A headwind is not so bothersome when there is plenty of room, plenty of time and the wind is warm, so it is when I leave the Detroit River for Toledo Beach, MI.  I practice my tacks purposely making little mistakes to learn which one puts me “in irons”, that is, stops my forward motion and starts the vessel sailing backward.  If not corrected, the vessel then comes back onto the tack it started on.  In tight quarters, this is not good.  In open water it can lose very quickly any progress the vessel has made to windward.  To a sailor, “in irons” conjures up terror, “Master-at-arms, clap that man in irons!” few landsmen would ever know.  To the captain, “Sir, the ship is caught in iron!” was no less terrifying.  I practice.

So the ways of doing things aboard ship become tradition and the traditions became the way to teach those who could not read or write.  Oh, they were smart, these seamen, they were talented beyond comprehension.  They could do things with their hands and their minds, their courage and there cunning that always left the landsman passenger staggered with disbelief.  For the most part, they just couldn’t read or write.  No one had taught them.  I never take literacy for granted.

Winding the chronometer everyday at the same time and reporting it to the Captain just before noon was a tradition born of necessity to have accurate time.  Accurate time meant accurate longitude!  Removing one’s hat before entering the mess deck, born form respect for those shipmates injured in battle on deck, who died laid out on the tables of the mess.

I tack my way to Toledo Beach MI to observe the time honored tradition of “Christening”.    True, christenings usually happen at the launching of vessels, but circumstances have changed detail and there are some things more important than that detail.  My course has brought me close enough to have The Captain’s youngest daughter come to do the honors.

On May 30, 2009, the little Corsair F-31 is officially christened THE CAPTAIN LEMUEL R BRIGMAN III with a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider broken over the bow.  (Non-alcoholic cider instead of Champaign ‘cause both the Captain and I had given up our drinking long ago, both stories for another time and place.)

The same prayer is said over the Cap’n Lem as was said many years ago at the christening of his SCHOONER TONI & DONNA.    This would have pleased Captain Lem.  The afternoon was spent in remembrances of Capt. Lem and friends long ago.  We forging our friendships in good feelings and laughter.  It was the way it should be.

And people came to visit!  Boat People!  Boat people are the friendliest people in the world.  Two boats pass on the lake, one sail, one power, makes no difference, having never seen one another, most likely to never see one another again, they wave.  THE CAP’N LEM and the solo-sail have a way of catching people’s imagination and I love it.  They want to know everything.  Where I’m from…when will I get there… what’s the peat moss on the stern for?   I never tire of the questions they ask or telling the stories of how and why.  It is how I take them with me.   I’m sure I could have even won the Sheriff’s Deputy over given time and a different setting. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, THE CAPTAIN LEMUEL R BRIGMAN III

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, THE CAPTAIN LEMUEL R BRIGMAN III

7 Responses to “Tradition”

  1. MikeinAppalachia says:

    Tradition and class you have in abundance. You should (hopefully) have much better wind across Erie. Are you planning to stay north or south as you go across?

  2. tommy says:

    I’m on the south side making for Erie PA. The wind is NW an just barely letting me skirt the coast. I’ll have to tack but not like the south of Lake Huron. T.

  3. unstranger says:

    Good stuff Cap’n.

  4. solo sailing

    Sailing & Yachting…

  5. Stop and see us in Sandusky. Nice anchorages in Sandusky Bay!

  6. MikeinAppalachia says:

    There’s some nice resturants near the marina on South Bass and on Kelly’s, easy walk to them as well. Welcome to Ohio. Hope the wind swings around soon.

  7. MikeinAppalachia says:

    You may already know of this-weather, wind , and wave forecasts for Lake Erie, click points for eastern Erie and Ontario.