They're called the "Pants of Power." It may seem like an honor to receive, but when you accept to wear the pants of power, you are accepting some major responsibility.
Rule #1: Someone on watch must be in the pants of power at all times. If we happen to have a man overboard, the individual wearing the pants of power is then attached to a halyard and sent overboard to retrieve the casualty. You will get wet, we've all had the pleasure in training.
Rule #2: If your feet are coming off the deck, you are wearing the pants of power. Any time that it is required to be hoisted up the mast or do any work off the deck, such as the bowsprit, you land yourself in the pants of power. Usually this is on a voluntary basis, although Skipper has been electing people as of late to give our bosun's, Maaike a.k.a. Scary Splice, pants-of-power bruises a chance to heal.
Rule #3: Always use the heads before putting on the pants of power. The pants of power are a strappy constricting mess around the crotch and legs, minus any kinky fun. So it is always best to use the toilet before suiting up, because they are not coming off until you are off watch and gratefully handing over the responsibility.
Today we had Jo in the pants of power for two off deck experiences. First, we sent him up the mast with a spare spinnaker halyard. While Jo was wearing the power pants, I was in the position of power as his lifeline -- tailing his hoisting halyard on a winch below.
All was going well going up, but going down there was a hold up. "HOLD HOLD HOLD!!!!" Jo screamed from the mast, ensuring we would hear from over 90 feet below on deck. So I held, and didn't start easing him down again until I got confirmation that all was good to go. I later found out when he was back on deck that he had the spinnaker line not only wrapped around his legs, but his neck at one point. Had I slipped and let his halyard line go, it could have been fatal. I'm glad I wasn't aware that I was in that serious of a power position until he was already safely on deck.
The next watch Jo was selected to put on the pants again, this time to do work on the bowsprit. Luckily, that all went very smoothly, although it was a much longer process.|
"Having the tack line running between your legs for 20 minutes is never a good time." - Jo, on his return inboard from the bowsprit.
Wearing the Pants of Power is no easy task, but that's probably why we give it an astute name... just to make you feel a little bit better about yourself.
Meg Reilly, Media Crew Manager