|Don’t Worry, Be Happy|
2: Bahamas continued
By Capt. Bill Pike — July 2001
My primary concern was weather, of course. When I arrived at Nordy's slip at Miami Beach Marina late Thursday evening, February 22, winds were southerly and light and supposed to stay that way through the following day, according to Walt Hack of Ocean Marine Nav, the New Jersey-based weather router I was using for the trip. But the Gulf Stream is a mercurial place in winter, and weather windows have a way of prematurely slamming shut.
then there was the crew thing. I could see while walking down the dock
that photographer/able-bodied seaman David Shuler and PMY Editor In
Chief/first mate Richard Thiel were already busy onboard. Would these
two guys, both friends of mine but heretofore unknown to each other,
get along? There was no hint as I entered the saloon. Beside the dinette
table, standing amid PFDs, half-opened electronic cartography boxes
from Nobeltec and Softchart, and an odd assortment of unstowed galley
utensils, Shuler was stolidly attempting to inflate an air mattress,
his sleeping arrangements for the voyage. Thiel stood forward, fiddling
with a maze of electrical wires at the helm, muttering quietly to himself
while trying to interface a Compaq Presario laptop with a Furuno GPS
and a Simrad Robertson AP22 autopilot.
Merrill was intense. By midnight we'd bilge-crawled Nordy's engine room and lazarette, plowed through a stack of tech manuals a foot high, wolfed down a few buckets of take-out stone crabs from nearby Monty's, and completed a practice anchor drop in the slip and a practice launch of our Mercury-powered RIB. Around one a.m., with Merrill seeming to get a second wind, Thiel deeply endeared himself to Shuler, as well as me, by tactfully submitting, "Jeff, it's way past Bill's bedtime."
Nordy took departure the next afternoon, after we'd hit a supermarket in South Beach, turned in two rental cars, and endured the kind of despair known only to those who load electronic cartography onto laptops via cellphones and West Coast tech support. It was Shuler who finally figured things out, maybe because he's a Californian. Anyway, Thiel cheerily offered, "Dave...good job!"
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.