Red over Red

Red over Red

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh, Now I Get It...

When we did this Blog Hop, and Helen Hollick who organized it said it was supposed to end on September 21, she meant September 21 of this year!

I thought I had a lot more time than I did...

Okay, that might not be strictly true. I may have had an idea that the Blog Hop was supposed to be over the course of one week. But I didn't get to it. That's the problem with all this social media - how is one supposed to blog/Tweet/Snapchat/Snapple/Twaddle and write books at the same time? At least it's not like the old days, when you had to write with a feather (okay, true confession, I do in fact use a feather for blogging. Maybe that's what's slowing me down...)

Well, if anyone still cares, I'll continue this saga, begun during the Bog Hop, of some of the ships I've worked aboard...

I signed aboard the Golden Hinde II (see below) with the idea that I would be gone for half a year and then return to Hollywood and resume my promising career in the Entertainment Industry (promising to turn me into one of the winos on Hollywood Boulevard, that is). Anyway, I was off on the Hinde for a full year and when I got back to Los Angeles I sold everything and headed off for my next ship. Looked like the career change, which was supposed to be just a reprieve, would be semi-permanent.

Problem was, I didn't have a new ship. But my former Hinde shipmate Lisa had moved to Washington State, and, as a worthy boatswain I once worked with was fond of saying "A woman will drag you further than gunpowder will blow you!" He was right. Though he didn't say "woman." He used another word.

So off to Washington, where they had just completed the replica 18th Century brig Lady Washington in Aberdeen. Lisa and I were in Bellingham, but she ran off to work aboard the ship Edna in the South Pacific (another great story - but hers) so I went to Aberdeen to join the Lady Washington.

Lady Washington

The bad news was, the ship was broke, the town had no idea what to do with her, and they were not hiring anyone. The good news (for me) was, when they had initially rigged her they made a bad choice in the cordage they used, and all her standing rigging from the lower shrouds up, and much of the running gear, would have to be replaced. So they would be hiring folks real soon.

With money from the sale of all my stuff, including my boat, I was able to live in Aberdeen (not an expensive proposition) and volunteer aboard the Washington until they were ready to hire a rigging gang (ah, youth! and it's blessed freedom from obligations!)

Finally (I don't remember when - Spring of 1990? Fall? Hell, I don't remember what year it was last week) they hired on a rigging gang, first under the direction of Jamie White (who is now Director of the Texas Seaport Museum) and then under the able command of C. A. Finger, who supervised a majority of the work. It was a big job. The ship was entirely rigged when we started, so everything had to come down, her rig stripped off entirely until there was nary a rope on her. Then we spent months in the loft, building the new rig and finally setting it all up again.

Whipping a line aboard the Lady Washington

Charlie Finger, who was a great rigger but an ungodly pain in the ass to those in charge, told the Board of Directors, "We can do this job two ways, we can do it quick or we can do it right." Of course, they opted for doing it right. And that's what we did. Under Charlie's direction and through the efforts of some very talented riggers (I don't necessarily put myself in that category) we did a hell of a job. Charlie was a stickler for authenticity and getting it right, but he would also rein us in when we were getting a little carried away. You lose authenticity if you try to be to precise as much as if you are too sloppy, and Charlie would remind us of that with his regular cry of "Hey, we ain't engineering the f**king space shuttle!" I have honestly not seen many 18th century sailing ship replicas better rigged than the Lady Washington. Endeavor is, but there aren't many that can beat Washington.

That rigging job was a great experience. Nothing can teach you better how a ship's rig works than to help build one from scratch. With that done we set out on sea trials and a lot of local sailing, but nothing too exciting. The Gray's Harbor Historical (Hysterical?) Seaport still had a world of financial hurt and they weren't doing much.

Here I am in front of Lady Washington when the rig was done and we had set everything to check the lead of the running gear. And no, I did not just have one shirt and one pair of pants, even though I'm wearing the same ones as in the picture above. I probably owned three shirts at that point in my life.

Not too long after the ship was re-rigged, there commenced a great pissing match/struggle for control of the Seaport by various factions, the usual sort of small town (or big city) BS that happens with organizations such as this. Many of us were soon persona non grati. And that could only mean one thing - off to another ship!

Coming soon - Chapter Three, the Rose!


  1. Were there earlier episodes in this saga? Inquiring minds want to know.


    1. Just the blog entry that proceeds this one, which talks about the Golden Hinde. Love those inquiring minds.

  2. Thanks for the continuation of your wayfaring days, and love the comment about how to get something authentic, you can't make it too perfect. That applies to writing and music and life as well.

    Now off to check you out on Twaddle. : p