It's been some time since I wrote about Polka Dot, but not long since I've thought about her. I am absolutely thrilled with my new ride and marvel at how much more space, speed and inboard engine I have now. But I miss my old boat.
I check up on her every time I'm at the marina and have even sailed over a few times to see her. It's hard to tell but I really don't think the new owner has taken her out. At least all the lines seem to be tied up exactly the same every time; maybe he's really precise.
I've really been on the fence to write about this particular incident but it really illustrates something that I worry about on the water -- does everyone out there sailing have the seamanship necessary for safety.
The day that the new owner bought Polka Dot, I stopped by the ATM, deposited the check and went home to enjoy my day and think about the new boat. About an hour later, I got a call, "the outboard isn't working, what am I doing wrong?" I talked him through it and concluded that he'd tried to put the engine into gear while it was still revving at too high of an RPM and that he'd never get it into gear.
The wind was coming from the East that day so he was pretty sure he couldn't sail into the dock, I wanted him to heave to or sail around for a while until the wind subsided a bit, but he wasn't comfortable with that so I looked online and got him the number for Vessel Assist. $300 later he was towed back into his slip but I couldn't help but think it was pretty irresponsible of him to take his wife and young son out without getting to know the boat first.
I know that I could have gotten the boat back safely to some point on land in the marina but it makes me wonder how many of the people out there can't?
disclaimer: I know I'm not the hottest sh!t sailor in the world and I'm not saying that