We were in Tarpaulin cove on a fall work weekend, and Alfie Fuller and I were over the side in the long boat putting the finishing touches on a full hull repaint in that nice Pettit Gloss Black. Of course we were the two most geeky guys aboard, but that word hadn't been coined yet.
Well, it was dusk, the light was fading and everybody but us was below eating. The long boat had just been totally repainted the week before and this was its first outing with its brand new pristine white gloss paint job. Geeks that we were (do I have to say it?) somehow, and I'm sure it was all Alfie's fault, the whole freaking gallon of Pettit gloss black went ass over teacup and into the long boat's bilge. About 10 gallons of sea water down there too to help slosh it along around. Alfie and I just stood there, stunned like deer in the headlights, like two stupid freakin deer in the headlights. We were definitely worried as Cap. Glaeser could exhibit a certain lack of any sense of humor from time to time.
It was about time for somebody to come up and check on us any minute. We both looked at each other and in one motion without a word spoken, we looked out across Buzzards Bay toward Sippican harbor, 7 nautical miles away . We both thought exactly the same thing....could we possibly swim?
The Exec came up and with a look of horror I've never seen since peered down into the dusk and took in what miraculous and mysterious works we hath wrought unto the long boat. He quietly got the Boson on deck and we all started slurping up the mess in the bilges, old shirts, rags, somebody's jeans, some nasty old underwear (who knows where a Boson gets that stuff). a few gallons of terps, and we all madly started cleaning. You see, Cap wouldn't really discriminate who exactly did the deed, we were all going to hang for this one. Then Cap's booming voice came up from below: He didn't even have to come up on deck, the missing crew and the unnatural silence from on deck was a dead give away: "Who the hell left Bro and Alfie alone in the long boat with a can of paint?" ... he let out what must have been the definitive "WHAT A PERFORMANCE!" of all Tabor Boy history.
Alfie and I ate late that night, very late. But we were so happy that we still had all the family jewels intact that we didn't mind.
In the morning, we both came up on deck to a beautiful chilly fall morning, clear as a bell, and we looked out across to cove to the other smaller boats anchored there for the night. Especially a really lovely while hulled Choy Lee anchored just to our stern. It had a really interesting new black but kind of uneven waterline stripe.
If your out there Alfie, I still think we coulda swum it.