A little drama in the marina

I know. For the past month, all of my posts have been drudgery. Boat projects, hard work, blood-sweat-and-epoxy. But we had a little bit of excitement yesterday. No great photos, but that’s how you can tell things were exciting – if you don’t have time to take pictures, it must be a good story.

I was on the top deck of Sanitas, working on my latest teak refinishing project. And I heard a bit of yelling across the way at the St Petersburg Yacht Club fuel dock. I checked it out, but decided to mind my own business. Couples yell at each other while docking at the fuel dock all the time. None of my business, right? So I put my headphones back on, and cranked up the volume on This American Life, and got back to work. (Totally worth it! Look at that newly refinished hand rail!)

Oblivious to my surroundings, I heard much louder shouting. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I leapt to my feet, ripped the headphones off and dropped them on the deck, because a sailboat was about four feet from Sanitas’s bow and blowing right into me sideways. I jumped up the the bow pulpit and assumed the position to fend off this massive amount of inertia. And screamed “Mike! Get up here!”

Folks who normally live in a slip about four boats down were apparently moving to a new slip across the marina. Some of the boats that live here are in, harrumph, less than perfect working order. This one didn’t have a functional motor and was trying to move out of one slip, across the harbor, and into the new slip. Completely under sail. For those of you who aren’t sailors, this is not an easy maneuver! Especially since this couple might not have left their slip since they bought the boat.

When Capt Mike made it above decks, the couple asked for a tow over to their new slip. My first thought was “Bug? The smallest dinghy in the marina, with the smallest 5-horse power motor? Tow this big fat boat?” But Capt Mike went into superhero mode. He leapt into the dinghy, released the painter, and went to the rescue. Now it wasn’t a perfect rescue attempt. For the first ten minutes, Capt Mike and Bug made a valiant effort to tow the sailboat from the front. It was not a success. There was quite a lot of random drifting and close calls with all of the very expensive boats docked at the Yacht Club. Then Allen, a salty old guy why also lives on the dock, wandered over to watch the show and started giving me advice. “He shouldn’t be pulling the sailboat. He should be pushing from the stern.” So I repeated it all, just a little bit louder. “Hey Mike! Stop pulling. Push from the stern!” Allen knows his stuff.

So he tried it, and Bug saved the day! Lashed to the stern of the sailboat, her little outboard motor provided plenty of forward momentum. The woman who owned the boat could steer from the helm. And they putted their way across the marina to their new home. Did they shower Capt. Mike with thanks and gratitude, and maybe a spray of champagne? No. They did not. But he had the satisfaction of being a Good Samaritan. And Bug has a new friend who comes visit her at sunrise- a gorgeous grey sand crane.

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