Don’t Worry, Be Happy
19 July 2018 | Desolation Sound
The lyrics from Bobby McFerrin’s pop hit; “In every life we have some trouble, But when you worry you make it double, Don’t worry, be happy” was going through my head last Wednesday as everything was going wrong aboard Huzzah. And while we all have bad days now and again, this one was a doozy!
Ours troubles began in the morning while landing the dingy ashore at low tide. We misjudged our approach and punctured the dinghy’s front air chamber on a razor sharp oyster shell. After limping back to Huzzah and preparing to patch the dinghy on the foredeck, the wind shifted to the south and began to increase rapidly. This exposed Huzzah broadside to wind and waves entering the harbor, which is unprotected to the miles of fetch down the channel. On this day, we had stern-tied the boat to the shore due to the extremely deep water here (as we often do), which puts a lot of pressure on the anchor & stern lines in big wind and waves. After a period, the stern line chafed through on a rock and snapped. Fortunately, the anchor held and we were in no immediate danger. But Jody didn’t like the wind and wanted to move on. So at 3 pm we pulled anchor and motored south down the channel to collect the prawn traps we had set earlier.
Bad luck comes in three’s right? Without the dinghy, we needed to pull the prawn traps from the stern of Huzzah. Not too difficult, but while hauling the 300+ foot lines, one slipped overboard and got wrapped in our propeller. With Huzzah’s main engine gone, we now we had raise sails in the narrow Waddington channel and sail upwind against two knots of adverse current. We sailed for the next few hours in a brisk breeze until the wind suddenly died. Now we’re totally becalmed, the sun is beginning to set and we have no wind, no main engine and no dinghy to tow with. With my best attempts to ease Jody’s anxiety that we wouldn’t drift onto a rock strewn shore having failed, I went to my next plan.
With the dinghy already on the foredeck, we experimented with sticky-back sailcloth and some Boeing Surplus reinforced tape to temporarily patch the 5” slit well enough to hold a little air and keep the sea water out. The surplus tape worked, so we launched the dink and mounted the outboard. By now an hour had passed and the late evening breeze could be seen filling in. Hip hip Huzzah! We were able to sail to the entrance of Prideaux Haven anchorage at dark, strike our sails and side-tow Huzzah in with Jody driving the dinghy. With the anchor down at 10 pm, Jody says, “what do you want for dinner – I’m not cooking”! No problem, sailors always have a can of chili in the bilge for such occasions.
Cheers from Huzzah!