Oct 302013

My neighbor, the one I bought the Flying Dog from, and who has all the toys and junk, finally got rid of the crappy beat up old racing sailboat that was docked between his houseboat and me.  I was extremely glad to see that scow go.  It was full of roaches, and the new owners were a couple of obnoxious assholes who didn’t care that there were people living around them who call this place home.

After the race boat finally left, my neighbor pulled in with a Pearson 27 foot sailboat, 1970’s vintage.  He bought it in New York on eBay, and dropped several thousand dollars into it, and to his credit, it’s a pretty decent looking boat.  Nice lines, fairly clean, and would make a great live aboard.  He has been spending the last few weeks taking care of this and that on the boat and even rented it out to a couple over Fantasy Fest weekend.  It was late on Saturday night, after the parade, as I was sitting in the Spirit taking stock of my bike wreck injuries, that I found out that the Pearson was not sound proof.  Apparently the couple was very religious and both were calling upon “God” rather loudly for more than a few minutes.   Not sure exactly what ritual they were performing but it was rather boisterous and judging from the movement of the boat, a bit on the physical side.  No matter, I was in too much pain to follow along.

Anyways, yesterday, I came home in the afternoon and was relaxing a bit between computer sessions when I noticed the neighbor and some young blond girl were stirring around on the dock and on the Pearson.  Seems that the neighbor had convinced the blond to go sailing with him and they were intent on going out, despite 20 knot winds and a small craft advisory that was in effect.  Well, the Pearson in that size could probably handle the winds, and seeing as how the direction was from the north east, they would be in relatively calmer waters on the south side of the island.  Knowing my neighbor as well as I do now, I have no doubts his intent was not so much on sailing as on the blond.

Everything seemed fine as they got ready to sail until said neighbor got the brilliant idea to go ahead and raise the sails before leaving the dock.  They got both sails up, and sure enough, as the winds howled, there were lines, booms, and sails flapping all over the place, and of course, my boat is directly downwind from all this.  As the lines got more entangled, he started up the engine and while the blond, who looked to have absolutely no sailing experience, pretty much stood around doing nothing.  They unleashed the dock lines, threw the motor into gear, and the boat promptly made a sharp left hand turn for the bow of the Spirit.  By then I am out on the dock yelling at the blond to grab a line.  I specified the blue line and I am not too sure she knew red from blue.  The Pearson slowed down enough, and the neighbor had enough sense to throw the motor into reverse to keep a collision from happening, and we got the boat back into the slip.  He then threw it into forward again and managed somehow to get out into the canal and off to the channel and the cold, black, unforgiving sea.

My other neighbor, who was watching the whole affair, turned on his radio to listen for the sure to come distress signal.  About an hour and a half later back they came, under tow.  Seems the sailing went ok until they ran aground.  They managed to get ungrounded and when they came back into the channel dropped the sails and started the motor.  Except for one minor detail.  Said motor would not start.  So they called up another dock resident who had to come out with his skiff and tow them back to the dock.  They did manage to get the Pearson back into the dock with out too much damage.  There were lines and sails all over the place yet again.  And as I am writing this, they are cleaning up the mess.

One.  It was questionable to even go out in this strong of winds.

B. You don’t raise your sails at the dock in 20 knot winds unless you really know what the hell you are doing.  He didn’t.

3.  There is a lot of difference between running a motor boat, and running a boat under sail.  I do not profess to have any more knowledge than he does, but I do know enough when not to go out due to the weather.  And while I have seen more better sailors easily move a sailboat in and out of dock without a motor, I am not that good.

I thought, mistakenly, that having a small 23′ boat in a 30′ dock with 20 ‘ of concrete pier between me and the other boat would offer some protection.  Given that the slips are only 14’ wide, you can imagine how sharp of a turn he had to have made to actually, almost hit my boat.  I have no doubts that the blond running around in a bikini was foremost on his mind, more so than getting the boat safely underway.

Well, for now all is well.  They are back on their side of the dock, and I should be safe until the next time.

Capt. Fritter

P.S.  Turns out the motor wouldn’t start because he had forgotten to turn the key on.

  3 Responses to “Living Aboard: A Near Miss…”

  1. What, no pics of the bikini girl? hahaha.

    And the PS is the killer. I would be cracking up but I know it is true. I grew up boating on the Chesapeake with my dad. People like your neighbor have more money than brains, and apparently outnumber us all several times over.

    • I would have taken her picture but the child pornography laws are pretty strict in these parts.
      The guy always has young pretty things acting as first mates on his boat, despite having a live in girlfriend who from what I understand, controls the purse strings. I envision him as the type who cruises the playgrounds in a fancy car with a six pack, luring young girls into his lair. Really kinda creepy.
      C. F.

  2. I’m not usually dumb but distraction can make you do dumb things. It was the end of a long day and I was sitting in my rig in a campground talking to a neighbor. When it came time to move on I couldn’t shift into gear. Took me a second’s panic before I realized I had turned off the engine while talking.