For, after all, except that Steve had had a brief week or so on the boat the preceding Summer and that Joe had taken two days of instruction in gasoline engine operation, not a member of the crew knew much of the work ahead. Still, George Hanford had operated a twelve-foot motor dingey at one time, Phil Street had sailed a knockabout and all had an average amount of common-sense, and it seemed that, with luck, they might somehow manage to escape death by drowning! Mr. Chapman surely must have had a good deal of faith in Steve and his companions or he would never have consented to their operating the cruiser without the aid of a seasoned navigator. As for the boys themselves, they anticipated many difficulties and some hazards, but, with the confidence of youth, they expected to “muddle through,” and, as Neil said, what they didn’t know now they soon would.
At exactly seven minutes past eleven by the ship’s clock the Adventurer gave a prolonged screech and, moorings cast off, edged her way out of the basin and dipped her nose in the laughing waters of the bay, embarked at last on a voyage that was destined to fully vindicate her new name.
THE FOLLOW ME
Two days before they had decided that Steve was to be captain, Joe, chief engineer, Phil, first mate, Perry, second mate, Ossie, steward, Neil, cabin boy and Han, crew. Neil and Han had naturally rebelled at being left without office or title and the omission had been laughingly remedied to their entire satisfaction. In fact, Han was quite stuck up over his official position, pointing out that it might be possible for a boat to get along without a captain or mate or even a steward, but that a crew was absolutely essential. He declared his intention of purchasing a yachting cap at the first port of call and having the inscription “Crew” worked on it in gold bullion.
When the Adventurer left her berth each member of the boat’s company was at his post, or, at least, at what he surmised to be his post. Steve, of course, was at the control, Joe, with the hatches up, was watching his engine approvingly, Phil, boat-hook in hand, was on the forward deck, Perry hovered around Steve, begging to be allowed to blow the whistle, Ossie and Neil watched from opposite sides of the bridge deck and Han, in the role of crew, hitched his trousers at intervals, touched his cap when anyone so much as looked at him and said “Ay, ay, sir!” at the slightest provocation. And with all hands on duty the cruiser pointed her white bow towards The Narrows.