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Thalia's Voyage
A chronicle of a 1985 Passport 40 sailing days with Pat & Judy O'Brien
Celebration of Life
Captain Pat (back from a nap)
06 January 2012
Celebration of Life

After a quiet and wonderful Christmas we, the crew of Thalia, were anticipating an auspicious beginning of 2012! There were discussions amongst the crews of Wild Haggis and Thalia on how to avoid the December curse of the Mayans. Oracles would need to be consulted for an action plan. Scout, our weather guru, suggested that we might consult with Jack the Reindeer Dog. A village elder and shape shifter who has demonstrated wisdom in all things future. Jacks advice was “Touch & Dance with the Dragon”, “Find your Wind”, “Drink Soup” & “Stay Dry”!

Well the first hint that Jack could sense the future (could be those cute antlers) came on Thursday in the dark and was terrifying! The deck surface of our docks is 5 to 5.5 feet above the water and attached to pilings. At 19:00 hours we were going down to Wild Haggis. Totally dark, cold 45 F and a water temp of 60 F. Things went from good to seriously bad in 1 second. Judy got off the boat first and I was at the top of the companionway ladder about to step into the cockpit when there was a loud splash sound & Judy yelling “I’m in the water”. Fortunately, she was not injured and remained calm and focused. The first solution was “throw her the horse shoe floatation device. DID NOT WORK!! IT WAS JAMMED IN SO HARD IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN A MINUTE TO FREE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! We are about 30 yards from the nearest ladder that can be released down to the water. I told Judy to swim to the ladder and I would meet here there! I grabbed the boathook and we both headed for the ladder. As she approached the ladder I extended the boathook to her to make contact & provide reassurance. To free the ladder took three tries but then it was down and she climbed up the ladder and was out of the water. It was terrifying for both of us. Holding onto her, hypothermia is real and she had it, I took her back to the boat got her safely down onto the boat and inside. Heat, towels, clothes removal, sleeping bag, hot tea and 45 minutes later she was improving. Jack the Reindeer Dog was right “STAY DRY” !! We’ve had multiple safety discussions and put into action several things to address our failings that dark night. We also find ourselves holding hands like teenagers in love while strolling down the dock or in the village. She did loose a wine bottle, both slippers, and her glasses. But all is well and we have bonded as a “boat couple” like teenagers in love.

Touch and Dance with the Dragon
Now that we are cult followers of Jack the Reindeer Dog we were committed to following his revelations. New Years eve found us in downtown Oriental by the town dock (maintaining a respectful distance) for Dragon Run. The drummers, almost as good as the Kodo guys but with more clothes and Etoh, were on the lawn in front of THE BEAN drumming the crowd into a chanting frenzy. We danced in the street, held hands (that teenage thing again), chanted and waited for the dragon. He magically appeared, like most of life, and swept thru the crowd. The drummers & the chanting crowd persuaded the dragon to dance thru the revelers a second time. It was all COSMIC ENERGY MADNESS. A wonderful time. The crews of Thalia and Wild Haggis returned to Thalia for champagne, cheese, and crackers! GO YACHTES!@* After that the guys went to their sea bunks to sleep, but the ladies, both excellent chefs, went to The Croaker Drop. Boycotted by vegans far and near but Oriental is a commercial fishing port and if you don’t drop a fish at midnight you just might be catching meatloaf!

Find your Wind
Well…..Sunday morning found Captain Pat on the deck moving halyards, lines, removing the stove pipe, and unzipping the sail cover. Noon was the start time for the annual “Instead of Football Regatta”. The wind was to be found out of the SW @ 5kts going up to 15-20 kts in mid afternoon with a temperature rising to 60F. Perfect weather for the course. The start was on a line between Oriental Green 1 and a Football buoy to Adams Creek Green 1 (the SW leg) back to Garbacon Green (the NE leg) and then the finish line at Oriental Green 1. The race would conclude at 15:00 hrs with drinks, soup and awards at the M&M Café. We brought on board the race hardened crew from Wild Haggis. Captain Jim, grinder Cameron and our usual tacticians Beth and Judy. They suggested for optimal results I might go below and do my usual nap and they could wake me for the drinking and awards ceremony but I was too jazzed with the excitement of the race. I kept reciting the only mantra I knew “Om Mane Padre Um” opps wrong mantra so I switched to “Lets Cruise the Line Mateys”!!! Captain Jim’s cooler head prevailed when he said check your boat insurance and there are already 15 boats cruising the line. Faced with being sent below again I stopped my chanting and we weathered Thalia back about 200 meters behind the line. When the five minute gun went off I put her on a starboard tack for the line and started chanting again……but a new chant “Find your wind Captain Jim”! No…..not down below again….No more !@*chanting!@* were the orders from the crew. We came about 30 meters below the football buoy and came about to a port tack in light winds. Grinder Cameron after pulling the gib through in a strong and masterly fashion touched the football buoy for good luck. The wind piped up, was that Captain Jim chanting “I found my wind?!” and we were blazing at 6 kts and passed a few boats. The tacticians suggested we come about to a starboard tack before we hit the 7 foot depths on the charts. There was general agreement except for our grinder…Cameron was now up at the bow ready to be launched if we came to a halt. Never..ever take a teenage grinder they can be trouble! We came about onto a starboard tack and headed for Adams Creek Green 1. Great winds @ 15-20 kts and we are in the middle of the pack. At the marker there was a traffic jam on rounding it. Someone squeezed in between us and the marker. That was exciting and then we started on the downwind leg to the Garbacon Shoal marker. Old captain Pat got out another line and started to tie up the tacticians before they voiced the word “PREVENTER”! Ah…yes I was thinking wing on wing ladies.. So much for the bondage move. We set up a preventer and went Wing on Wing to the Garbacon Shoals Green marker rounded it and headed on a starboard tack for THE LINE. With Bristol Star and several others “eating our bubbles” we crossed the line in the middle of the pack.

Most amazingly, we did not ram anyone, the combined crew celebrated and Pat and Judy walked to the awards ceremony hand in hand (that teenage thing again).
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