The Captain’s responsibilities
I need to issue an apology for some of what I’ve said in some recent posts. I haven’t really meant to come across as so negative about my crew’s actions recently. Partly, it’s been a whole lot of anger on my part, and while Pat may have earned a bit of it, he certainly didn’t earn all of it. Much of that anger should really have been directed more at myself and my own shortcomings. The failures of communication have happened on both sides, when, for instance, I thought I was being perfectly clear but apparently I was not.
And Pat has emailed me a compendium of excerpts and anecdotes that show, no matter what, the captain is ultimately to be held responsible for whatever happens on a boat. One example, reported by Mark Twain when he was in San Francisco, was when the crew of a boat needed to get some varnish from a cask that was stored below. The captain ordered the crew to bring the cask up to the deck so vapors would dissipate, but the crew disobeyed, drawing the varnish while the cask was below, and their lantern ignited the fumes, and the resulting fire destroyed the ship. Even though the crew disobeyed the captain’s orders, the captain was held responsible.
Yikes. OK, so the hole that got punched in Black Magic is really my fault, since I was in command at the time. Still, it’s awfully scary that even if I do everything right, if somebody else screws up, it’s officially my fault. I’m beginning to rethink this whole captain-in-charge thing – maybe I’m not cut out for it.
Meanwhile, on a lighter note, I was watching the Water Channel on satellite – the Thursday prime-time lineup is generally sailing-oriented. Early in the evening, there was a short bit on “Sailing Center” about fiberglass repairs. Later, there was a really exciting show called “Extreme Sailing: Hawaii” about the finish of the Transpac and the ensuing Maui Offshore Races. It was just getting exciting when the power went out, so I don’t know how it ended. Ah, the hardships of living in a rural place where the electric power isn’t so reliable – although the local electric co-op just installed a new substation that was supposed to make service more reliable in this area. But then … we’ve been getting a huge lot of rain, and if going without power for an hour or three a day is the penalty for the rain, it’s a price we’re willing to pay, as precious as moisture is around here.