The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The ill-fated voyage of Jakatar - Part II

Continued from Part I

I threw the lifesaver overboard and slowly descended the ladder with the cutting knife dangling from my wrist. When my feet were immersed in the cold water, instead of shivering about it - like I usually do - I immediately dropped myself into the big blue ocean.

I dunked the goggles, drained them, slipped them tight over my face and dove.

First Mistake

I cut the the first thing that came to hand - the rope rising from the bottom. What an idiot! I had just set the boat free and now it was moving. I came up for air, held on to the ladder and thought, "If the boat is moving so will I, I'm a good swimmer." I realized the lifesaver would be no help; it was downwind and floating faster than the boat. "I'm a good swimmer," right!

After a few deep breaths I dove again. The three or four turns of rope around the shaft and the plastic buoy impaled on a propeller blade were clearly visible, but I couldn't reach them in time. I dove again, but it was no good and I climbed aboard swearing.

At least I was free now, free to unfurl the genoa and sail in the light breeze toward the bay and port of Sesimbra.

I slowly sailed about 7 miles to Sesimbra feeling fairly calm. I didn't even take the wetsuit off. The plan was to anchor in the bay, finish the rope-cutting job and keep sailing to Sines.

On approaching the bay, the breeze picked up and I began to furl the genoa slowly, occasionally pressing the autopilot's -10 button. The boat skimmed the water close-hauled toward the beach. The depth sounder read 20 meters, 15 meters, 12 meters...then I turned the bow into the wind, hurried forward, released the big Rocna to the sweet sound of chain rattling over the windlass drum.

It was almost too easy. 

I hadn't yet discovered that I really wasn't solo sailing, that Murphy and his law had sneaked aboard in the Cascais anchorage. I was about to fight a long exhausting battle with Murphy in this bay. 

To be continued


  1. Oh no...... not Murphy! He's the worst sonafabitch ever! You should be a bit more selective with your crew.
    I don't really understand the life savers purpose unless you had it tethered, but cutting the rope would have been my first reaction too, especially with a tanker approaching (but I am not that experienced yet, thank god).
    Don't tell me you lost the rode!!!

    1. You better believe the lifesaver was tethered...and the tanker wasn't approaching - that happened earlier.
      But it was my first experience clearing a fouled prop. After all these years swerving around a minefield of fishing buoys, this was my first hit and the catalyst for....stay tuned.