48 Hours
Casey at the Helm

Ravishing Is In the Eye of the Beholder

When two people put to sea for more than a few days, there's not a lot of time for sprucing up. If you've followed us for a while, some of this will be old, but I can't link to prior posts out here so you'll have to suffer while I bring the new folks up to speed.

First, let's lay some groundwork about me and EW. When we were dating, I began to suspect that he liked how I looked, regardless of how I actually looked that day. Suspicions were confirmed once we moved in together and prepared for a night out. When I met him in the living-room he smiled and said, with all sincerity , "You look wonderful!" I thanked him but couldn't leave it alone. "How do you know I look wonderful?" "You must, you took a long time to get ready." I decided to walk away from that conversation believing that EW loves my inner beauty and that it shines for him always. I can live with that.

The second story from our past occurred a few years later when we had a home we were remodeling and a small sailboat. It was autumn, we were dividing our time between laying S/V Sirius up for the season, and starting that winter's house projects. I had made an appointment with a salesperson from an area flooring store, who showed up as I was cleaning the boat and boxing up the left-over foodstuff. Let's just say I was dressed down. Way down. We discussed carpeting for the upstairs, and she promised to have an estimate ready later that week. On the appointed day I stopped by the store, hair blown dry, make-up on, and dressed in an 80's power suit. She didn't recognize me. She looked at me with blank eyes; nothing connected. When I finally convinced her that we'd met a few days ago, she exclaimed, "Boy! You sure clean up good!"

I do. There are women who sail, who are just naturally good looking. We will be seeing one of those soon; Jaime is lovely, and always looks good. (She's one of those calm, cool, and collected people, too. Still, I like her.) I bet when they crossed the Caribbean Sea that Jaime looked much as she does every day. I do not. Or at least I hope the hell I don't. We hot bunk it, sleeping in the main salon when off watch. We shower every third day, I usually just stick a barrette in my hair and go on watch. The only toiletries I use daily are hand soap, toothpaste, and sun screen. I am not at my best. To add insult to injury, as discussed yesterday it's flipping hot down below. I wake up dripping on damp pillows.

This morning I went off watch at 0600 exhausted as one can be on the second day, only to have EW wake me because something wasn't working on the laptop charting system. He didn't need it. I hadn't used it for the last two hours of my watch after I'd stowed everything in the oven because of a threat of a lightening storm. He could get the same information from the GPS and the VHF. The only thing he was missing was the cute little graphic of our boat in red, crossing the Caribbean Sea. He didn't need the damn graphic. I was not thrilled, groggy and stupid with it. When I couldn't get the thing to work after 10 minutes, I told him he didn't need it and went back to bed. And slept.

I woke up two hours later, hot, sweaty, and rested. I had bed head, wet pillow case imprint on my right upper cheek, and fuzzy teeth. Still, when I looked up at him from the companion way steps, he smiled brightly and said, "Good morning! You look ravishing today!"

Here's a tip -- one you'd think EW would have learned in 30 years of marriage -- do not tell any woman (especially me) that she looks ravishing when she clearly looks like hell. It makes all sincere compliments suspect. It also pisses her (me) off. After I expressed these thoughts, we both had a good laugh and EW said, "This is going in the blog, isn't it?"

Yep. As I write this, it's just after 1400. I'm off watch until 1800, will prepare a cold lupper, shower, and post this before taking the evening shift. As for the sailing. This is a glorious day. If this day were a woman, you could in all honesty call her "ravishing". We are sailing toward our goal at 5.4 knots in gentle seas, 12-18 knots of wind. EW said that this is the wind he promised me for the crossing from the Canaries. Six months late, but I'll take it. (All you new readers may want to check out last year's crossings in June to the Azores, in October to the Canaries, and in December to Guadeloupe. Most of it was good. The bad was ugly.) I know to take ravishing when I can get it.

It's 1610 and our location is 15.58.82 North and 68.1823 West. I have showered, smell marvelous, and feel ravishing -- well what passes for ravishing when one is making a sea crossing. It's all relative.

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