Thursday, November 15, 2007

Helping Hand

Vero Beach (wikimap)
27 39.646N 080 22.224

A nice sunset seen from our mooring.

Around noon today I had my head down in the engine compartment. I was doing chores. I found that the shaft packing nut was loose, letting too much water in from around the shaft. I also found that one of the engine mount nuts was loose. Oy Oy; that could be serious. I'll have to check those more often. I was busy changing the transmission oil when I heard a noise.

There was a sailboat just one boat length away from me that was aground. The owner was trying to back his way off using the engine. I could see mud coming out of his exhaust. "Stop!" I shouted. Then I went over to help him.

I told the man about the mud and offered to row his anchor out with my dinghy so that he could kedge off. I took his plow anchor and 100 feet of chain and dropped it 100 feet away. His anchor windlass slipped his clutch so that didn't do any good. He tied it off to a snubber line and tried using the sheet winch. That didn't do any good.

I took a nylon line from his boat to a nearby piling on a dock. We tried sheeting that in with the sheet winch. It just bent the piling out of place. Oops. He finally gave up and called Tow Boat US.

The poor guy. He told me that he returned from Europe 3 years ago to discover that he had cancer. He's been in treatment for those three years. Now, he was working single handed to bring his boat from Newburyport Mass to Fort Myers Florida. The boat is suffering from three years of no maintenance.

Anyhow, Tow Boat US came about 30 minutes later and got him afloat with no trouble. I hope he is a member. These towing services work in a strange way. You can subscribe to Tow Boat US or to their competitor Sea Tow for about $150/year. Then you get unlimited free towing. If you are not a subscriber, a tow costs $650 up. Their costs are very reasonable to subscribe but outrageously expensive if you don't subscribe. We are subscribers. We've been towed twice, and we called Sea Tow for a jump start once.

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