Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is That Jaime?

Endless Coolness
Endless Coolness
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
My little girl is not so little any more. Of course, everyone told me this, but I chose to ignore them. Just because she's beautiful, mature, and a snappy dresser, you think she's a big girl? No way. Just because she turned 13 and insists on being called a teenager? Just because she finally started taking school seriously and is blasting through her seventh grade materials at double speed in an effort to catch up the lost time for the “rogue years.” Do these things add up to a grown up young lady?

Just say NO. No no no!

But um... now I'm going to have to admit that Jaime might be growing up in spite of my state of motherly denial. Captain Uncle Glenn of s/v Beach Access, our buddy boat and fellow Lagoon 380, invited Jaime to crew on the Baja Bash. This is a big deal. The Baja Bash is a hard sail during the best of times. Doing it in mid-June compounds the difficulty with steady northwest winds on the nose and generally mixed, unpleasant seas. Doing it on a fairly tight schedule because Glenn needs to get back to the States to work increases the order of difficulty yet more. And Jaime was not only willing, she was eager to volunteer.

Jaime may or may not grow up to be a merchant marine captain. However, right now she seems quite serious about her desire to grow up and get a captain's license. In mid-June, she packed up a small duffel bag of clothes, her iPod, her Algebra book, and her HAM radio license work book. I'm probably the only one that cried a bit as she climbed on the bus with her father, headed for La Paz and Beach Access. Maybe she sniffled. Maybe it was hay fever. It was hard watching her go.

For two weeks, we received daily reports of their progress. They left La Paz in a bit of a tearing fit hurry in advance of Tropical Cyclone Andres. Their first days were a whirlwind of steady, speedy progress, down the tip of Baja and around to Cabo. At Cabo, they got a nasty taste of the Pacific in the form of four miserable attempts to round Cabo Falso. It was hard waiting for the periodic messages sent via SSB SailMail. At first optimistic, Glenn's messages described a steady series of challenges and set backs. Then after finally rounding the cape, they faced nasty winds for the entire 700 nautical mile trip north.

Jaime's first experience of the Bash was everything that we hear that is horrid about taking your boat north up the outside of the Baja peninsula. The wind was nearly always in their face, the seas were nearly always the consistency of a washing machine, the temperatures were cold and the progress slow, draining and almost entirely motor or motor sailing. They didn't get to stop when they wanted to do so, then they had to stop when they didn't want to, they nearly collapsed on getting to Turtle Bay and again on arriving in Ensenada.

I am sure my daughter wasn't perfect; I have yet to hear many of the details. Yet, Glenn's reports give me reason to hope that my girl acquitted herself well on the journey. She clearly was taking watches, helping with sail trim, and trying to contribute where she could. I was particularly proud when I heard that her first impulse on finally arriving in Ensenada was to invite the captain and other crew member out for a nice steak dinner. Such class and manners were not something we told her to do, nor did we provide the money. Jaime rose to the occasion entirely without our guidance or support. She just did it.

Driver's Ed
Driver's Ed
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
I try not to tell everyone about this... or not too many times. I try to contain myself. With as much fighting and animosity as we share, it hardly seems fair for me to take credit for Jaime doing something so damn awesome. Someone else – mostly likely Jaime herself – should get all the kudos and accolades for her fairing so well, so young, and so capably. Her courage, her smarts, her willingness to work, her ability to generate sufficient trust in Glenn that he would take her.

But I can't help it. MY daughter is all that and a bag of chips. MY daughter just completed an offshore passage that would daunt many seasoned cruisers. MY wonderful, capable young woman made good choices, impressed the hell out of everyone, and did a favor for a good friend.

MY daughter is Jaime.


Stephen Spencer said...

She learned from you, Toast, and from Dean, and her sisters, and is mature enough to know how and when to rise to the occasion.

You're obviously very proud of her, and rightfully so. She did good... and so did you.


Singing Land Cruiser said...

Good Day my dear Toast, Christi and I have 2 Kudos that we have saved for a special occasions. Now that would be 1 for Jaime and 1 for you. Both well earned. All the Best, M&C

Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

Yeah - I am proud of her too!
And still proud that I completed the bash just ahead of them. And I am old...
Miss ya! :)

Anonymous said...

I think this post is worthy of publication. You should write a cover letter and send it to Bill Springer at Cruising World.

I would first round it out a bit so that the context is clear to those who don't read your blog and who aren't familiar with West Coast cruising, but the elements of family cruising, parental pride, first passages, and coming of age are all appealing.

Great Toast Post!

Precious Metal said...

Toast and Dean;
You've taught your children (and now teenager!) that they can accomplish anything they set out to do...I'm confident that they will continue to amaze you as their lives unfold. What fun!
I'm looking forward to following your posts, and hope to see you all again.
S/V Precious Metal

Danielle French said...

Hola Toast;

I had the pleasure of sailing with Jamie on Beach Access. I would like to express how impressed I was with her, she handled herself in a very mature manner (yes, there were moments when the child did show up), but she was a trooper!

I just wanted to let you and Dean know how proud you should be of your young lady.

I miss her, and her sisters very much, hugs and kisses to all. Thanks for sharing you daughter with me.