My eyelids were getting heavy…
It was about 1am. Night watch, a stunning calm night, phosphorescence glittering in our wake, and the blinking distant light of Cape Campbell in the distance. I was motor sailing Wildwood on our (almost) annual pilgrimage 183 miles north from Lyttelton Harbour to the Marlborough Sounds for the summer holidays.
We were travelling in convoy with our friends on Flying Machine. They were about five miles behind having given us an hour and a half leading Mark Foy start about 20 hours earlier.
“Doodoloo” my phone springs to life. Its Craig on board Flying Machine for an update on our position. (Its not like we are racing – right?!)
He and Mike are on watch. Mike is reading “Fatal Storm” by red torch light, a book that Craig commented was best read while curled up safely ashore. I had to agree.
Texting was a welcome distraction, waking me up, but made me veer all over the place – hand steering in these conditions gives me something to do and keeps me awake, but with a non-functioning compass light it makes things a bit more challenging staying on course. Thank goodness I wasn’t on the road! (is texting while sailing illegal yet?)
So anyway Craig suggested that to keep ourselves awake we should write limericks.
Where he got that idea from I have no idea, but – brilliant!
He came up with the first line:
“There once was a man from Dunsandel”
(Which for those of you who don’t live in Canterbury – is a small town just out of Christchurch on State Highway One, and its got a pie shop – and thats about it.)
So then it was my turn to come up with the next line:
“Who loved to go out in his Jandals”
(Jandals – for those of my readers who aren’t from New Zealand – Jandals are flip flops, or thongs or those rubber shoes that you wear on your feet… you got it?)
“His Jandals were huge
Much stranger than use”**
(**pronounced as in the abbreviated version of “usual” – uge)
And then I got to finish off with:
“They were almost impossible to handle!”
As I am writing this post and having to explain every line of the poem, I am kind of thinking that perhaps these limericks were really entertaining for us, but perhaps not quite so interesting and funny for everyone else…? Anyway you decide if you want to read on or not… here was the next one…
There once was a small yacht called Wildy
She was gorgeous and so lovely inside she
She sailed through Cook Strait
It was getting quite late!
Her skipper was glad of her she wee!
You’ll have to read the post about She Wee’s if you don’t understand what that one is all about!
Have you heard of the yacht Flying Machine?
She really is a sight to be seen!
How will you know
How fast she can go
Unless her bum is kept particularly clean!
Craig had very kindly donned his SCUBA gear and cleaned both Wildwood & Flying Machine’s bottoms in preparation for the voyage north.
So all that poetry had taken us about an hour and then it was time for me to go to bed. Kyra was coming on watch and I was really keen for some sleep.
After a lovely long snooze I was back up again for my sunrise watch, while the tide changed and our speed over ground just about ground to a halt.
I text Craig:
The current is currently quite currenty
Its slowing us down quite alarmingly
Two small boats in Cook Strait
Cake for breakfast is quite great
And it feels like the sun is smiling at me!
As we approached the entrance to Tory Channel, I noted that we hadn’t seen any shipping across the Strait at all. This worried me. Given I was almost run over by a ferry the last time I went through this very narrow channel which has about 7 kts of current at full flow. I swear my grey hair has been caused by this area of water…
So for our final limerick:
There once was a flotilla of ferries
Who thought it would be kinda merry
To hide and await
Two small boats in Cook Strait
And sneak up and give them a scarie
If Craig was using the poetry as a way of catching up on us, it had definitely worked. But we still managed to cross through the entrance to Tory Channel a boat length ahead. Its not often that we beat this speedy racing boat in any kind of race, (even with a head start) and I expect its the first time that a limerick has nearly won a yacht race – but as far as tactics and entertainment go, I can highly recommend it!
Thanks to my crew Justin & Kyra
For much more fabulous poetry afloat, check out my friend Beach Poet Bob. Bob’s love of poetry, and Craig’s limerick inspiration on this voyage has inspired me to bring a bit more poetry in to my sailing.
If you’ve got any limerick lines – or complete poems to share – please add them in the comments below!
Thank you for the beautiful photo Jesse Riddell