“No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail;” said Doctor Johnson, “for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.” Not being content with that, he added, “A man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company.”

Far be it from me to joust with the good Dr. J. The man has a point. In fact recent events have led me to the opinion that being in a ship is more like being in hell, but with the disadvantage of not being dead. Imagine the scenario, two groups of strangers—the first a pair of Guys Gone Wild ruffians running on testosterone and single malt, the other a domesticated pair of stay-at-homes from the suburbs of Tennessee. Somehow they were on my boat and I had to keep the peace or else sweep up the pieces.

Reader, I failed. They were too much for me. If it had been just one of these groups alone all might have been well. I could have endured a week of high-fiving and chest thumping and late mornings with no trouble. Just as easily I could have joined in on a Scrabble tournament and looked at pictures of the prettiest cats in Tennessee. But to attempt to adjudicate between these competing interests was not a subject covered at the Salubrious Sailoring School, which I had the good fortune to attend in my youth. There we were told all shipmates, crew and guests, would be of the highest calibre, sophisticated and considerate and early to bed (and late to rise).


It's not as if I didn't try—I begged, threatened, cajoled and made silly jokes but nothing could contain the determination of my fun-loving criminals to leave their mark on the BVI. They were out until 5 am every day but up again at 8, fresh as damned daisies while I lay groaning in my bunk. One man read aloud from his Blackberry, “Dude she says you're totally hot.” The other thought for a minute, “Tell her she's smoking hot herself, Dude.” “No wait a minute, tell her she's kidnap hot, Dude. Kidnap hot!” “Hey Skip, where we going tonight?”

“Well, I'm not sure. The other folks would like to anchor in a quiet cove for the night and look at the stars.”
“Dude, that ain't gonna happen. Let's go to Foxy's.”
And so on.

When it came time to say goodbye, I found the couple from the boondocks huddled in their cabin bug-eyed and twitching. “That must have been a rough week for you, Captain,” he said, “because it was a nightmare for us.”

He didn't have any cash left but he promised to send a check when he got home.
The other guys, well they called around and booked a bareboat. I saw them that afternoon motoring out of Road Harbour. They waved over at my boat and one gave me the thumbs up. “Awesome, Dude. Awesome!” The other was busy texting.