Rebel Yell by Jason Scott

Part III


I’d like to getcha, on a slow boat to China
. . .ASCAP


The head where it should be. . . the galley how you want it. . . open stowage, enclosed stowage. . . teak, carvings, green marble. You make all the choices. Exactly the boat YOU want. It’s the custom-built dream. The dream of any serious cruising sailor. Just think how right a boat you can own. How fine a boat you can own. Brilliant Oriental shipwrights plying their craft for only a few dollars a day over on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Sure, its far away from home in the good old U S. of A. Sure, its far away from those brilliant Yankee shipwrights. But, look at the savings. In addition, add the romance of sailing far away seas. Take delivery at the source. The builder himself will ready the yacht to your requirements. Then, sail away for home. . . either east or west. . . it doesn’t really matter. Home halfway around the globe. All that and no shipping charge. All it takes to make the deal is to sign on the dotted line.

Somewhere, there has to be a catch!


The sun was warm and lazy. Off came the shirt and I languished face downward with one arm crooked under my forehead. The place was the fantail of our new 41 foot ketch REBEL YELL. Just delivered from the factory.

I tried in vain to reason out just where we had been for the last few months, how we got into this wild predicament and, more pressing at the moment, how long was it going to be before we arrived at the place where we had started out for. . . if ever!

The yacht lay still as midnight even though a brisk 30 knot wind raised a fair chop and swell on the water and flipped whispy mares’ tails along the wave crests all across the bay. The situation was not in conflict with the laws of hydrodynamics. Rather, it had a lot to do with relative position!

There was no pitching or swaying as nominally happens when the wind and wave are up trying to work their way into an ever increasing frenzy. It seems that the REBEL and I had been keeping each other company for somewhat more than seven days while sitting, not in the water, but on a rickety cradle alongside a sour smelling road close to pier 32 in Keelung, Taiwan.

By this time, it was sans food, sans water, sans outside world communication and, more distressing, sans such pseudo-civilized amenities such as adequate toilet facilities. This, in itself, was distressing. Of all the problems which had come to a head (no pun intended), the latter was the one which really got to me! It was important to examine my point of view at this particular point in time.

One could consider the open trench running outside along the street as acceptable for some purposes. Casual observation revealed that there were some locals who apparently did consider it adequate when it came to relieving nature’s call and, by so answering, thereby added to the color and odor of lovely downtown Keelung-by-the-Sea.

There is a certain amount of pride involved in being the kind of person who can rise to any occasion. Particularly if it has implications of a challenge. That characteristic led to an attempt to use the local inside public facility. Just ONCE! A description of this well known type of oriental establishment is in order.

The natives used a disreputable looking enclosure which contained a row of devices resembling common urinals turned flat and planted into the cement floor. (For those not familiar with what a urinal looks like, consider them not unlike a bidet.) The devise was referred to quite simply as squat pot. The name is quite descriptive. My courage left me almost the minute I made it inside just far enough to be able to describe that which was intonated. The stench staggered and turned me around with just enough strength to race outside to the relatively livable aroma surrounding the docks of this (or any) oriental port city.

Three thousand years of civilisation and this was the best they could come up with! Even a Kiowa Indian such as I (not exactly raised in the lap of luxury) could not stand too much exposure to that kind of civilization!

My mood is comprehensible considering almost two weeks of care and handling by an oriental businessman which can only be characterized as gross.

Suspicions were coming forth that, in addition to the other more obvious shortcomings of the situation, for me, it was also sans wife and son to say nothing of my newly made friends. Obviously Mr. Fletcher, the philosopher, did not have much experience with the oriental mind when he spoke of changing a point of view! The big question was, had my friends The Fates finally deserted me after all we had been through together?

Part III, Contents

  1. Chapter One - Chinese Checkers, Taiwan Style
  2. The Gun
    Lessons in Oriental Philosophy
    Learning the Taiwan Tango
    Fun and Games in Hong Kong
    The Cost of Living the Good Life
    Things Are Cheap? In Hong Kong?
    Get Thee Behind Me, TB!

  3. Chapter Two - Living the Good Life in Taipei
  4. Haggling as a Way of Life
    Pearls from the Yacht Club Members
    The X-Rated Hair Cut

  5. Chapter Three - The Birth of a Yacht
  6. Chinese Yacht Voodoo or The Exorcism

  7. Chapter Four - The Baptism of Rebel Yell
  8. Welcome Aboard
    Friends and Helping Hands
    Mary Ellen
    Shopping the Black Market
    Pre-Launch Plotting
    Touched by the Long Arm of the Law
    Pre-Launch Hijinks
    The Launch, Taiwan Style
    First Time Underway
^^Rebel Yell
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