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-   -   Don't bring banana-flavoured oatmeal aboard... (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/44798-dont-bring-banana-flavoured-oatmeal-aboard.html)

flyingwelshman 07-08-2008 12:43 PM

Don't bring banana-flavoured oatmeal aboard...
 
Some of you may recall a list that I posted a while ago.

It is my first season launching my new/older boat by myself. The list was of things that needed to be done prior to, or shortly after launching.

Much of the below-the-water stuff has been done - including soda-blasting; new anti-fouling; hull repairs; replacing transducer and depth-sounder; etc.

The list, however is not getting any shorter. For everything that is accomplished I am finding two or three other things that need doing.

It seemed to take forever to get the hull done to get the boat in the water. This was finally done about two weeks ago. I then set about to step the mast. I had replaced the mast-head light with a combination tri-colour and all-around white light. I replaced the wiring in the mast as well as my main halyard. I put on new spreader boots and tidied up my flag halyard blocks. And the thing I was most looking forward to was I replaced the old wind vane that didn't spin as it was bent.

A couple of friends and I took over the crane at the marina and b.s.'d our way into stepping the mast. In retrospect I guess I really should have secured all of the dangling shrouds and stays... I'm sure we looked like a real bunch of winners to the old salts at the marina!

Anyhow, the mast went up; the foot was secured and all of the turn buckles tuned up. I motored over to my slip.

A few days later I looked up to admire my handy-work, and to make sure that my shiny, new wind vane was alligned with the others along the dock. It wasn't! It had got bent by the crane or something when I winched up the mast. Oh well. I guess I can keep relying on my shroud tell-tails until I take the mast down again.

The sails went up pretty easily - except the outhaul snapped when I was tensioning the sail. When I went to replace the outhaul I noticed that the block was in pretty rough shape so I replaced that as well.

After that the sails went up without a hitch.

So now, almost 2-weeks after getting wet we decided to go for a 3-day cruise.

The plan was to sail out to Hope Island and spend a day or two in the nice bay on the South-east side. There is a sandy bottom at about 8 - 10 feet and a long, curving white sand beach along the island. Last year when we were there the water was crystal-clear.

So off we set. The wind was perfect. I was able to go on a broad reach all the way up past the Outer Harbour at Penetanguishene, going at a constant 6.4 knots (that's about my top speed). Because it was mid-week, and because of the high gas prices, we pretty much had the Bay to ourselves.

We got to Hope after a few tacks under Giant's Tomb and saw that the bay was pretty choppy because the wind was coming in from the South East - straight into it. The wind was supposed to decline and shift to the North by the evening. We decided to sail over to the bay on the North side of Beckwith to wait for the wind to shift.

We got into Beckwith and planted the hook. We were alone in a bay that is wall-to-wall with stinkpots on any weekend.

We got lulled by the calmness of our anchorage and ended up hitting the sack where we were.

At about 5 am I woke up with the boat rocking quite heavily end-to-end.

I crawled out of my bunk and found my wife sitting in the salon looking tired. She said the wind had picked up at about 1 am and was now coming in from the North.

I suggested that we haul up the anchor and head over to our original destination which should now be calmer. She was up for that.

Getting the anchor up was a real chore as the waves were coming at us at over a metre. The wind was howling straight at us. I was hoping that my little 9.9 hp would have the guts to push us into the wind once the anchor was up and that the wind wouldn't drive us onto the rocks which looked really close to our port side.

After much heaving and timing my pulls with the rise and fall of the bow, I got the anchor up and stowed and my little Honda gave us a little headway into the howling wind.

We got out beyond the risk of hitting rocks. The waves were coming in at over 2 meters with some monsters getting closer to 3. Sharon is convinced that as we rode up the front of a couple of the big ones the boat was almost vertical. The challenge now was to turn through the waves and head down-wind to the shelter of Hope Island. The way the weather was going would put the the waves coming over our beam for most of the trip down between Beckwith and Hope Islands.

After some rolling and pitching (and probably a lot of yawing) we made the bay at Hope Island and, as expected, it was calm.

We dropped the hook in 8 feet and I put on a pot of coffee.

What does any of this have to do with banana-flavoured oatmeal?

Well, once things calmed down a bit and we'd had a bit of a nap, Sharon told me that the head wasn't drawing in any water for flushing. I had tried to get the weather off the VHF but couldn't get any signal.

Neither of these were a big deal, but they were both nuisances.

I was able to get a local FM station that had marine forecasts and we could haul in buckets of water to flush the head.

Sharon offered me breakfast which I gratefully accepted.

A few minutes later she placed a bowl of steaming banana-flavoured oatmeal in front of me. Banana! Doesn't she know not to bring bananas aboard?

I thought about all of the little things that had not gone as planned, all of the little mechanical failures, and realized that they were all because of the banana-flavoured oatmeal.

Epilogue: Once we returned to the marina I removed all traces of the offending cereal from the boat. I checked the head. It worked perfectly...

The VHF still doesn't work properly. I think I must have disconnected the plug at the mast-head when I stepped the mast.

At least now I have a reason to send someone aloft to check the connection, and, while they are there, fix my damned wind vane.

Does anyone have a spare bosun's chair?

CharlieCobra 07-08-2008 01:07 PM

Sounds like a bit of adventure. Banana oatmeal? YUCK!

primerate84 07-08-2008 01:10 PM

Banana oatmeal...one more thing to check before leaving the slip!

sailingdog 07-08-2008 02:24 PM

LOL... You need a better pre-departure checklist.

RestlessWind 07-08-2008 03:20 PM

OK, as a complete newbie I'll bite.... What is the deal with not bringing bananas onboard? I have heard vague references to this before, but no rationale. Is it some obscure superstition, or something more?:confused:

sailingdog 07-08-2008 03:30 PM

This is a pretty good explanation of how it arose. From this website.
Quote:

There are many stories why bananas have been thought of as bad luck on boats. This is only one of the nautical superstitions that I know of and is particularly prevalent amongst watermen. Many stories have banana oil rubbing off on ones hands and “spooking" the fish; therefore the fish don't bite. There is always the story of a crew member slipping on the banana peel left on the deck. Some say that bananas give you the runs so you are always in the marine head and can't catch fish because you are busy "draining the pipes". Many other stories are told about bad luck and bananas, however the one that I find most plausible is a historical one.

Back in the days of the transatlantic crossings by wooden sailing ships many hazards would befall the captains, crew and passengers. Disease, pirates, shipwrecks, storms, etc., claimed the lives of a good percentage of the captains, crew and passengers attempting the dangerous voyage. Needless to say, a transatlantic crossing in the 17th and 18th centuries was a very risky endeavor. Often the vessels would stop along the way in tropical islands to gather provisions such as food and water. There the passengers and crew would often purchase wooden crates of bananas from the locals and bring them aboard the ship. These crates would have all manner of critters in them such as bugs, spiders, vermin and snakes.

These critters would make their way into the bilges of the ships, multiply, and then find their way into the captain's quarters. The captains circulated the rumor that bananas were bad luck in an attempt to keep the critters off the ship and out of their cabin. The crew and passengers were more than eager to follow suit because of the inherent risk of the crossing. So, if the captain announced prior to the voyage that bananas were bad luck and not allowed aboard the vessel, everyone complied. You must remember that these were the days of burning witches and the like, so superstitions were taken very seriously.

Watermen are a mysterious lot. While we are known for our simple pragmatism, we also have many odd quirks. Superstitions have been prevalent on almost every vessel I have worked on. I feel that this is due to the nature of a waterman in that he sees the randomness of the world around him juxtaposed with the rhythmic, seasonal flows of nature and then tries to reconcile these observations into some sort of personal and/or environmental order. As Stevie Wonder (a blind man) pointed out so eloquently: "When you believe in things you can't
understand, that's superstition".
BTW, Banana spiders are large and rather venomous.

http://www.badspiderbites.com/images/banana-spider.jpg

Their venom is neurotoxic and may be one of the most toxic of spider venoms. The Funnel web spiders of Oz are probably a bit worse, but not much.

RestlessWind 07-08-2008 03:37 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Sailingdog. I recall one of my first pets was a tarantula that I rescued from a bunch of bananas at a grocery store where I worked as a very young man. thought that might be the case, and definitely something to keep in mind when replenishing stores, especially in a foreign port. Thanks for the link also.

Omatako 07-09-2008 02:21 AM

And when the laughing stopped the real reason emerged . . . . . .

The real reason why bananas are not carried on ships is that they exude a gas while ripenening that accelerates the ripening of other fruit and vegetables and if stored with your other perishables will substantially shorten their shelf life.

Many cruisers, myself included, have carried a bunch of bananas hung off the stern to ripen away from any other supplies and have never had any issues with the superstition surrounding them. In fact, it was only recently that I heard that this fundemental physical attribute was construed as a superstition. They're a superb food source.

Then again, while being superstitious isn't a requirement for safe sailing, it doesn't do any harm:)

Andre

Andre

flyingwelshman 07-09-2008 04:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omatako (Post 338907)
And when the laughing stopped the real reason emerged . . . . . .

The real reason why bananas are not carried on ships is that they exude a gas while ripenening that accelerates the ripening of other fruit and vegetables and if stored with your other perishables will substantially shorten their shelf life.

Many cruisers, myself included, have carried a bunch of bananas hung off the stern to ripen away from any other supplies and have never had any issues with the superstition surrounding them. In fact, it was only recently that I heard that this fundemental physical attribute was construed as a superstition. They're a superb food source.

Then again, while being superstitious isn't a requirement for safe sailing, it doesn't do any harm:)

Andre

Andre

The gas (ethylene - C2H4) is produced in higher quantities by other fruit such as apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots etc.

Bananas produce only moderate amounts of the gas compared with the other fruit that produce high or very high amounts of the gas.

The bananas themselves have a high sensitivity to the gas so they would be more likely to over-ripen if stored with the other fruit than the other way round.

I still like the spider theory best.;)

sailingdog 07-09-2008 06:18 AM

believe welshman is correct regarding apples being far worse. btw, i've seen banana spiders when unpacking/opening crates of bananas. not exactly anything i'd want on my boat.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Omatako (Post 338907)
And when the laughing stopped the real reason emerged . . . . . .

The real reason why bananas are not carried on ships is that they exude a gas while ripenening that accelerates the ripening of other fruit and vegetables and if stored with your other perishables will substantially shorten their shelf life.

Many cruisers, myself included, have carried a bunch of bananas hung off the stern to ripen away from any other supplies and have never had any issues with the superstition surrounding them. In fact, it was only recently that I heard that this fundemental physical attribute was construed as a superstition. They're a superb food source.

Then again, while being superstitious isn't a requirement for safe sailing, it doesn't do any harm:)

Andre

Andre



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