Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bremerton Bombshell Babes

What is this about being a Co-Captain?

During the year we traveled the Great Loop around the eastern third of the U.S., Cathryn worked to meet Bob's requirement that she become Co-Captain in exchange for his agreement to make the journey. Within 3 months, she'd become a confident driver and docker of the Loop boat, and continued gaining other skills (navigating, cruise planning, using electronics, performing oil changes) throughout the trip, but never "got there" in terms of electrical, mechanical and break-down/problem-solving skills. Bob remained significantly more proficient in those areas. During the year, we met five women (among the 150 or so boats underway on the Loop) who were Captains of their Loop boats: Charlotte, Ginny, Janet, Betsy and Susan. All had spouses/partners with strong navigation, mechanical and problem-solving skills. Seeing these women inspired Cathryn to someday go on a "Women's Cruise", ideally with multiple boats, all Captained by women, and all female crew, just for the fun of it, and maybe a tiny bit to do something mildly subversive in the male-dominated world of boating, being a firm believer that "women can do this too".

                     (L to R) Lee Ann, Cathryn, Deana and Jean Marie, ready to depart

After we returned from our Loop last April, Cathryn signed up for the "Engine Maintenance" class through the Power Squadron . . . for a second time. When we bought our new Next To Me, a 40' Ocean Alexander, in September and joined the Bremerton Yacht Club in November 2013, she went on the hunt for women who might participate in a Women's Cruise. What she found was no other women yet willing to take their own boats for various reasons, but 3 smart, experienced boaters, all members of both the yacht club and the Power Squadron, who were happy to go along as crew. Woo hoo, great start!

                 "Next to Me" underway, passing Orchard Point on the way to Blake Island,
              photo courtesy of Bob onshore, unbeknownst to the boaters

Preparation for the trip included Bob encouraging Cathryn to do all the docking of our new-to-us-boat for a couple weeks, as she's still far from confident in docking a single screw boat. He prepared Checklists for her to use in managing the pre-departure Engine Room/Fluid Checks and connecting/disconnecting the electrical power cords, switches on the electrical panel and the inverter, all tasks he routinely performs.

So Cathryn, Deana (former owner for 9 years, with her husband, of our new boat, so intimately familiar with it), Jean Marie (current Commander of the Bremerton Power Squadron and full-time live-aboard on a 45-foot trawler with Kevin) and Lee Ann (retired rocket scientist and recent purchaser of her own first boat) planned a 3-day, 2-night journey to Blake Island on "Next To Me" with Cathryn at the helm and this fabulous group for crew.

                             Next To Me" happily, safely tied up in the marina on Blake Island, 
                             with only two other boats on this beautiful but chilly February day.

Taking advantage of the sunny afternoon the first day, the four of us hiked a trail across the island and took a break on the beach at the turnaround point. 

                                 We enjoyed fabulous meals, played "Mexican Train", a dominoes game, and talked and laughed late into the night.

Jean Marie reigned as the dominant winner at Mexican Train, a game which combines luck in drawing tiles with smart strategy and playing skills, as in all card games.

The second night, crew from a 50-foot boat "Plowman", a farmer couple and two kids from Sumner docked one slip over, joined us on our boat for a bottle of wine, Bombshell Red. After hearing our story of why four women were camped on the boat for the weekend, they dubbed us the Bremerton Bombshell Babes, a name which stuck. What a fun weekend, and the crew came home interested in working on their boat driving and docking skills to eventually feel comfortable taking their own boats out!

Thank you Bob, for having the confidence in me that I didn't have, and supporting and encouraging this trip! 

1 comment:

Sara and Jack's Great Loop Blog said...

Woo Hoo! You go girl! I'm right behind you...