Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

13 September 2020 | Maupiti, FP
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30 July 2020
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03 January 2020

I got run over by a dinghy!

23 December 2016
St. Anne, Martinique is a delightful, little town flanked by gorgeous beaches. The beaches extend to a large Club Med and other resorts. About 1 ½ miles deeper in the bay is Le Marin, one of the major yachting centers in the Caribbean. I bet there are close to 1,000 sailboats in Le Marin. You can also find any type of yacht service and parts in Le Marin. Everywhere in Le Marin it is about bateau de voiles, sailboats. They are certainly our people. I heard a lady on the dock speaking English which isn't often. She said, “The guys are in the shops looking at sailboat stuff.” We sure are!

The water in Le Marin isn't beautiful but around the corner in St. Anne, it is beautiful. That's why most of the cruisers, after getting supplies in Le Marin, anchor in St. Anne. We are here to meet up with our cruising friends for Christmas. We moved from our week in Le Marin here, yesterday, December 22. The anchorage is quite large and there are at least 200 boats anchored here.

We anchored in 20 feet of water, got a good grip as we backed down on the anchor. I still put on my snorkeling gear to check the anchor set. I always do this except in places like Le Marin where the water isn't clear enough to find your anchor. Our anchor chain lay on the bottom among rocks and sand. The anchor itself was resting on the top of a large rock but the point must have stuck on something. But this isn't safe. The anchor needs to bury in sand or muck to really be safe. I dove down, lifted the 44 pound anchor off the rock and dropped it in sand. The wind was blowing hard and tension on the chain dragged the anchor to a nice bury in the sand, just what I wanted. I dove down a few more times and pulled the chain free from rocks and just watched to see how things were settling out. It was a nice day to be in the water. They all are!

My head was in the water, looking at the anchor and I heard the buzz of an outboard. I turned my head just in time to see a gray dinghy coming right at me. I instinctively stiff-armed it with my right hand, just pushing me clear of it. The instant it passed, I knew I avoided being chopped to bits by the propeller. The driver stopped immediately and got an earful from me I'm not proud of. He came around and kept asking if I was OK. I assured him I was. He was just as shaken as I was and apologized profusely. I calmed down and told him, “Hey, it's all OK now.” By this time, Lisa was on the bow of Uproar and he motored over to her to apologize. I saw heads perk up on boats around us. I must have made quite a noise.

It happened so fast. The boat was a typical RIB, rigid bottom inflatable. The center of the boat is fiberglass, surrounded by inflatable tubes. It was on plane, doing at least 10 or 12 knots. I actually pushed off the fiberglass bottom of the boat. Yes, it would have smacked me if I hadn't given it a stiff-arm. I'm sure I pushed myself out of the way and possible even knocked the boat a bit off track. The guy knew he had hit something! I don't think I'm being too melodramatic to say I'm thankful to be alive or at least not seriously injured! I can't believe my reflexes were quick enough to avoid disaster.

Thanks for listening. Writing this is part of my purging process. I woke up last night and sat in the cockpit for a long time. Then I put down a cushion, crossed my legs and Sat. Sure helped. All is good and Merry Christmas to all.
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Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Sophie our Jack Russell Terrier
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