Sailing with the Clown Brigade

(L-R)  Patrick, Matthew, Harry
(L-R) Patrick, Matthew, Harry

So I posted a couple weeks back in a blog titled “Sailing to End the War.”  That was a sailing adventure with 2 kids that did not get along very well, but the trip went exceptionally well.  This past weekend, I took the other siblings out for a sail.  It was my son Harry (6) and his two cousins, Mathew (6) and Patrick (4).  They all adore each other and if they had it their way, would hang out together every minute of every day.  One would think that this would be the easier of the 2 cruises, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

I lured them into the adventure with the promise of a little fishing off Egg Island at the other side of Lewis Bay in West Yarmouth, MA.  In getting all of our gear together, I prepped them that this would be a lot of sailing with a little fishing and NOT the other way around.  They were together, so they didn’t really care.  We walked over to the dock and it began.  There were two elements that were constant throughout the entire 3 hour adventure

  •  There was never a single moment of silence.  Harry, like his sister wanted to show off his knowledge of the boat.  The youngest, Patrick, seemed as though he wanted to set the world record for the most questions asked in a 3 hour period.  Matthew simply felt left out of the ongoing noise and just created random things to say or shout in the brief intervals of silence.  The only time they would stop talking and/or yelling is when I was talking, and hell, I didn’t want to talk.  I was sailing!
  • They “called” and negotiated every step.  When I prepped the fishing poles they yelled, “I call that pole!”  When I put the dinghy in the water they yelled “I call the front seat!”  When we pulled up to Marsaili they yelled, “I call first on Marsaili!”  When I readied the anchor they yelled, “I call throwing the anchor in the water!”  Everything that happened, they had to claim dibs on it.  If they were dogs, they would have been running frantically in circles, peeing on everything they could find.

Now, arguments with these three seldom get out of control.  They usually get humorous before they get angry and even when one of them gets angry it is usually easy to diffuse.  So I enjoyed it once I was able to get the sail up and get underway.  About that same time the questions from Matthew and Patrick persisted (they had never been sailing before).

“Is this as fast as it goes?”  “When will we be there?”  “Why don’t you turn the motor on?”

I just smiled at them and laughed.  “Yes, this is as fast as she goes in this wind.  We will be there when we get there.  I don’t turn the motor on because we are sailing.  Now, who wants to drive?” I asked.

Immediately, they all “called” driving and commenced arguing and negotiating.  I laughed again and smiled at them and they could see that I was enjoying myself at their expense.  Eventually, they all started exploring the boat and learning how to relax.  By the time we reached Egg Island, they were content.  We anchored in the lee of Egg Island and caught a couple of fish.  I took off my shirt, walked up to the bow, and executed a perfect can-opener sending a wall of water up over the gunwale and onto the 3 kids watching in amazement.  They all scurried to get their shirts off to jump in as well.

“Hang on,” I said.  “I’m gonna go check for sharks.”

I dove in, swam deep to hide myself from their view, and held my breath as long as I could.  When I came back up, they were all leaning over the gunwale, staring into the water in desperation.  Not a single child uttered the words, “I call first swim!”

Thank you for reading!


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