought its rewards. A son of Sam (who “taught” me how to sail by challenging me to a dinghy race at Catalina Island; I tipped over) and Dana Bell, John Bell, activated a bottle of rum through his sister in law, Ashley, who is an active member of the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club. Although I can’t well remember her last name, I can well remember the generosity of her and her family’s spirit.

We drank their rum at the dock in our half-way-party garb. Transformative.

FinalBow3

Clockwise from upper left:  Jim Barber, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, Scott Barber, Billy & the Mast, Capn Steve Calhoun, Don Burdge

Then, spontaneously with little discussion, we suddenly cast off our dock lines and powered the now mast-free Psyche out to the starting line of the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club’s “wet Wednesday” and loudly cheered for every clean spinnaker set we saw. Then we powered Psyche back to the club-house for their post-race barbecue.   A fantastic, warm, friendly yacht club. We are grateful to them for that. I waited patiently with two Mai-Tai’s for my sweet wife, Bird, who battled traffic and boredom to drive from LA to pick me up! In she walks, and the room just lights up. She’s a wonder, and we’re still together, and I am grateful.

And grateful to be alive (did I say that already?).

13 thoughts on “Grateful

  1. Norton, Philip says:

    So very grateful you are all well

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  2. stevecalhouncollierscom says:

    Nicely done. Yo da man!

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  3. Candy Miller says:

    Oh Billy, you always find a way to make me tear up. We share a sentimental/poetic outlook from our Miller/Candler/Porter ancestors ( at least). Your way with words fits so well into my comprehension of what you are experiencing and how. Thank you and just know that your extended family would much rather suffer the disappointment of a turn-around than a lost at sea……so grateful you are safe and still mostly sound. Cousin Candler

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  4. I’m grateful that my husband and son and home safe, but so sad that they didn’t get to make this trip together and with the Psyche crew. Hoe you all have another chance to cross the Pacific together. Also I too was looking forward to your blog and am so happy for you and Bird. Andrea

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  5. Jon Bell says:

    I would love to take credit for activating the emergency ration of rum, Ashley the savior, is in fact my sister in law. However, it was Graham Bell, son of Willie and Shauneen who dispatched Ashley to the harbor with the much needed Mt Gay.

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    1. Excellent!! Thank you Jon. My rum-befuddled head couldn’t quite piece it all together. Suffice to say the Bells run deep in the zeitgeist of Lapworth racing, and we verily appreciated the gesture. Just for the record, Jon, what is Ashley’s last name!!

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  6. I, too, am glad and GRATEFUL that you are alive and thinking and writing and talking. Could have been tears and sorrow. You guys did it, under insane pressure. Life-testing. Why you sail perhaps, to add another experience, however harrowing, into your soul to one-up some day. I mean, this is crazy-your mast breaks off?? Try to even make this shit up. I am in awe. Tons of Love to you and crew.

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