Wayward Dink Syndrome
19 August 2013
Wayward Dinghy Syndrome
Monday, August 19, 2013
A totally unique to boating experience presents itself on occasion. It is Wayward Dinghy Syndrome or WDS. It is well past sunset and there are those that do not retire with the sun, usually the younger sailors. In a place like Edgertown, there are ample opportunities to stay up late and party. The chances of that happening are inversely proportional to the age of the crew, hence no longer a worry to this crew. For some, the trip to shore to boogie down is not until after sunset but for most it happens just before sunset. Either way, the WDS awaits those that return after dark.
My last look at the topside world happens usually around 2100. At that time of night, one can often hear very small outboard engines rattling in the night anchorage. The boat seldom has running lights for only a white light is required and a flashlight meets that requirement. For rowed boats no light is necessary by law but prudent to prevent some other boat from adding one to the food chain. That said, tonight was no different. I heard a small engine, which seemed to be getting closer. I did not see lights in the direction of the sound. The sound indicated an erratic course, which usually means the crew is looking for their boat after having failed to leave a light on. So, these lost souls are wandering around looking for something familiar. After a few minutes of looking for the lost crew, a mini light started to flash our direction. Scurv was on guard and watched intently. A low toned bubble bark emitted from his face. Ever so slowly, the crew wandered past and into the night. They were still at it twenty minutes later, and then the sound died. Guess they found the mother ship. All is well. No, wait! Another crew is meandering toward us in search of their boat. And so it goes well into the wee hours of the morning.
Of this event, I remember the owner of S/V Anchuca who failed to leave a light aboard when we were anchored in the lee of Mud Island, Texas. The beach picnic ended about 2200 and it was time for all to return to their boats. The winds were blowing us away from shore toward our boats. If one did not find their boats, they would ultimately end up in Rockport, Texas some six miles distant. Dennis and his man powered dink rowed off into the forming fog of the late evening. An hour later after much rowing, he finally found the boat a mere two hundred yards from shore. When his lights came on, we all retired. He was safe.