I worked on the Romance for 2 months in June and July (approximately) in 1982. I had just graduated from college. Mrs. Kimberly responded to a letter I sent that spring looking for a crew position. I believe she called my while visiting relatives in Detroit, which also happened to be my home town.
I joined the ship in Tortola. Don Lindsay was the mate. A college student named Rob was already on board. I don't recall his last name. I believe Rob was from Kalamazoo College; I am sure it was a Michigan school. We were later joined by Clayton Overton, who was from Ole Miss (I think). We had a 5th crew member, also a college student, but I can't recall his name. He was assigned to be our engineer.
For about 5 of the 8 weeks I was with the Romance we were in Road Town getting the ship ready for charters. We did sail to San Juan to haul the ship out in dry dock. After the shipyard crew did their work for the day, the Romance crew took over and continued with scraping and caulking into the night. Mr. Kimberly wanted a 2-week job finished in a week.
I think that the first actual sailing I did on the ship was for the Danish film crew that was working on a documentary on Jost Van Dyke. We changed into ragged clothing and tried to look the part. As I remember, Rob was filmed as Van Dyke.
I sailed on only two week-long charters. I think Rob had left before the charters started, or maybe he was there for one of them. At any rate, we seemed pretty short-handed, especially since only Don had much experience on the ship. We all felt like we were under a lot of pressure.
By the time the charters were over, I had decided to head home. In retrospect, I wish I had stayed longer, but it was not really working out the way I had hoped.
Some of my memories of the ship are: washing down the decks twice a day; losing the bucket over board on the way into San Juan harbor; and the Skipper replacing the bucket with a bigger one. We were not happy that washing down the decks got even harder.
No fresh water to rinse the dishes in the galley. Watching the tourists realize that there was a slight taste of soap in Mrs. K's otherwise fine cooking. Also, no napkins for the tourists.
Seeing the young British seaman fueling their ship on the way to the Falklands, and knowing that they had it a lot harder than we did.
Pounding the bunks in the galley to get rid of the roaches, and knowing that they did not go far.
Watching the exterminator in San Juan, thinking that he had been exposed to a bit too much pesticide.
Wrestling with hawsers and sheets in the rope locker, thinking that there is no better example of dead weight than a wet rope.
Being sent to the royal yard while underway to take care of a loose gasket, and being amazed at how much movement there was at the top of the mast.
Searching out showers in the marinas in Road Town, hoping we would not get caught. Trying to pick out the anchor light of the ship on the way back in the dinghy.
Wishing I were a bit taller so that the capstan bars did not threaten to wrench my arms out of my shoulders on the upswing. Frantically trying to unfoul the anchor chain when it got wrapped up on itself on the drum.
Never really being sure how you were supposed to furl those staysails.
Feeling good not to use the lubber's hole on the way the yards. (And no safety harnesses!)
Being thrilled to take the wheel under full sail on the way to San Juan, feeling the power in those sails.
Silver Spring, MD
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