Friday, May 3, 2013

The Work-Around

I remember it so well.  When I was a kid we had a 19-foot centerboarder, an O'day Mariner named Waltzing Matilda.  After my parents would go through all the rigmarole that is involved in organizing a family day of recreation, and we were finally out on the boat with the sails raised, my dad would ask my sister and me if we felt like steering.

We'd both say "no" - holding the tiller meant suffering the spotlight of parental attention, and we both were happy to beg off.  So my dad would keep steering, and I imagine part of him wondered why we were out there if he was the only one to be sailing.

Fast forward about 36 years or so.  You might remember that Elias has started driving our dinghy.  And he's gotten pretty good at it - but lately when I've asked if he wanted to drive, he's just said, "no, thanks".

I suspect the same dynamic - if he drives, he has to listen to me badgering him to go straight, make little corrections, pick out a point on shore and aim for it, etc., etc.  Who wouldn't rather just be a passenger?

But I'm determined that he should be able to drive a boat as well as...well, as well as a kid who has spent 6/7 of his life living on sailboats.  So a work-around occurred to me.  Elias loves to think that he's helping out, though there are still precious few jobs on the boat that he can do.  And he LOVES to earn money for doing a job.  So I told him that it would be a big help if he could start driving the dinghy for me, and would five cents a trip (one way) be acceptable pay for him?

So far, it's worked.  He drives (quite well), and I try not to badger him too much while he does it.


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