Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boat Woes

Here's what happened:

I moved the boat over to the BYC (Balboa Yacht Club), got gas and water at their dock, and had small talk with the workers there. They then gave me a mooring assignment. I went down one line of boats to come around the backside of the one they had assigned, which was the only way to do it given the way the wind was blowing and as soon as I rounded the end of the line I got stuck in the mud. I couldn't power off on my own and the bozos that came to my "rescue" were the most hapless wastes of skin I've ever met. Effing idiots. The Keystone Cops. It would have been hilarious if it had been someone else.

It was a sickening feeling. All I could think was, "Today's the day I lose my boat. It's all about to end in a few hours and there is nothing I can do about it." My fear was that as she lay over on her side the rudder would break and the keel would leak from the pounding.

I closed up all the hatches, brought everything inside, and the only one who came to my assistance; Clyde, on a 100 foot mega yacht helped me all day. He took my primary anchor out forward so I wouldn't drift further onto the sandbar and we also set another anchor off the halyard from the top of the mast in hopes of dampening the rock and roll when a big freighter went by (I'm literally in the canal zone almost under the Bridge of the Americas). The hatches on the port side of the boat soon turned into aquariums. It was like a glass bottomed boat. 4 inches of water and then the sand and mud of the bottom is what I saw looking out of them. The heel of the boat was so severe, as she was soon drying on her side, that it made movement aboard almost impossible.

Nothing to be done now except eat and wait it out. Clyde took me aboard his palace boat and his Swedish wife made us hamburgers. After lunch they even came over and helped me clean the bottom. Well, one side of it anyway.

As the water began to rise she took a few bad rollers from the big ships that went by. I was concerned about the strain on the rigging but decided the anchor would pop before anything could really get tweaked. I gradually let the halyard out as the water came in and she slowly came to her feet. Weary like a drugged elephant trying to shake off the dart, she stumbled on her keel for another 20 minutes and then I was free.

Clyde once again came to my assistance in retrieving the anchors and picking up the mooring. It’s been 15 hours since I got loose and it doesn’t look like she is taking on water. I’m going to have her hauled and check the underside, but I think everything is fine. It was just a lot of work and struggle and stress but I guess I chose that life so I have to deal with the bad parts too.

All my fault but they are supposed to guide you to the mooring ball and pick it up for you, especially if you are a single hander. Today I’ll be speaking with the manager, and in the future I’ll ask more questions.

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