October 6, 2012
My eyes couldn’t believe what I was reading . . .“Congratulations; Front page news of the local newspaper!” “No way! Really?” I’d spoken aloud to no one in particular. I was reading an email from the refrigerator person we had been in contact with at the Annapolis Boat Show, and he had seen our name in the local newspaper. I couldn’t imagine how the events from the previous day had managed to become front page news!
It was a Saturday afternoon when we noticed a boat that was anchored in front of us suddenly seemed a little too close to our bow. We weren’t sure if the boat had dragged its anchor, or if boats were just swinging a bit differently. Since there was no one onboard the other boat, we let more of our anchor chain out, allowing us to move back from the encroaching boat. As time passed, we realized that the boat was in fact, dragging. Fortunately, at that moment it was slowly coming backwards and next to us.
Concerned about where the boat might end up before its owners returned, I reported the scenario to the Harbormaster over the VHF. Within minutes, they showed up to assess the situation. While they were rafted along side of our boat, a young lady introduced herself as a reporter for the Capital Gazette. She explained that she was riding along with the Harbormaster for the day and doing a story about their job during the Boat Show. She asked if we minded answering a few questions. We didn’t mind, and didn’t think anything of it.
In the meantime, the Harbormaster attempted to locate the owners of the dragging boat, but with no success. However, the boat’s anchor appeared to have finally grabbed the bottom, and it had stopped moving backwards. Since the situation seemed to be okay for the time being, the Harbormaster left, but with plans to keep checking back.
In order to protect our boat, we placed numerous fenders along our hull from the bow to about midship. We just wanted a little added security in case the wind shifted. A short while later, I took Wil ashore, so he could return to the boat show for some of the generator troubleshooting advice he had been seeking. When I returned to the boat, I had an unsettled feeling about the other boat sitting so close to us, so I pulled our dinghy alongside, and tied it to our port side for extra fender protection.
It wasn’t long before things began happening at a quicker pace. The sky grew cloudy, and the wind picked up speed, as well as changed direction. Suddenly, the once dragging boat was dancing back and forth, getting closer and closer to our hull. The kids and I worked together moving fenders to where they were needed most. I was thankful I had used the dinghy as an extra cushion. Simon on Cat, called across the anchorage, asking if we needed any help, but since he was currently needing to row his dinghy, I didn’t want to trouble him. Although, we were starting to tire of the fender drill.
Eventually, a couple of other cruisers happened to be passing by in their dinghies. They suggested that I tie the other boat to ours, so it would keep it from swinging. I had wondered that myself at one point, but I wasn’t sure about the extra weight on our anchor. They convinced me by saying I could always release the other boat if it became a problem. So, in a matter of moments, I had the two boats rafted together, with our dinghy still squished in between.
I was just about to sigh with relief when I heard Wil shout from the shore, indicating he was ready to return to the boat. How was I going to get him now? I yelled over to a neighboring boater, asking if he would mind getting my husband from the dinghy dock. Thank goodness, he didn’t seem to mind.
Just as the guy went to pick up Wil, an older couple rode up in their dinghy with confused looks on their faces. It was obvious they were the owners of the dragging boat. “Oh, good! You’re back!” I called out, and quickly explained what had happened. They looked terribly embarrassed, said a brief sorry, and quickly moved to get their boat relocated. We never saw them again.
At the day’s end, I was mentally exhausted from having to be on my toes for the entire afternoon. I’d had ideas about what I wanted to achieve for the day, but not one thing was accomplished. Oh, well. At least it made for a good story!
Here is a copy of the newspaper article, or you can read it online at the Capital Gazette of Annapolis. Notice Full Monty in the photo to the right of the Harboarmaster boat. The author’s version of the incident makes it sound more dramatic than it really was, and some details aren’t quite correct, but that’s okay. Being in the news is still kind of fun anyway!