Boy, 4, completes deckhand duties aboard Scarlette
Nov. 23, 2008 -- SOUTH CHINA SEA -- Kou Johnston completed his first trip as a deckhand aboard Scarlette -- a 23-year-old J/24 sailboat -- just 13 days after his fourth birthday off the coast of Okinawa in the South China Sea.
Capt. J and Kou's older brother -- Kai -- also crewed aboard the 24-foot, sloop-rigged racer/cruiser built by Nissan in 1985 under license with J/boats.
"I tethered both the boys to Scarlette to help avoid a man-overboard situation," said Capt. J. "Kou didn't get sick and he seemed to like standing back by the rudder when I was at the helm."
"It was fun," said Kou. "I want to go again."
"That's music to my ears," mused Capt. J. "One of the reasons why I bought Scarlette was to do something with the boys that we could all do and maybe teach them a skill, too."
Kou seemed at ease aboard the sailboat as he cruised the coast of Okinawa's Chatan Town home to Mihama's American Village. The restrictions of a tether took Kou a little getting used to. Kai also helped Kou get out of his harness to use the "facilities" aboard Scarlette. "That kind of teamwork, is what I'm trying to inspire in the boys," said Capt. J.
After landfall, both boys seemed more interested in the tropical fish dockside than helping to breakdown the boat. "That's a skill we'll be working on in the future, too." said Capt. J.