Monday, May 02, 2005

Learning the Ropes

The first order of business after getting some sleep was learning the ropes, figuratively and literally. A square rigger needs miles of ropes to operate. As students we were required to learn what every rope did. They had us go on deck and assigned us to stations. I was stationed by the wet lab on the starboard side of the fore mast. My introduction to the rigging was a bit embarrassing. The first mate told me to take a rope and to pull on it when he gave the word. I had the rope off the belaying pin and I was ready. When he gave the word I pulled as hard as I could, nothing happened. I kept pulling on the rope and the damn thing would not move. I literally hung from the rope and it refused to budge. A few seconds later the first mate comes by and looks at me like I am an idiot. I explain to him that the rope is stuck. He gives me a second withering look and tells me to move aside. He grabbed the rope with one hand and tugged on it and the rope just fed right trough for him. When we were done my hands were raw. Handling the manila rope used on Regina’s rigging was like rubbing sandpaper over your hands.

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