Around The World
Chapter 1: Getting Ready
Copyright© 2007 by Swabby
Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1: Getting Ready - This story is about a man that sails a boat singlehanded around the world. Unfortunately most of the people of the world die during his voyage so it becomes a survival story. Very little sex. Some romance.
Harold (Hank) Myers was slow getting up this morning. The first thing he thought about as he woke was that there was no movement. "That's right" he remembered, the boat was anchored just offshore and it was early enough there was no wind. No wind meant no waves or rollers. After many months of sailing with only a few short breaks he was so used to movement that sitting still made him uncomfortable and walking on land made him feel clumsy, almost like he would stumble and fall. You got used to the steady motion of a ship or boat. It's absence was disconcerting.
As he ducked down the short tiny passage from his stateroom aft to the main cabin in the middle of the sailboat he looked back at the lump under the covers. Dianne, his gal-pal for the past few days looked like she would sleep till sundown. She needed to get moving so he could leave.
Today starts the longest leg of his around the world single handed cruise. He was doing something very few people ever dared and even fewer completed. It took knowledge, skill, guts and a lot of luck. Mostly it was hard work and boredom interspersed with an occasional dash of adventure... or terror. Luckily for Hank, he was comfortable in his own mind.
Hank remembered getting back late last night with Dianne and the two of them continuing the party here. They were not too drunk when they paddled out to his boat. His boat tender was an open style kayak made of plastic. It was light, cheap and he could go miles and miles in it without using a motor. The Twin Otter kayak by Old Town had proven it's worth many times.
He had owned his sloop "At Last!" for a couple years now. It was a 1997 Hunter 310. The 31 feet long sailboat was light and a good size for one person to handle and he had picked it up used in Ft. Lauderdale. Her previous owner, a "Rich Guy," had gotten tired of sailing it twice a year and decided to sell the boat. Truth be told, serious sailing was more than the owner could handle.
Hank had picked At Last! up for $45,000, a steal actually. She was worth every bit of 70K. She had all the options and had heavy duty everything. Yacht prices were pretty low in Ft. Lauderdale which helped him get this one modestly priced. The Rich Guy just wanted out from under the docking fees and hassles of ownership.
Usually a deep water boat would be a Morgan or one of the Scandinavian brands. United States made boats made great weekender's, but you wouldn't necessarily want to go through a serious blow in one. Ordinarily a Hunter would not make a good deep water boat but this one was exceptional in how she was outfitted thanks to Rich Guy.
After bumming around in the Caribbean a while he had had decided to sail around the world. He felt that comfortable in his Hunter. The biggest change he made was to switch the two blade prop for a three blade. She had vibrated a bit when he had it at high RPM. The new prop toned it down.
The forward stateroom was used for bulk storage of food and water. When he had started out, there was plastic bags of food from the floor to the ceiling. On each bag he had carefully written the contents with a large marking pen. The water jugs were on the floor. Mesh nets were used to make sure things stayed where they should with little movement.
Hank had bought the boat not long after the Navy had given him a medical discharge. His leg had been fractured pretty badly and his left knee would never be good enough for the Navy again. He thought back to Seaman Herndon that had not secured the fork lift that rolled on him and busted his leg. Herndon had been busted two ranks for his neglect. It wasn't the first or last time Herndon would be in trouble. He wasn't really suited for the service. Too bad it ruined a good career by forcing Hank out of the Navy.
Ships underway needed to be secured, that meant chaining or tying down everything that could move. Most furniture is bolted to the deck. It was an inexcusable accident because everyone was trained on how important it was to properly stow everything. Even in calm seas you can never tell if the ship is going to make a radical turn or take a rogue wave. Being secured for sea should have been as common as breathing for Herndon. Nobody could tell HIM anything. He was just a bad egg. He thought everyone else was idiots. His own peers didn't like him.
Strange, Hank's knee didn't seem to bother him much any more. That was probably because it had been allowed to rest now that he was retired. While he was in the Navy he was stuck between the requirements to jog so he could pass his P.T. tests or flunk the P.T.'s and get discharged because he couldn't train enough to pass the P.T. with his bum leg. His knee didn't get enough time to heal.
It was a standard government Catch-22 deal. After getting the run around for a while it took the intervention of his congressman to push the doctors into giving him a medical discharge. He would rather have stayed in, but the P.T. tests were only allowed to be waived two times, and he had ran out of waivers. His C.O. had done all he could and the medical folk were being remote and difficult as usual.
He had received a 90% disability which along with a sizable nest-egg had allowed him to buy the At Last! He had paid 60 percent of the price of the boat from his savings. His retirement was enough for one guy to live on. That and a few thou in various funds and he was doing OK. He could have bought the boat outright, but didn't want to. This way he had a low interest loan that was a tax deduction and it left him with a decent, if modest portfolio of over 50 thousand and building.
He had been married for two years during his first hitch and it had not worked out. The anguish and self doubt following the breakup had stung him enough that he had stayed single ever since. He would date but didn't get serious again with any woman. It wasn't that he didn't like women, he just had not found the right one yet.
He noticed after reaching his mid 20's, good single women all seemed to come with kids or problems. Career women had become fixed in their ways and were so goal oriented you couldn't work with them. The rough around the edges and the easy ones didn't appeal to him. He liked kids but it was hard to start a relationship with a divorced or single mother. They generally couldn't afford babysitters. Excluding the kids seemed wrong, but you can't make out with a kid there.
Many women today expected you to go to church every Sunday. He believed in God and everything, but it took no brain surgeon to see that 90 percent of any money given went to pay the minister's wages. The preachers all talked about the good works being done but the reality was that most preachers made an awful lot of money for working a couple days a week. He never wanted to hear another canned sermon. It seemed many of them got their stuff off the Internet.
The problem with his ex. had been her big tits and little brain. He was no Einstein, but it's hard to carry an intelligent conversation with someone of banal thinking ability and no ambition. Ultimately it was her selfishness that ruined everything.
She viewed everything in the world only as it related to her. She never had a thought for anyone else. Every perceived slight caused a screaming argument with her that lasted hours.
He made plans for the future, she lived in the moment. He bought groceries for a week, she bought for the next meal. It just wasn't working. The divorce had been bloody, but they had not been married long enough for her to clean him out. She did run up his credit cards, but he survived that. He had avoided large chested women ever since. In the back of his mind he was probably avoiding her.
Lets see, looking for a woman with a normal size chest, reasonable intelligence, not mean, nasty or selfish, late 20's or early 30's and has no kids. Yep. He was a confirmed bachelor and it may be a permanent affliction. It certainly was going to be difficult finding Ms. Right when he lived a vagabond life the way he did now. Few women would entertain a sailboat as a permanent nest.
Being single really enabled him to own the boat. He had been socking his Chiefs pay away for several years. Living and eating on board ship had allowed him to save most of his pay for years. He drove an old T-bird in those days. It didn't pay to keep a new car near the piers, they rusted out too quick. He just kept putting the bucks in the bank and investing it all.
He filled his small percolator with water and grounds and placed it on the burner and turned the gas on. He had one of those reusable mesh filters that lasted seemingly forever. It didn't make the best coffee, but it was better than what he drank in the service. He made up for it by using the best grounds he could get.
Three cups of water went into a small saucepan so he could make some oatmeal for breakfast. Eggs didn't keep in an icebox long so when he had outfitted for this cruise he had laid in a big supply of different oatmeal flavors as well as ramen noodles, canned soups, crackers and all the other foods that kept well on a small boat. He ate as much fresh food and vegetables as he could find when import.
As he drank his first cup of coffee he thought back to how he had got the boat and how he got here to Auckland New Zealand. Hank had chosen the At Last! because she had several features he found important in a sailboat. One unique feature was she had no back stay - the wire that commonly connects the top of the mast to the stern. Most sloops had 4 stays holding the mast up, one connected at the bow, one to the stern and two on either side of the mast.
Instead of a back stay her unique design had two cross braces and wires angled to run aft of the mast on each side. Having the stays running aft just a little did the job a typical back stay would normally do, thus her main mast was anchored at three points rather than the traditional 4 points.
Because the wires and mounting points were heavy duty and reinforced it was every bit as secure as traditional four point rigging. By not having a back stay, he had a cockpit that was not split in two by a back stay. That was particularly important because the cockpit on the Hunter 31 was on the small size. Perfect size for sailing, but crowded for entertaining a bunch of people.
The At Last! had a fractional rig. That meant the Genoa or jib sail was on the small size. This made tacking and jibeing easier as the sail was smaller and easier to deal with. To compensate, the mast was a tiny bit taller than what you would normally see on most boats her size.
At Last!'s sailplan worked better in light winds anyway. Taller sail plans did better in light wind because they went higher and could catch wind that shorter sail plans would miss.
At Last! would sail fine with just the main, but the jenny (genoa jib sail) helped her tack quicker and gave her an few several knots. Running without a foresail also made the boat steer eccentrically as all the force of the wind was centered on the main sail and the force was felt at the base of the mast. This was slightly unbalanced. Most sloop rigged boats behaved like this.
His boat had serious upgrades installed when it was built. The mainsail traveler was mounted on a metal arch that was just above his Bimini cover. The traveler was a little trolley affair that connected his mainsail boom so sail movement could be controlled. The Bimini was a small awning that kept much of the sun and rain off the cockpit so it was much more comfortable in the weather.
This setup allowed him to use all the room on the cockpit and no boom ducking was ever required as his boom was way above the Bimini cover. A good thing if you were the only one sailing the boat and you were very tired.
The Hunter 31 had a swim deck on the stern. The cockpit was higher than the waterline so it could have a small platform built into the hull. You could swim right up to the stern and easily pull yourself aboard. No ladder needed. Better yet, you could step right from the stern into or out of a small boat or kayak.
His mainsail and jib sheets as well as her halyards were ran into the cockpit. "Halyards" allow you to raise and lower sails. "Sheets" allow you to control the movement to the left and right and how tight the sails are.
95 percent of his sailing chores were done from the comfort and safety of the cockpit. He rarely had to leave the cockpit to do anything besides eat, sleep or cook. The boat had a Lewmar Direct Drive Steering System acting as an auto helm. This allowed the boat to sail itself while he did chores or caught a little sleep.
His trip had started informally when he left Ft. Lauderdale in early June and sailed right past Nassau and even San Juan, Puerto Rico. He didn't stop until he got to St Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. He anchored out there and had paddled in and spent two days shopping and hanging around in St. Thomas. There was a little Irish pub there that he always visited for some dark ale. This time he found it too touristy even for a Florida boy like himself so he left earlier than he planned and continued down the islands until he got to Trinidad.
He had always found Trinidad and Tobago to be an interesting country. It had a mixed bag of black, Anglo and Indian peoples and they seemed to get along much better than the mixed races did in the states. Beautiful beaches, great night life and reasonable prices (for the islands) made it a fun 5 day stay.
Next stop had been Recife Brazil after a long run down the coast. Brazil had attracted many Irish and German immigrants over the years so it also had an interesting history when you added in slavery and the distinctly patriarchal socio-political structure that had evolved over the years.
There were other places between Trinidad and Recife he could have stopped at but they were not very familiar to him. Recife had Bramma beer and light brown course sand beaches. He spent a few nights in a hotel a block from the beach for a change of pace. Hotels one block in were much cheaper than waterfront hotels. He went to a few shows and got lucky one night. There were lots of friendly women there but he didn't speak Portuguese so it was a hassle. He avoided most of the tourist places as the prices were sky high. There were plenty of hookers too, but he wasn't that desperate. Avoiding the tourist areas kept him from talking to many Americans.
From Recife he headed south southeast for Cape Town, South Africa. It was a long hard sail but the weather was good and he only had a few days with very little wind. He did have to tack a lot. He didn't see Cape Town as an ideal place to stop so only stayed a few days to rest up for the next leg.
To be honest, he felt guilty somehow just being a white man and being here. He knew the natives had gotten a rotten deal for decades. He only stayed long enough to enjoy a few good meals and take several showers.
The At Last! had a hot water tank, but he kept it turned off unless moored port side with electrical services. He rarely ran the diesel, just enough to keep the battery power up for the navigation lights and a few instruments.
At sea he took his showers aft on the swim deck usually. He used "Shower Bags" which were black plastic bags with a valve and a small nozzle. An hour or two hanging in the sun was enough to get them just right for a shower. He had brought several as they were delicate and seemed to break easily.
One shower bag he filled with about two gallons of salt water which he used to soap up with, the other bag he used with one gallon of fresh water to rinse off with. He showered only a few times a week. Most of the time he took a sponge bath.
The At Last! had a 50 gallon water tank and he also had many 2 1/2 gallon jugs of distilled water as backup. Laundry was done much the same as bathing. He washed clothes in a plastic bucket a few pieces at a time. Liquid soap purchased at a health food store could wash anything. It was super concentrated and very affordable. It even lathered up in salt water. He always rinsed in fresh. Undershorts got rinsed twice to prevent chafing.
The toilet emptied into a 24 gallon holding tank which had chemicals in it. Water from washing dishes or laundering normally went over the side as it was biodegradable and safe. He could go a long time before emptying that 24 gallon tank if he was careful. Discharging waste at sea was a big no-no.
He had worried about pirates and other scum. He intended to be careful, but had heard of stories of piracy in the Caribbean and the Far East near certain island countries so had two guns stashed away. One was an AR-7 Hunter Survival Rifle. It was a 22 automatic that broke down for stowing.
The receiver and barrel stashed easily into the plastic stock... 22 caliber ammo was cheap and thirty five bucks had purchased him over 2,000 rounds of that. This was all stashed under the deck plates.
The other gun was a Springfield Armory XD subcompact 9mm. It held ten shots each in the two clips. It was hidden it in a stereo installed near the gangway from the cockpit to the salon. Quick acting catches on the case allowed fast access to the inside of the stereo.
The pistol and extra clip were in a black bag and velcro'ed to the inside cover of the stereo. Several wires came out of the bag as if it were some type of electronic component. It wouldn't fool an expert but it would fool most inspectors.
He got down of the floor and starting doing push-ups. He couldn't run any more, not that there was space on a small sail yacht, but exercise was very important. He did 50 push ups and then 100 sit ups. Curls with my two 20 pound barbels soon followed as well as other exercises. He did this as a normal daily routine.
He heard movement from the back. "I have a pot of coffee going here and some oatmeal if you are hungry. Sorry I don't have any fancy food here. This is what I normally eat when sailing," He said to her.
"I will be out in a minute," Dianne said. as she ducked around into the head.
He returned to his ruminating. After Cape Town he had sailed south for Australia. He passed south of the continent to avoid the Great Barrier Reef as much as possible. Melborne was on the east coast in the middle. To get there he had to go north or south around Australia and the northern route took him closer to the reef and was inmorer danger from typhoons. His only planned stop in Australia this time was in Melbourne.
Just inside Port Phillip Bay is Caravan (RV) Park. He had anchored there for a few hours while he talked to people on the VHF. After he had a better idea where to go he moved further in the bay and moored at a medium size yacht club and caught a cab into town. He spent several weeks in Melbourne, most of it out eating and hitting the club scene.
He ran into short bottle blond named Deborah while shopping for a new hat. He had lost my favorite one over the side due to a freak wind. He preferred a cloth style hat with a brim all the way around. The Aussie hats were nice, but had too much brim. They wouldn't stay on your head so he was looking for just the right thing.
Deborah was between jobs so he entertained her a little and she showed me the local sights. They even visited the Gold Coast which is an excellent beach town just south of Brisbane. He had originally planned to sail to Brisbane but the Great Barrier Reef was dangerous to sail around single handed and Brisbane was too much out of my way.
He wanted to head straight over to Auckland and save a lot of sailing time. So that's what he did. He went south and then up to Auckand after going around the reef. That's where he had met Dianne.
"Morning love," Dianne said as she kissed my cheek.
"Hungry or want some coffee?" He asked.
"Just coffee, Do you have cream?" She said.
"Just the fake powder stuff. I don't have a refrigerator so I only get perishable things when I eat ashore," He said as he set her cup and the fixings in front of her.
"Interesting idea, just bumming around the world the way you are," Dianne said as she sipped.
"I am just continuing my vagabond sailor ways I guess. This is better. I go where I want and leave when I want. The Navy was never like that" He said.
"Are you still planning on leaving this morning," she said.
"I plan too very soon. I took on supplies and took care of all the business I needed to here for the boat in the last few days," He said. He didn't mention pumping out the waste holding tank or scrubbing the bottom to her. People didn't need to know that a lot of what you did when sailing was either hard work, nasty or plain boring.
"Well, thanks for the fun and the coffee, I'll just be off, don't forget you said you would write," she said as she turned to leave.
"I have to paddle you in, remember? We are anchored out a few hundred feet from shore," He said.
"Some date this is! You didn't even escort me home," she said.
"Of course I did. This is MY home. It's you that doesn't want to stay," He said.
"I wish I could but I have family here and I don't have a passport. That could get sticky," she said as we got in the boat.
We chatted on the way in and she held my hand for a second when we parted. She watched me paddle out to my boat. He tied the kayak off at the stern and started my engine to leave. The anchor came up clean when the windlass pulled it so that was good.
He motored out from Manukau harbor. As soon as he turned north, he saw the wind was coming from the west so he raised the sails on a beam reach, the wind coming over my left shoulder. After consulting my chart he shut the engine off feeling it was safe enough at that point.
Edited by Dr. Stan