We were sailing from the island of Cyprus to the island of Rhodes in the Eastern Mediterranean when we were hit with a very strong storm. We had several hours of warning as small land birds began to land on our boat for safety. They flew down into the main cabin and huddled together in the front cabin on a small line I rigged.
When land birds land on your boat, the only piece of land in the area, you know they know something is coming!
When sailing, these little birds are part of your community. These little folk gave us the few hours of warning we needed to get ready for the storm.
The secret is to understand what they are trying to say to you and that it is true.
1.) Cooked up a big pot of soup
2.) Took down the sails and put up a storm sail which is a third the size of the main, mast sail.
3.) Tied everything down and secured all loose objects down below.
4.) Got our storm bunk ready for the person not on the watch for sleeping.
5.) Make sure the strong rope that is strung up and down the deck for your harness attachment is secure and ready.
6.) Put on your harness.
Why the harnesses? They are very cumbersome to wear, particularly when you are in your wet weather gear.
But you have to wear them whether you like it or not, because you are part of the team, the crew, the mission. Why?
1.) Safety: Your harness has a strong line with a hook on the end of it. As you go on deck, you hook it to the line that runs up and down the deck so that you are secured to the boat. Being locked on the boat you will not be thrown off the boat by a big wave, lurch of the boat, or strong gust of wind. Even on overnight trips in great weather you wear the harness and lock it in when on deck because you can trip and fall overboard.
2.) Being part of the crew: When you are on a crew, each person in the crew performs their responsibilities. When each crew member takes care of themselves in doing their chores, wearing the correct equipment, and doing your job well, then you get the job done and do not put anyone else at risk. If I decided to not wear my harness, and I had to check out damage on the deck and fell off, what would happen to my crew? When would the other crew person wake up, what would happen to the boat? What would happen to me? Why would I put myself and more importantly my crew, my team, in that dangerous situation?
3.) Taking responsibility: The crew on a boat or the team climbing a mountain, a military mission, or a hospital team trying to save a life, all teams and crews work on the same theory that if each person takes responsibility for what they do, the team or crew is successful. The work they do is good, not always perfect, but always successful in being a team.
4.) Love and Caring: You have your team’s back. Could you sleep on “Rhiannon” if you were wondering if your crew member was wearing their harness? Perhaps they thought they didn’t need it? It was uncomfortable? I didn’t think so. You are not a team if just one person does not perform their responsibilities.