Saturday, November 13, 2010


Beaufort, SC 32º25.837N | 80º40.583W

Gathering for a group photo.
Driving three hours to attend a wedding is no big deal, unless you live on a boat. For the record, here's how our day went.

Anchored in downtown Beaufort, we had to raise anchor and take the boat to a marina two miles around the bend. As we were preparing to leave, I asked Chip, "Does it look like that boat is getting closer?"

It's the fear of every anchored sailor: We're dragging or they're dragging, collision imminent.

"Let's go!!!" he said.

I rushed to the bow with the windlass (automatic anchor raising device) clutch, removed the snubber (the rope that keeps some slack in the chain) and stepped on the haul-in button. The chain reeled in fine for about 50 feet and then started jamming. Let it out some, pull it back in, if you're lucky it runs smoothly. I wasn't all that lucky.

It was fits and starts until the last 50 feet when it wouldn't budge. I knew the problem was below in the chain locker where the chain stops sliding, no longer allowing the new chain to flow in. I ran to the cockpit, "It's jammed! Just try to keep us in place until I can get the chain running."

I crawled over our bed, threw aside the pillows, opened the locker and started clawing at the chain. This is when I realized how much black Beaufort mud I was spreading around. It was on my pants, my shoes, the bed, under my fingernails, the same fingernails that would be attending a formal dinner in less than 12 hours. That very minor problem would have to wait.

The muddy clawing worked, and the chain reluctantly came up the rest of the way.

We flew around to the marina on a roaring, outgoing tide and did a crazy skid up to the fuel dock (that I might say Chip maneuvered perfectly). Chip and I went into pit-crew mode, Chip refueling, me pumping out the holding tank. The docks hands untied us, and we made another sketchy turn into the marina and around to a slip about a foot wider than the boat -- another 9.9 for Chip.

Hose the boat, plug in shore power, adjust the lines, close the seacocks, turn on the charger, turn off everything but the refrigerator, move our bags to the dock, call the car rental company to pick us up.

We threw our hapless smattering of "luggage" -- a blue REI duffle, a white garbage bag over hanging clothes, a brown Sherpani backpack, a Target 'green' bag and a bright yellow North Face computer bag -- into a dock cart for the very long trek down the docks to the office at 11:05 for an 11:00 pickup, a luxurious amount of time to make the three-hour drive, un-boat ourselves and make the 6:00 rehearsal dinner. We waited, and waited, and waited for a ride that didn't arrive until 12:40.

Screeching into the Sheraton at 4:40, I slunk in unshowered, makeup-free, wind-blown and muddy, hoping for a Fairy Godmother. Instead I ended up with an iron, a blow dryer, nail polish and 45 minutes.

Just another relaxing day of boat life.

Once in place, finally, in freshly pressed land clothes, we relaxed into the hugs and sweet faces, the laughter, good food and organized chaos of a family wedding.

Chip's mom, Nancy, reunited with her older brother.
Jacksonville, FL 30º14.214N | 81º31.064W

Cousins, Sandy and Bruce, Chip and Bonnie.

Happy, happy chaos.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone looks extremely happy! Chip looks like he's headed to paradise and what no picture of you!!!? Another adventure as you head South!

    Any pics of the bride and groom?