Over the years, Charlie has discovered that a large part of a maritime career involves rules. There are thousands of them. There are rules of the road, environmental rules, throwing away rubbish rules, head pumping rules, dumping rules, safety rules, danger rules, hazard rules, inland rules, international rules … etc, etc. (and you thought a life at sea was all about freedom … HA!).
But there are two rules that Charlie absolutely insists on. Mandatory Rules: Rule 1: The captain is always right.Rule 2: If you think the captain is wrong, refer to Rule 1.
Charlie allows himself the privilege of expounding to charter guests his personal edict: "My boat is shipshape and is in perfect seamanlike condition; our charters offer unparalleled pleasure." Here is a list of questions from some of Charlie's less seasoned guests, and the obvious and tiresome responses:
Squawk: The fridge isn't cold enough. Retort: It's perfect for the red wine.
S: The chain plate is leaking onto my bunk. R: Of course it is; it helps keep a constant humidity.
S: The food's cold. R: That's why we provide salad dressing.
S: I'm feeling a bit queasy. R: Just think how good you'll feel when we stop.
S: The mast just fell down. R: Well spotted, it's part of the safety training.
S: Why is it blowing so hard? R: For great sailing.
S: Why is it so calm? R: For great snorkeling.
S: The boat's rolling. R: Free roller coaster, and no extra charge.
S: There's a creaking noise at night. R: You're on the love boat.
S: The instruments don't work. R: On my boat, the wind calls the tune.
S: The linens weren't washed. R: Water conservation is of paramount importance on a sailing vessel.
S: What happens if we miss Anegada? R: Next stop Bermuda. Or Greenland.
S: The beer's not cold. R: Because the alcohol content is high.
S: The water is tainted. R: Never waste a good thirst on water.
S: We didn't ask for that. R: Please refer to Mandatory Rules above.
Charlie has a long list of repeat clients. His yacht, Passing Wind, is almost always fully booked.
Julian Putley is the author of "The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI," "Sunfun Calypso," and "Sunfun Gospel."