Single By Choice -October 18, 2001
The guy anchored next to us in front of the Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association urinates off the stern of his boat. Eileen won't let me do this, at least not unless it's a moonless night and we're anchored by ourselves in the middle of nowhere. The anchorage in front of TTSA is crammed with cruising boats and the flood lights on shore illuminate it like Yankee Stadium during a night game. No way I'm going up on deck to relieve myself.
Our neighbour lives by himself on his boat. Eileen is convinced there's a link between single-handing and public peeing. I personally think it must be kind of nice to be able to pee on a whim, but I don't mention this to Eileen. Urinating with freedom and abandon is a boy thing.
In a cruising community dominated by couples, single people are something of an anomaly. Sometimes it's obvious why they're by themselves. But most of the single-handers we've met profess a yearning for company. Eileen has a song titled "Anchor Him Down" which describes the push-pull emotions of a solo sailor who falls in love, but can't bring himself to settle down. Some day, this might apply to a friend we met in Bequia last spring. Tim was single then and, seeing him again in Trinidad, he's single now.
Tim took early retirement while still in good health. He has a well-equipped Island Packet 38. He's in excellent shape, articulate and has a fine sense of humour. He doesn't pee off the stern of his boat.
Tim quite openly admits he's looking for the woman of his dreams somewhere down here in tropical paradise. Eileen thinks he would be a good catch. I think that regardless of his attractive qualities, he's got some unfortunate demographics to deal with. Most single people on cruising boats are male. We've met a few woman single-handers in the seven years we've been cruising and wherever they go there seems to be a swarm of single-handing men in close proximity, sort of like a bee colony on the move. And we all know what happens to drone bees when winter comes.
Take for example Cheri, whom we first met in the Chesapeake. She owned her own little sloop. It wasn't big or fancy, but she kept it in excellent shape and she was a good sailor. We spent a chunk of time in Annapolis with her and her first mate, Frank. I liked Frank. He was generous, funny and told great stories. Six months later, we bumped into Cheri in Nassau. I was surprised to discover her first mate was now a fellow named John. He seemed okay, but I had liked Frank a lot. When I was momentarily alone with Cheri, I asked her discreetly what had become of Frank. She mumbled something about Frank being a little short on cash and things not working out quite as planned, and I quickly dropped the subject. The next time we met Cheri, it was in Fort Lauderdale and two years had passed. She had a day job and was trying to replenish the cruising kitty - a tough thing to do when you're paying dockage in the midst of one of America's priciest expanses of watery real estate. "How's John?" I asked. "John who?" she replied.
A couple of days ago, Tim told us he was heading west to Venezuela - by himself. Now it's a well known fact that Venezuelan "chicas" are among the most attractive women in the world. No other country boasts as many victories at the Miss Universe pageant. I advised Tim to start taking Spanish lessons.