Giving our slip the slip…

Tuesday Aprils’ 10th, twenty eighteen

We enjoyed our time at Nettles Island, but like most docks it was temporary and the day comes to leave. Getting Fracas into a slip is less daunting than getting her convinced to leave. Leaving usually requires reverse. I know we’ve talked many times about Fracas’ challenge with reverse. The lever goes to R, the propeller spins the other direction and it even sounds like reverse. The outcomes of reverse however vary depending on the circumstances. For the most part reverse will stop forward motion and then usually the stern will go sideways to starboard, unless there is wind or current. If there is wind and current all bets are off, Fracas will quickly seek comfort snuggling up to whichever boat is the most expensive.

The day we arrive at a new slip the worry begins. Leaving a slip is the most stressful maneuver I have to do with this boat. The alley adjacent to our slip was narrow. The power boat next to us has a long protruding bowsprit. During the last sleepless night I dreamed, experienced nightmares and planned our escape. I awoke with a plan but I couldn’t find a crane large enough to lift 20 tons of fun. Plan B involved the long rope used at Palm Cay. The wind was South West and less than 10 but enough to mess with Fracas. I would have to get her stern to cross through the wind to get pointed sufficiently to get out.

The long line had to cross the alley to a piling on the West side. From the port stern to the piling through a snatch block to the big winch powered by our third crew member ‘Milwaukee’. I just had to ask then convince Ray (marina owner) that this was the best plan. He agreed to help and his job was to release the line back to us when Fracas was pointed out.  I don’t think I used reverse at all. I had tied a line between the pilings on the starboard side of the slip and ML’s job was to try to keep Fracas from the power boat by pulling and sliding along this line.

Everything went pretty well. Fracas was plucked out of her slip and her stern swung across the wind. I then used a little engine (in forward) to swing the bow away from the big bowsprit of the powerboat. Our only issue now, we were tied securely to the piling on the west side. I had a knife ready but Ray was there. He untied the knot rather than lift it off and over the piling but we got away before we lost the bow. Then suddenly it was over, the stress was gone, Fracas was spiritedly gliding over the chop. ML quickly provided me with a glass of ice water and a cold beer (it was 10:30).

We were the show but it was a good show. I would much rather have a line to shore than Fracas in reverse. I think a bow thruster and a stern thruster would be good additions.

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