Aboard the good ship Tres Hombres, many fledgling sailors learn to walk the ship as she rolls, pitches
and flies over the water.
Learning to walk again takes time and is a great source of entertainment for both
the new sailors and the seasoned crew. Here I want to describe some of the different techniques available for getting from helm to galley or bunk to heads in a rolling sea.
– The Galloping Crab –
Begins by keeping a low centre of gravity with a wide sumo wrestler stance. Progress is made by
remaining firmly grounded when the ship rolls, then moving in a series of sideways gallops when the ship pauses.
– The Newborn Faun –
Like a baby deer taking its first steps. Instead of finding good places to plant their feet the strategy is to divide the journey into as many tiny steps as possible, occasionally freezing in place when balance wavers.
It is not uncommon for the Faun’s legs to become crossed. The best way to remedy this is to make a quick, two legged leap, uncross the legs, then continue.
– The Pinball –
The Pinball uses a series of controlled bounces and crashes to navigate the deck. Generally looking for the softest (or, more realistically, least painful) things to crash into whilst zig-zagging from waypoint to waypoint down the deck.
– The Orangutan –
This ape relies on its strong arms to pull itself along the deck. Through a series of handholds (preferably above head height), the Orangutan swings their way down the ship.
They usually see legs as an inconvenient drag on the rest of their body.
– The Chiropractor –
The Chiropractor keeps their legs perpendicular to the deck while using their spine to make all the
required adjustments to balance. This often requires bending at the waist to very uncomfortable angles in order to stay technically upright.
– The Pitstop (aka The Sitter) –
Similar to the Pinball, though instead of looking to bounce, the Pitstop looks to sit. The Sitter scuttles
rapidly from waypoint to waypoint and strategically collapses before the balance is lost.
– The Water Baby –
Only seen in heavy weather when there is a lot of water on deck. If a trainee is subjected to these
conditions early they often give up on attempting to remain upright at all. Once they are fully saturated they have accepted their fate and simply crawl and swim to their destination.
– The Salty Sailor –
A state only reached after a life at sea (or maybe a Tres Hombres round trip). The Salty Sailor has
obtained a sense of oneness with the sea. As they stroll casually down the deck their whole body stays perfectly upright against the horizon, while the ship merely moves around them.
To the newborn sailor, this looks almost miraculous like physics is somehow being cheated or ignored. Many sailors never reach this level, though all should aspire to.