SAME SHIRT, DIFFERENT CREW
23 August 2015 | OLBIA, SARDINIA
Our friends, Bob and Lorelei took time off from their continental tour to join us on Moonbeam. They are both experienced sailors and lovely people...and we are delighted to have them.
Friday, Ken and I went to the Il Castoro supermarket... again. We loaded up our little car with fresh provisionings, and returned to Moonbeam. With seamless timing, I stowed away the goods, the clean laundry arrived, Ken returned the rental car, and Bob and Lorelei arrived. By unanimous decision, we decided to chill out for the day...and planned the initial leg of our itinerary: to leave for an overnight trip to Sardinia on Saturday.
The trip to Sardinia was benign. Yeah...sure. We would have liked a little more sailing, but we did motor-sail, and the overnight passage was fine: a million stars, a wonderful temperature, and not too many boats around to worry about. Daylight brought 20-25 kts on the beam, and, in fact, we had to slow down so as not to arrive at the marina before 'check-in time'. (I guess they have to change the sheets and towels, and clean the heads.)
So, there we were, in the channel, approaching the entryway into the marina, when Captain Ken (believe it or not) yelled a few bad words. He had lost steering. The wheel was locked. We were not the only boat in this channel. There were power yachts, small power boats zipping along, and sailboats under sail (with right of way)...and we were literally dead in the water. Bob, being a veteran of the boating wars, calmly suggested dropping the anchor. We did...and fortunately, at that moment we were in 38 feet of water, in daylight, near a marina but, in the balance of life, unfortunately, in the middle of the channel. Other boats in the channel were not happy with us: I tried to tell them we lost our steering..but they flipped us the bird, anyway. Ken said I shouldn't feel bad...they probably don't speak English. I said..."But they have a British flag." Yeah. I know we don't speak the exact same language (sorry, Geoff and Bubbles) but we should be close. With the anchor down, Ken and Bob went down below to check out the 'quadrant'. I didn't even know we had a quadrant. Okay: Listen up boaters.....maybe you all know this and we're dummies but...this could be a good tip to file away. Ken told me to take the helm and try to turn the wheel so they could see from below what was going on. They didn't tell me to stop so I kept turning it, and turning it, and turning it. All of a sudden, I noticed we were getting more leeway...and more leeway...and...even though they never accessed the quadrant, the wheel was freed up and off we went. So....we surmise that we had picked up something on the rudder which fell off in the turning of the wheel. YAY TEAM MOONBEAM! Another example of the lucky side of unlucky.