Monday, November 22, 2010

Living as a Couple on a Boat, Part II

One of the things I like about the Chesapeake are the many anchorages that can be found just about anywhere.

But, I've discovered that the ever popular St. Michael's, Maryland, might just possibly be the Bermuda Triangle of anchoring.

We found this out for ourselves a few years ago. After hanging lazily on the hook for a whole weekend, our Knotty Cat waited until 3 AM and then quietly lifted her anchor and innocently drifted into a sexy french catamaran that Hans and I had gushed over earlier in the day. Using her swim platform, the Knotty Cat neatly punched two holes into her rival, just above the water line. The owner was extremely nice about it and thankfully our insurance company made everything all better.

Then a couple of years ago we decided that it would be uber fun to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the bay of St. Michael's. I have no idea why, since this is tantamount to being in Times Square on New Year's Eve when idiots who otherwise never get out, do, and create mayhem for everyone in their vicinity.

We weren't disappointed.

The above picture shows just a few of the boats that anchored that weekend. Anyway it was a dark and stormy night (I've always wanted to write that!), and a powerful storm complete with wild bolts of lightning and slashing rain ripped through the bay long before the fireworks were due to start. Suddenly, like a bunch of earthquake evacuees, everyone (except us) frantically tried to weigh anchor and beat feet out of the harbor (I'm not sure why, as all this meant was they'd be underway in some pretty crappy weather). We immediately noticed that a boat had drifted uncomfortably close to us and was having some difficulties. The captain was running fore and aft in a wild attempt to unfoul his anchor, and I couldn't help but notice that his female counterpart sat on the sidelines and did absolutely nothing, leaving me to ponder the intelligence of women who wear hot pink velour sweatsuits in public.

An anchored yet unoccupied boat on our port side suffered two separate assaults from renegade escapee vessels gone wild, and the offenders didn't even bother to leave polite notes of apology under the windshield wiper of the victim! I've often wondered how long it took the couple of that particular boat, who rowed back after the storm, to discover the damage that had been inflicted upon them.

A motor boat full of drunks just scraped past us and I swear I saw the nasty tonsils of the chick who leaned over and screamed, "You need to have more lights on!" And I screamed back, "We have our anchor light on you idiot! Maybe you need to read Boating for Dummies again!"

And as suddenly as the storm started, it ended and we enjoyed an incredible firework display.

For some sick reason we went back the following year only this time with my youngest college age daughter and a couple of her friends. The only irritation we suffered that night was the party boat that anchored right beside us. Complete with bad '80's music, pulsating disco lights, and hysterical drunks, they were kind enough to leave us in peace at midnight.

Other than that, Hans and I have spent many peaceful nights at anchor and we have our system pretty much down pat. With some simple signals from Hans, I maneuver the boat to port, starboard, or straight ahead, and before you know it we're on our way.
Or at least I thought so.
How well I remember the weekend when some of Hans' hockey friends sailed with us, and with Hans at the bow and me at the wheel, I was smugly explaining our system to them when Hans made a signal I'd never seen before and unfortunately, I'm one of those people who speak before thinking and everyone was treated to, "What the F#*@ was that!?"

One of the funniest (and saddest) anchorings I've ever witnessed was during our last weekend on the boat this summer, and yet once again St. Michael's played a starring role. It was late in the evening when we heard what was obviously a domestic squabble aboard a boat quite close by, and I was immediately jerked back in time to my bartending days where I was often forced to witness abusive behavior between couples thus leaving me very grateful to be poor and single, yet not stuck with an idiot!

I also sincerely hoped I wouldn't hear a splash in the night and wind up being a witness in court.

Come morning, I informed Hans that one of the nearby boats was a lot closer than it'd been the night before, and it only took one bellow from the captain to realize this was the domestic squabble boat.

Then the fun began.

The captain went up to the bow and the little woman (surely his wife because no man would ever treat a date in such a nasty manner) sat at the helm. He then screamed out signals complete with intense fist punches and the poor woman reciprocated by flooring the engine. The boat responded by flying in reverse thus yanking the anchor line tight and I felt myself holding my breath because I just knew what was coming. I wasn't disappointed and the captain started bellowing again. This time the boat shot forward causing the anchor line to stretch in an alarming fashion along the starboard side. This went on again and again, and all the while the captain continued to scream and punch the air.

Finally (and most likely out of sympathy), the anchor gave way and the (un)happy couple sailed off into the wild blue yonder.

I'm just glad I didn't have to testify in court because I'm afraid I would have been tempted to show that idiot some real punching!


  1. Oh Laura, I still say you should write a book one day! I can just see you, like Snoopy perched on top of his doghouse with his typewriter, sitting on top of the cabin of The Knotty Cat with your trusty laptop, beginning your book..."It was a dark and stormy night...." :o)

    I love reading your tales of adventures aboard 'The Cat'... it gives me a perversely good feeling knowing there are people out there (the ones you write about) that are bigger idiots than I am! LOL!!

  2. Cyndi, you are far from being an idiot! And I'm pretty sure that after reading about some of the stuff we've done, a lot of people really wonder if Hans and I should be allowed on the water!

  3. Travis and I made a rule to never ever start screaming at each other while doing anything on the boat. This was after we nearly killed each other on our first sail on a small 27' that we knew nothing about. Those situations , (anchoring, docking etc) can be so stressful, that now, to calm down, I pretend that I have done whatever we are about to do, a million times before. This seems to give me some composure, and I find myself calmly waiting for the approaching dock for example, rather then anxiously running back and forth around the deck, like I used to.

  4. I'm just thankful that Hans is one of the nicest people in the world and even when he questions something I'm doing, he never yells. Lately, I've been reminding myself that there are a lot of people out there who are sailing along very nicely with only an iota of experience, and this makes me feel a lot better.

  5. We're brand new to this, so I'm sure we can look forward to our days of being idiots! =) Hopefully we won't have any spectators. The hot pink velour jumpsuit makes me think of the Target commercial with the blonde in the red velour jumpsuit. Too funny!