“We moved to Riviera Beach on Nov 22nd, where we’ve been making final preparations and waiting for a weather window to the Bahamas. The day after arriving we met 2 guys, one of whom is heading our way so we agreed to cruise together. Well, they came on the boat and I thought they would never leave. Doug is the one going east, and what a pig. It started off OK – he and Cap were BS’ing about old Army days, but in short order Doug showed his true colors. The other guy, Don, has turned out to be a nice guy.”Doug, in his 60's, had a very young girl from down-island as a First Mate. The more Doug drank the more comfortable he became until his sexist attitude and innuendos drove me from the cabin. He bragged about finding his companion while cruising the Caribbean, where he also met his Bahamian crew member, called Dr. Pepper.
(Photo note: four large, heavy panels in the living room floor opened to access the main engine compartment. They were supported by cross beams, and if you weren't careful re-positioning a panel it would give way and you'd fall through the floor. Cap didn’t have that problem as often as I seemed to, but he got hit on the head plenty when the boat rocked and a panel would fall. I especially hated it when he balanced his Bubba Mug on either a cross beam or another part of the floor, because more often than not the coffee-chocolate concoction would tip over. Cap was handy but clumsy.)
“Since today’s Thanksgiving, we’re having a semi-holiday dinner: chicken, instant stuffing and mashed potatoes, green beans with Hollandaise, rolls, chocolate pudding and ice cream. Czar wandered off – he won’t get on and off the boat by himself (dock’s on the wrong side), so Cap let him stay on the dock and boom – gone. Cap went to get him and found some guy in the parking lot trying to coax Czar into his van; claimed he was looking for the owner. We got lucky – really have to keep an eye on him.”November 29th
“Yesterday we left that slum of a marina and went out on the hook – just the other side of Peanut Island.”
I watched the digital reading: 9.2; 7.4; suddenly we were in 2 feet of water, so I screamed to Cap to STOP before we ran aground.
“At 12:30am, it felt like something hit the front of the boat. Cap looked out the hatch and saw something strange about the bow: we apparently dragged into a sailboat, and their bar-b-que got caught in our spare anchor. Our anchor had broken loose, so we got off the BBQ, moved and wound up dropping 2 anchors. We stayed up for 2-1/2 hours then back to sleep, hoping all was well.
“No such luck. at 5am – I heard creaking inside the cabinet next to my side of the bed; anchor’s holding OK. But then I felt a BUMP unlike water hitting the hull. It seemed we hit a small pontoon (in fact a catamaran), confirmed when their lights went on."
At his driving station up on the flybridge, Cap called, Enough and I secured the rode by looping it Figure-8-ish several times around a metal cleat which ran through the 4" wooden Samson Post. The connecting Anchor Pulpit, also wooden, protruded over the bow of the boat, and a bracket at the end kept the anchor rode from sliding around. The Post went through the deck and was secured inside the aforementioned compartment next to my bed.
Once tied off, Cap backed up Ruff Life to sink the prongs of the Danforth into the grassy bottom, but it hooked something that didn't budge. I stared helplessly as the Samson Post, straining against the force, exploded into a cloud of rotten splinters before my unprotected eyes. No damage to me, but the Pulpit was demolished. I screamed to Cap before lunging for the anchor rode disappearing over the side. After tying it to a side cleat we turned in once more, too exhausted to speak.
As soon as it became light, Cap, already annoyed our plans were so horribly thwarted, hollered for me to raise the anchor. He threw the engine into gear to head back to the marina. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention that before going to bed I'd hooked the back end of the dinghy to the second davit so it wouldn't swing into anybody else's boat. It sat peacefully in the water behind the boat, parallel to the swim platform.
|Sheared davit btm of pic|
No sooner had Cap increased the throttle that there was a roar like a jet engine as the dinghy became a 10-foot fiberglass scoop, flipping completely around. The force sheared the left-side davit cleanly in half (see photo). Cap put the boat in neutral, scrambled down and dove in to save the motor, heading for the bottom. We lost other items but he was in no mood to go back down. We limped back, disgusted, demoralized and dead tired; prompting the story's original question from grinning Captains, "What the hell happened? It was clear skies last night!"
“Don helped all day and he and (wife) Kelly were a great boost. We got a post from him and a perfect mahogany board from Doug (who refused a dime), who left this morning with Suzie and Dr. Pepper."
"The pulpit has to be completely rebuilt. The boat’s totally trashed – tools everywhere, sawdust, just junk, but I don’t care. The boat’s being fixed, and I don’t have to worry about the damned anchors for a while. My hands are healing. What a night!! At least we were close to shore, so if the pulpit was going, it’s better now than in a storm. We have help and materials became available. All is OK.” Only cost us $1,000.
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