The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sea Rescue

I drove out to the marina after lunch to check the boat and run the engine for a while.

Walking down the pontoon, I saw Ryker brushing his teeth in the cockpit. He's been away since late June so we had a long conversation. He installed an engine in his other boat in France which required working on his knees for long periods. Now his right knee is killing him.

He told me about the carpenter Silva who fell off his bike and died. Actually he fell twice. The first time he refused to go to the hospital and, after regaining his composure, got on his bike again only to fall over dead 200 meters down the road. Goodbye Mr. Silva, you were a good man. He was a friendly and knowledgeable guy and it will probably take a while for his death to become a reality.

Silva was the retired boat carpenter I talked about in the post called The Yellow Sailboat.

Then Ryker told me about the English boat in the photograph below whose 67-year-old owner was airlifted by helicopter 30 miles offshore. The boat, a bare looking yawl, was towed into port where it is now tied to the fuel dock.

Peniche fuel dock
Rescued yawl at fuel dock beside the lifeboat (a box with two huge engines)

The ocean has been rough and the single hander fell on a vent cowl and hurt his ribs bad. Apparently he had no battery power and the boat was taking on water through the cowls...which explains why he was on deck. That's how the story came out anyway.

But it makes sense. It's not hard to imagine. The boat is pounding into the waves, white water is washing over the deck and into the faulty vents. The boarding water creeps over the ceiling headliner and onto the switch panel causing a general short-circuit.

The not-too-young sailor goes on deck with towels in hand to plug the cowls, the boat lurches and, bang, he falls flat across the deck. He painfully crawls back into the boat and faces the fact that he has no electricity, not even to start the engine, and that water is slowly but steadily trickling into the boat that is pounding into the waves and rolling uncomfortably.

What would you do?

David showed up and invited us to his Bavaria for a drink with his lovely daughter. Later I went to Manuel's boat and he showed me the cardboard replica he made of a Beta engine to guarantee that it would fit the space where his busted Volvo used to sit.

I drove home as the sun was setting and had dinner with Ana. Another day in the life of a sailboat owner. Could be worse.


  1. Horacio,
    Good to see you had a day off and became a "regular" person! Moments to be cherished and live for. Great pick of Jakatar. She seems to be a fine ship.
    Sorry to hear of the loss of a boat carpenter and others mishaps at sea. Puts things into a little perspective, huh.

    1. That's Jakatar anchored in Alvor a few years ago. Only 39 feet but does look like a small ship.
      Perspective should rule our lives, shouldn't it? Life and hassles, Death and one ladies and gentlemen.