Posted by: yachtcrewsing | August 21, 2011

Saturday Watch… and Polo!

Yesterday I was on watch. Being as we were given the day off (probably only the second Saturday on which this has occurred during the summer), I had an entire day to spend aimlessly wandering around the 155 foot confines of the yacht. Weekend watch is an ill-desired necessity, with a schedule closely resembling this:

8:00 am: Flag of country of registry is hoisted at the stern. Deck night lights are switched off via touch screens.

8:10 – Sunset: Make elaborate breakfast to take up time. Eat post-breakfast snack. Munch on mid-morning nibbles. Read. Decide that you are feeling to antsy to read. Sit out on aft deck in the sun. Feel guilty because the crew of the two yachts on either side of you are all working. Move to a more inconspicuous spot. Start feeling burnt. Go inside. Eat. Clean out the one tiny 8-inch wide cupboard and sewing-needle sized drawer allotted to us. Decide organization is futile in such an absurdly small space. Start watching a movie. Feel guilty for wasting your day watching a movie. Turn off and attempt an activity of self betterment. Fail. Capitulate and reluctantly turn movie back on.

The daylight portion of watch is a languid and restless affair of self-loathing caused by such indolence and contradicted by utter indifference to changing these conditions.

Sunset: Take down flag, turn on deck and mast lights. Put on dishwasher, clean up galley.

10:00 pm: Check lines and fenders. Check engine room.
Now we are allowed to go to bed! Despite this, we are technically on watch until 8:00am the next morning. Thus, if alarms go off (which they are apt to do, since every minor temperature and electrical shift is monitored on our incredibly technological central system) we need to get up, turn it off and wake up a (disgruntled) engineer if we deem it important.


Yesterday I was slightly spared the monotony of midday by my chief engineer kindly offering to cover my watch from 4:30-8:00 so I could go watch a polo match with the rest of the crew. After spending 2 summers in Newport, it was the one thing I have always been unable due to the matches occurring on irregular Saturdays. The game did not disappoint.

Walking to the pitch, it was surrounded by a variety of people in lawn chairs and lounging on picnic blankets. Large-brimmed hats and long, expensive-looking flowing dresses, salmon colored New England shorts and collared shirts abounded (although not on the same individual, thankfully). Rosé and Pimms brimmed over wine glasses set in the grass beside lavish arrays of cheeses. F. Scott Fitzgerald would have a field day with such displays.

Delighting in the quintessential wealthy New England pastime, we all circled the pitch to join the tent set up by the Newport Shipyard. This contained a wide array of drinks, cheeses and other snacks.

The game was a social affair, half spent chatting, meeting new people and ‘stomping the divots’ during half time. The other half was preoccupied with trying to keep up with the fast-paced game, marveling at the agility of the horses and cheering for the Jamaican team.

I returned to the boat to resume my watch duties, exhilarated and glad to have been given the time to break the self-perpetuating cycle of restlessness.


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