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The Brief ARC of Some Shipboard Romance

Last month I wrote a serious article about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). I have no idea why I did so. It was silly of me. I must have caught a delusional whiff of grandeur. Nobody cares what I think—hell, I don’t even care what I think! In fact, life is too short for all this ‘thinking’ stuff anyway. Intellectualism is, like, so yesterday!

So today I want to focus on the most interesting aspect of the ARC—the fact that dozens of desperate females from all around the world flood into Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, in hopes of catching a yacht-ride westward.

If only one or two did so—nobody would notice. The status quo would prevail. But as soon as the women begin to band together on the docks in roving packs of sexual predators—well, it’s a different story. Suddenly, the single-handers start to get nervous. Who are all these suddenly aggressive women? Why are they laying in wait? Are they violent? Should the besieged male yachties begin to carry pepper spray?

They come in all shapes and sizes; these wanna-be transatlantic sailors. Most are young, athletic, and adventurous. But not all. There was one 35-year-old dyed-blond in spike heels who seemed like she wanted to skip right through the ‘go sailing’ and ‘fall in love’ parts so she could focus more quickly on the ‘let’s get divorced and make me rich’ part.

Many of the women applying for crew positions aren’t like this—but, nonetheless, a lot of modern sailors are now carrying waterproof copies of their pre-nups with them, even while clambering into the liferaft.

Randy Tarr, a local Las Palmas dockside lounger of Spanish ancestry, was the first to complain about the aggressiveness of the applicants. “I was sitting at the sailors’ bar while checking my email and glancing at some boat porn on noonsite.com—when that Swiss girl jumped in my lap, kissed me in a very wet way, and screamed, “… I want to, how you say in Engrish … I want to ride you the whole way across Atlantic?”

“That’s right,” complained another fearful sailor. “They keep whipping off my Greek sailor’s cap and polishing my bald spot with their … their twin globes! It’s getting harder and harder to ‘just say no!'”

“… please,” gasped one really old codger, “don’t repeat the H word, okay?”

Rick off Lunar Shade is like a kid in a candy store. He can’t believe his good fortune. “I’m done with those cyber-gyp websites like findacrew.com and galleyslave.net,” he reports. “These Canary chicks are much hotter. Best of all, they have no criteria, which is perfect for me!”

Of course, Rick played hard to get. He didn’t jump at the first 36-24-36 babe that rowed out.

“… actually,” he admits, “they didn’t just row out. They swam out. They water-skied out. They rode jet-skis out. They borrowed tenders, stole dinghies, and hijacked kayaks out! It was amazing. I was expecting them to begin parachuting onto the deck …”

“… yes, it was absolutely wonderful and magical,” said Rick with a far-away smile of remembrance. “I felt young again. It was glorious. I had an entire table of beautiful bodacious babies snuggling up to me at the sailors’ bar—all of whom were so much better than those ego-bruising cyber witches!”

Rick’s experience with having a ‘sailing cyber bride’ FedEx’d to him wasn’t a positive one. He was in the Med at the time—and truly at loose ends. Time hung heavy. But luckily, there was good WiFi in his marina—and he soon turned to cyberspace for solace. There he discovered a website named something like Click-a-Chick4Crew.com. Sure, it was silly and goofy—but, hey, it was only a few bucks to join—but the first picky woman asked if she’d have her own head. “Only if I, like, start doing it over the side,” he replied. Not amused, the fussy woman slipped back into cyberspace. Another woman contacted him and things were going swimmingly—when suddenly everything screeched to a halt as she asked, suspiciously, “… your boat has a tiller?”

“Yes,” Rick said.

“… I’m a wheel-girl,” she quickly said, and that was that.

Rick sighed, and continued to refine his pitch. Finally, a young Polish girl living in Paris flew out and smiled at him. He waved her aboard—and cast off the docklines for Africa. Okay, so she wasn’t the cleanest of individuals and had lots of body hair exploding everywhere—but so what? Why be picky?

The weather was pleasant off the coast of Morocco, and she cooked up a tasty meal. “Delicious!” he said. She whirled on him angrily and hissed, “… don’t EVER compliment me again!”

Soon she was spending a lot of time on the radio talking to other vessels heading for the Canaries—attempting find her next watery ride westward.

The moment Rick dropped his hook in Graciosa—a tender from a French vessel swung alongside and took her off. “… buy ’em a pair shoes, and they walk out on you,” Rick whispered forlornly underneath his breath.

Now, Rick didn’t know anything about the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) and the 250 vessel fleet of vessels participating—nor did he realize what a large flock of wanna-be-boat-babes would be attending wearing stylish “Women for Sail” T-shirts.

And many of these women were far smarter than he—hell, they knew that Rick-with-a-spare bunk was arriving in Las Palmas almost before Rick did.

Some of these woman not only wanted a ride westward across the Atlantic—but needed one as well. (Money has a way of evaporating, especially when you are young.) Thus, they put up signs in all the chandleries, haunted the dinghy dock, and walked around town literally bristling with sandwich boards screaming, “Pick me, Skipper!” As if that wasn’t enough, they commandeered VHF radios—and offered their services in more and more suggestive ways. Some lucky ones managed to sleep on deck aboard boats in the anchorage—all the better to flag down ‘potentials’ as one put it. Another staked out the fuel dock, hoping they’d ‘top off’ crew along with water. The true gold-diggers ignored the anchorage—and schemed ways to crash the ‘owners over 15 meters’ dinner—where the dudes who could afford a decent divorce hung out.

So guys like Rick of Lunar Shade suddenly found themselves in a magical position of temporary power over young, nubile women.

“About an hour before dark, I’m sitting in my cockpit—and one of the girls who wants a ride to Barbados rows out—with the entire ingredients of a gourmet meal! She comes aboard, fluffs my pillow, heads for the galley, and proceeds to cook me up a delicious feast.”

All of which sounds good—but has a down side, as Rick soon discovered. “We’re just sitting down to dinner … yes, she brought the candles, too, and there is a knock on my port side. It’s Alicia—the one with a doctorate in music—and she’s got her waterproof carbon-fiber violin with her. She wants to play Bach for me. Just as I’m about to blow her off and tell her I can’t listen now—Amanda-the-Curvaceous Chiropractor approaches to starboard. She’s flexing her lovely, large hands—saying something about how my spinal cord needs strengthening, stroking, or whatever. By this time, the Galley Gourmet Girl angrily sticks her head out—and tells the other two to get freak’n lost—she’s already landed this fish! And I think to myself, ‘Oh, dear! It’s a cat-fight. Over moi! How wonderful!'”

Of course, the reality is that it isn’t the young women who are putting the sexual overlay on much of this, but the old men. The average female crew applicant is in search of fun and adventure generally, while many of the men involved are interested in certain aspects of it specifically.

“Hey,” admits Rick in a moment of candor, “I realized that your average 18-year- old babe isn’t dreaming to hook up with your average 62-year-old—even if he does own a well-found boat. And, of course, I’m a gentleman. I would never, ever think to … to … be insensitive in any way.”

“… but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, does it? Or hope? I’ve lived with men and I’ve lived with woman—and I just get along better with females, even while gazing upon them from afar. There’s nothing evil or sick about that, is there?”

In any event, private morality aside, there are a dozen or so single-handers in Las Palmas having the time of their elderly lives. Many of them, deep in their hearts, know that ‘this too shall pass’—but while it’s still a buyer’s market, who can blame them?

Rick continues, “I was walking downtown and Annabelle—that’s the 19-year-old French one who lives in Belgium—came running up and jumps into my arms while saying, ‘I want to sail with you, Rick! Please, please! You are my first skipper. Pick me! Teach me! Show me! Take me, please take me!'”

Rick blushed. Passers-by were staring, some with frowns. “Well,” said Rick, to buy some time for his embarrassment to subside, “actually, I’m not sure where I’m going … perhaps Brazil or the Lesser Antilles.”

“… it doesn’t matter,” giggled Annabelle. “Whatever!”

Rick staggered a bit. He looked like a deer-in-the-headlights, or even the bug-on-the-windshield. He knew it would end badly at best, sure, but wasn’t it better to have loved and lost than never loved at all … even when love has absolutely nothing to do with it?

“Sure,” he grinned. “You and me, kid. Against the world!”

Cap’n Fatty Goodlander lives aboard Wild Card with his wife Carolyn and cruises throughout the world. He is the author of Chasing the Horizon by American Paradise Publishing, Seadogs, Clowns and Gypsies, The Collected Fat, All At Sea Yarns, Red Sea Run. His latest book, Buy, Outfit, and Sail,isout now. For info visit: fattygoodlander.com

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