Get Back on That Horse and Ride!

I’m going to do my best to write all this in one coherent post without resorting to expletives. After all, it’s too easy to resort to words like ‘Shit!’ and ‘Fuck!’ when expressing outrage, dismay, anger, and disappointment. That’s not a very creative use of language. I like to think I’m a better wordsmith than to rely on simple expletive.  And I would never take the easy way out. If I were to use words like ‘G** damn it all to hell!’ you might think that I didn’t give my posts much consideration. You would be wrong, but even so, this weekend SUCKED! And it sucked bad.

Is she worth it? We still think so.

Is she worth it? We still think so. We hope so.

The weekend started off great. We tootled down to Portland’s new West Marine where our  Garmin 820xs was waiting for us. The new West Marine store in Jantzen Beach is just lovely and electronics sales associate Dan was very helpful and solicitous of our business. We bought the chart plotter, a handheld GPS for back up (because we just like to have a reliable handheld unit), and a G2 Vision card. Yes, we dropped some money there. But we were flying high when we left and it was money we knew we would be spending anyway.

It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and as soon as we got to the boat Mike began the installation of the electronics. He was like a kid at Christmas with his new stuff and everything was working out really well. It all came together for him and that chart plotter is just glorious. We love it. Of course we have to order a special connector to get it to get information from the triducer, which is manufactured by Raymarine, but this will happen.

We’ve been through this before with Moonrise, so my heart didn’t skip a beat when Mike drilled into the stainless.

While Mike worked his magic on the electronics installations, I got on top of the dodger to finish sealing up the window there. Then I deployed the cockpit enclosure. My thought was to make sure I knew how it went together and see if it would serve a couple of seasons before being replaced. All of the snaps had been removed from the hard dodger when it was last painted, so I had to replace those. Fortunately we had a good supply, left on the boat by the previous owner. I got the thing up and we reveled in having a protected outdoor space from which to view our surroundings. To say we love that cockpit enclosure would be to seriously understate the fact. There will be a new one before we ‘leave the dock’ for the long voyage.

Interesting photo of me on the boom.

And here’s the cockpit enclosure from the inside. Notice in the first photo the boat is sporting her cockpit finery.

I’ve always wanted one of these.

Last weekend we got the genoa back on. This weekend we installed the mainsail. This was an exercise in patience and stamina as the wind was abeam and nothing we could do about that. Eventually we got her on, but we’ll wait for a quiet anchorage out of the wind to put in the battens.

By Sunday at lunchtime all these things were accomplished. We knew we’d have to wait for the connection to the transducer to get the water depth. Meanwhile we have charts, which have depth, and we were anxious to get this boat off the dock and out into the river. The new engine has not yet been commissioned. This is a process by which you put it through its paces at different RPM’s in order to break it in. That needed to happen.

The difference between a great day and a disastrous day starts with one small decision. And this one was ours. Who knew?

Notice the location of the entrance to the marina. We are just backing away from the dock. You will need this information later.

Mike was at the wheel for the 8 or 9 point turn it took to get us out of the marina. Why so many turns? Well it’s like this: our dock is right at the mouth of the entrance to the marina. It is not protected from wind or from current because of its location, a fact that has kept me up at night as I envisioned learning to handle this boat at the same time that we are dealing with significant current and the ever present significant wind in the Astoria area. You know the rule about going ‘dead slow’ in a marina? That does not work for us. If we do not pick up speed quickly, the current takes us where it wants us to go. This is also true when getting to our dock. Please remember this fact later, as there will be a quiz.

We were so happy to be out on the water again! I breathed a sigh of relief, my heart rate returning to normal as we left that damned marina behind.  A glorious, sunny and warm day, new territory to explore, and a beautiful boat to explore it with. What could be better? We cracked open a couple of cold beers and clinked bottles in a toast to our good fortune. Our plan was to meander up the river for a bit, putting the engine through its paces. Then we would find a place in the lee of the land where we could practice backing up and maybe even learn to deploy that anchor! Oh we had plans, alright. Big plans.

We do really love this chart plotter. The ‘no touch screen’ works best for us because touch screens many times disagree with my ideas of how they should work.

After our first sips of our celebratory libation, I revved the engine up to about 1500rpm per Mike’s instructions. Mike looked behind us and noticed white smoke billowing out from the rear. WHAT?? He popped down into the engine room, but things looked fine and the smoke went away. Everything appeared to be working fine and the Beta Marine engine sounded and performed well. So we carried on. Because ignorance is bliss and we were happy in ours.

Next there came a loud noise of unknown origin and disturbing vibration from the general direction of the underbelly of the beast. Alarmed, Mike popped back into the engine room to check on the baby. Again, nothing appeared amiss and the engine was performing well. I mean really well! We were pushing 9 knots against a considerable current and we didn’t even have the thing wide open. We could not identify the noise and he rationalized that maybe something had been caught on the prop and had worked its way off. Hmmm. At that point, it was the only explanation we could figure but we both knew that was wrong. And so it proved.

Finally being back on the water was awesome for awhile.

Enjoying the day and the ubiquitous sea lions, and absolutely loving our cockpit enclosure, we made for Tongue Point where the chart showed an area of water plenty deep, but protected from the wind.  We planned to practice maneuvering the boat. We had noticed that the shifting from forward to neutral to reverse was stiff. Mike had already ordered a new part for the steering pedestal, but it was set to arrive this week. The shift was stiff, but it worked. As we closed on Tongue Point, we worked the shifter from neutral to reverse, back to neutral, and forward. We were not happy. What had started out to be just stiff, was now recalcitrant. After many trips to the engine room to sort out the shifting we decided we’d better get back to the marina.

It was when we were close to Tongue Point that we had noticed the bilge pump was coming on intermittently. This particular pump has a hair trigger and is likely to come on if it’s nudged the wrong way by a wave. The pump wasn’t working hard, just gurgling briefly. Still, anytime a bilge pump thinks it has a job to do, it’s worth investigating. Another pop down to the engine room to take a look. The bilge looked dry. And yet, on the trip back, the pump kept coming on. Since we weren’t sinking, Mike said he’d figure out what was going on when we got back to the dock.

I took the wheel to get us into the marina because I somehow believe that I must face my fears head on. What I’d really LIKE to do is just let Mike do all the docking all the time. But that’s not really fair and, after all, I always docked Moonrise. When Mike docked this boat for the first time, it went without a hitch. If he could do it, I could probably do it too. (Beats head against wall.) He reminded me to keep speed until the last minute so the current wouldn’t push me into the wall, and then went to get the lines ready.

Had there not been current and wind, my first try would have nailed it perfectly. But I was going too slow and the current was going faster. It pushed us too far away from the dock.  I had to back up and try over again. Had the gear shift not stuck in reverse, all would have been well. But the gear shift DID stick in reverse. I could not put the thing in forward to save my life. Or to keep our boat from hitting the large steel fishing boat behind us. I will never forget that feeling as long as I live; completely helpless to keep this thing from happening, both hands pushing with all my might on the gear shift trying to get that boat to move anywhere but where it was headed. There was no time and the shifter would not budge.  Our steel davit hit the boat behind us and my stomach dropped into the sea. Maybe it was the jolt from the impact, but suddenly the gear shifted into neutral, and another shove moved it into forward. I don’t remember getting the boat close enough to the dock for Mike to toss the line to the dock hand, but apparently I did.

In retrospect, I don’t even know if it made any noise. Trauma is like that. You record different aspects of the event as different types of memories. I remember how it felt. But I don’t remember how it sounded, or how fast I was going. I remember the Coast Guard boat fueling up, all hands watching what probably looked like the Ricky and Lucy show, but what was really a woman trying to get a boat in gear and a husband running to the aft deck to… to do what? Prevent it somehow? As if. I remember, too, the marina dock hand shouting at me to put it in forward, as though I didn’t know that’s what I needed to do. If only I could tell those people that I’m not a complete rube, that I’ve docked a boat hundreds of times, even if it wasn’t this particular boat, that it wasn’t my fault. But I was at the wheel, so it definitely feels like my fault. Definitely.

That heavy davit used to be straight. The light was on the end of the davit.

The damage was minimal, really. Our rear light is gone, our davit is slightly bent, and the big steel boat has a scratch on the paint. The davit acted like a shock absorber. The deck on our boat where the davit is attached is fine. We were very lucky. Or my angels were working overtime. We hope to keep insurance companies out of the mix. The davit will still work. His paint can be repaired. The light can be replaced. And eventually I’ll have to get back on that horse and ride it. But I’ll need a prescription for Xanax first.

That’s the scratched area, under the double ‘L’. I’m so happy this boat is made of steel.

Shell shocked from this failure on so many levels, I sat in the salon and tried to put myself together while Mike went to check on the bilge pump. I’m listening to him move around in the engine room and I hear him say ‘OH SHIT!’. Mike doesn’t generally curse. It’s beneath his nature and it’s undignified. But anyone would curse when they have just determined that the reason the bilge pump is coming on is because the shaft seal is leaking. And the reason the shaft seal is leaking is because one bolt has come completely out and another bolt came out in his hand when he touched it. The other two were finger loose. This is worthy of many curse words, most worse than what he said. Somehow the lock washers the mechanic used for this piece did not hold. In fact, they had been completely flattened. Maybe made of Chinese steel? I’m pretty sure they are not supposed to do that. Likely that terrible noise we heard was that first bolt being thrown. He found it under the engine.

The leak was considerable but not a gusher. Still, it was a solid stream of water that had the bilge pump coming on every 15 minutes or so for a few seconds.  Mike called the mechanic and told him the bad news. Then we arranged for someone to take care of Skippy for another night and Mike called in to take today off from work.  We had to spend the night on the boat because there was no way we were going to leave a boat with that kind of leak.  Mike tried everything to get the leak to stop but was unsuccessful because he doesn’t have the right tools. The mechanic, chagrined to say the least, said he’d be out there today to fix it and this time he would use nylocks on the thing. I’m sure he will. I’m also sure that from now on Mike will be checking that thing every single time we take the boat anywhere. Add ‘check shaft seal bolts’ to our checklist.

Discouraged, but knowing this would be put right, Mike continued looking into the problem with the gear shift. I went back to my settee, tired as dirt and emotionally drained. After a few minutes I heard Mike say one simple word: ‘No.’   It was almost a whisper. This word, so small and insignificant, was uttered with such complete despair that I was off my settee and flying across the salon in an instant. He was white as a sheet, standing there with an oil dipstick in his hand. He literally looked like a man who had been been given a death sentence. I thought he had somehow injured himself. But he looked up at me and said, ‘There is water in the oil.’ This is a death knell for an engine like ours. Standing there together we both felt the same way. We were just done. We felt utterly defeated.

So let’s just pause and regroup here. That’s a terrible docking experience, a stuck gear shift, a leaking shaft seal, and water in the engine oil. All. At. One. Time. And, for the uninitiated among you, these are completely unrelated incidents! (Except for the shifting and docking fiasco. Those are completely related.) Oh, and one other minor inconvenience: when I was crashing into the other boat, Mike was running to the aft deck to be closer to the real action and put his foot through the lovely cockpit enclosure. Now the back starboard panel has a huge hole in it.  Meh. That just adds insult to injury. I’ll fix the hole and we’ll use it anyhow. We’re getting a new one in a couple of years. But still. It’s just another slap down.

One more time: Our engine has 3 hours on it. It has been installed to specs by a certified mechanic. The engine started the first time and ran like a dream. And yet, there is water in the oil. I have to write it again, because I still just cannot believe it.

No damage to the beloved swimstep. How did we manage that?

Another call to our mechanic, who had the grace to pick up the phone, and now it looks like we have a warranty claim on this brand new engine. Shawn was very good at talking Mike off the ledge. He reminded us of the warranty. He was trying to make us feel better. He wanted to keep Mike from panicking. In fact, he said ,’Don’t panic.’.  But it was pretty much too late for that.

Instead, we both went up to the bathrooms to take long hot showers, hoping to wash the stench of our failure down the drain. It didn’t work, but at least we were clean. We ate Thai food and drank beer. That’s two beers in one day for me. One to remember the day, and one to forget about it.

A trip to the grocery store to get milk for my coffee the next day also found two packages of chocolate cookies in the cart. When the going gets tough, always eat chocolate. It’s been known to cure many things.

We spent the night on the boat to guard her. Then did a few small tasks to just make us feel better and re-engage with the process. Then we went home.

As of tonight the mechanic has stopped the leaking shaft seal, but neither he nor the distributor can figure out where this water has come from and, of course, the engine is completely out of alignment now anyway. There was 1 1/2 quarts of water in that engine. Mike and Shawn had run the engine for 40 minutes after putting the fluids in it initially and everything had tested fine. Mike hasn’t added any fluids since then. The exhaust elbow was dry. And he has done some kinds of tests on the engine and found that it does not appear to be damaged. But this needs to be figured out. Last night we were worried we would have to have this engine pulled. Today it looks like they might be able to replace whatever part is malfunctioning. Maybe a heat exchanger inside the engine? But until we figure it out and get the repair done, we will be at the dock. The rewards of boat ownership feel further away than ever.

I know that mechanical minds will have a lot of questions about the engine installation and what’s going on now. I’m writing this post because Mike needs to get away from this subject for awhile, even though he would be able to talk about this with more technical data. Ask your questions in the comments section, if you have any, and he’ll get back to you when his brain isn’t fried.

My current mantra is credited to my friend Cidnie: If it was easy, everyone would do it. Said in rosary fashion, tall rum-based drink in one hand, it actually helps quiet the voices in my head.

Now here are some soothing garden photos.

These are bleeding hearts. Appropriate, no?

The lovely helleborus.

The Himalayan lily.

In the rock garden.

In the rock garden. Pulsatilla.

 

 

 

 

 

40 thoughts on “Get Back on That Horse and Ride!

    • Definitely soldiering on. Yes, we well remember the post you wrote about water in your engine. This is not the same issue, but I’m sure the feelings are exactly the same. It will be sorted out in the end.

      • Yes, issues differ but that gut dropping feeling is all the same no matter the cause. That motor is under warranty. And paint can be fixed on the other boat.

        I remember when we first installed our engine, it would stutter and die sporadically. It was a bad feeling and we had no mechanic to turn to. It took a while but we found the problem and sorted it out.

        New systems always have bugs. But that is what warranties are for. We’re rooting for you.

        And PS, don’t sweat the people shouting from the dock. You may not have had a way to tell them you weren’t a “rube”, but imagine how it is for those of us, like myself, that are rubes!

  1. My goodness . . . . I want to say “welcome to sailing” . . . but that is a bit harsh and it only popped into my mind as a similar thing happened to us and that is all the sympathy I got! Yikes! First, a fabulously written piece. I am sorry to focus on that first, in, what must be a traumatic time (of course it is!) . . . but your ‘grab’ was great . . . (I’d been dithering about using swear words in my next blog . . I do swear (like a trooper) but rarely write it!) – so thanks for that . . .as for the boat . . . the engine, the water (!) the dodger . . . let me give you an electronic hug and say you will laugh about this one day! When we put in our new engine, duly doing the complete range of revs, the morse code jammed at FULL REVS, while heading for rather low bridge(!) – Mariah had dug her arse right in and we couldn’t stop (too scared to kill the brand new engine!) – . . . You both did an amazing job – you both got back safely – in one piece – that is a definition of a successful voyage, I don’t care what anyone says. It could have been far worse (I know, it doesn’t feel like that now!) – but you didn’t hurt yourselves – you can fix the boat, you can’t fix trapped, broken, mangled limbs . . . . so hats of to you both. Take what you’ve learned – feel chuffed as you’ve had a successful voyage and have another beer . . . can’t wait to read more . . . hang on in there . . . . hugs.

    • Jackie, you’re a doll for NOT saying welcome to sailing! Too true, though, and don’t we know it. It could have been far, far worse and we were very lucky that there were no other boats around to be creamed besides that very stout very steel fishing boat. It does help to have very experienced people like you help put this in perspective. Here’s to meeting in a fine anchorage someday!

      • Absolutely! You guys ARE experienced, you came away from the dock and had another go when it wasn’t quite right THEN you managed to dock through the mayhem! I’ve seen people with “Years and years” of experience, not come back for another go because it’s not cool! (ie the mentality of must do it first time – ridiculous). Anyone who hasn’t hit another boat or run aground or had some problems isn’t out there doing it! Can’t wait to read more! See you on the water some day!

        • Mayhem is a good word for it. I know we really got off easy. Definitely looking forward to meeting up one day!

  2. The boat is docked. You and Mike are on land and able to sort this out with the benefit of Shawn the mechanic and nearby shops and services. It’s all going to be okay. Hard to take it all at once, but so much better to happen NOW then say near a remote fishing village in Central America. Hang in there, chin up and keep on keeping on. <3

    • And gin. There was gin at home. Here’s to hoping they can make the engine right without taking it out again. Cheers!

  3. Well, Hell!

    The world hasn’t ended, yet. When I read water in the oil, my first thought was Tate and Dani. This will pass and you’ll both be enjoying yourselves once again.

    • We thought Tate and Dani, too. And too right, the world hasn’t ended yet. It’s a new day and it will all get sorted eventually.

  4. Funny… I thought of Tate and Dani’s post as well…. It is too bad my stepson doesn’t live here… I would be sending you to him (He is a massage Therapist)… I KNOW things will get straightened out, but to get hit with all of that… at once! Completely overwhelming! I feel bad that I had the opposite kind of weekend… got the newly refurbished back on and went for a short sail on Sunday with the new slick bottom… it was really nice… You WILL get there… hang in there! and of course, if there is anything I can do, just let me know!

    • Glad you are enjoying your boat, John. I look out at the water from my office window and think if we still had Moonrise we’d be out there enjoying this beautiful sailing weather. I guess we have to give that up until we get this boat sorted. At least SOMEBODY is sailing!

  5. Wow… I feel your pain. That was a rough one. No way around it.

    Every sailor has their own way of coping with those days (I’m definitely in the “resorting to expletives camp.” Profuse expletives) because, eventually, we all seem to have them. No, it’s not always the same sequence or type of events, but for some reason, what helps me is just knowing that, yeah, other people, too, have felt that gut-wrenching, soul-crushing, stomach-dropping feeling of rapid and repeated hammer blows to their dreams.

    I find that those folks are generally good company to be in!

    So, maybe that doesn’t work for you, and something else does, and I’m glad it sounds like you’re both finding it.

    But in case it does help, and not in any way to minimize or diminish your ultra-bad day, we’ve been there too! Welcome aboard!

    • Scott, it definitely helps to know we aren’t alone in this thing! Many thanks for your warm comment. I enjoy reading your stuff on Three Sheets NW!

  6. Hang in there. It gets better.

    I promise there will be a time when you are sitting in a turquoise clear water cove, sipping a cold beer on a sunny day, watching a dolphin jump and play in the distance as you listen to the sound of waves ever so gently lapping onto a private sandy beach of a deserted tropical island. On this day you will know all of the anguish you articulate in this post has diminished.

    Mark

    Mark and Cindy – s/v Cream Puff
    http://www.creampuff.us

    • I’m going to take your word for that and hold on tightly to it! I just want to hear from the dealer that this will be completely covered by warranty. No reason why it shouldn’t be, but I need to hear those words.

  7. So sorry about all of the problems. I enjoy your blog and will be sending positive thoughts your way. I, too, am worried about learning how to dock our new boat and I am glad to know I am not alone.

    • Thanks for your sweet comment, Bev. I look forward to reading your blog. You are definitely not alone. If you want to read a real horror story that makes ours pale in comparison, take a look at the comment above by SA-ET. Ouch. That one really hurt!

    • That’s what I hear, Cheryl. of course there have been many times on Moonrise when docking didn’t go just right. We just have to move on from it. And start the troubleshooting on that engine.

  8. The soothing garden pictures are pure magic! I think everyone should have pictures like these pasted up all over their boats so that whenever bad things happen, they can pour a glass of vino (or rum based drink), look at the pictures and forget (if at least just for a moment) all those crappy moments that come with owning a boat. Great mantra – keep chanting. Cheers – Ellen

    • So glad someone feels the same way about the garden as I do! I will miss the garden. But nature’s garden awaits! Still chanting here..

  9. Oh My! I have been SOO incredibly busy at work an my free time at home minimal for over a week now that I have saved reading and commenting on this post until I had the time.

    What a day to end all days. Geesh, it almost leaves you speechless. I suppose the only other things that could have happened would be the rig to fail and a hole to appear in the bottom. I can feel your pain through your genius use of words in this post.

    I’ve never experienced anything quite that terrible all in one day but I can relate to the feelings. Our engine as Tate said didn’t work right for a few months while we tracked down an air leak. That dreadful day when we also found water in our engine, although we never ran it with water it in, and some other days when I spent so much time on refit, like the hull to deck caulk joint that I painstakingly redid after realizing 20 hours of work was wasted. The feeling sucks and sometimes you just want to call the whole thing off!

    But one thing always comes to mind at moments like these and that is usually things can only look up. You now have dealt with so many blows at once your future in comparison should be bright and thankfully you are still in shore to deal with them.

    I’m so glad Mike had a trusted local mechanic help install the engine, that will help I think in any warranty dealings you may have. Personally If it was some problem with the engine creation itself I would want a new one, I mean you need it to work far off shore! But whatever the outcome I hope one of these days now that the winter is subsiding you can get out there for much more of a pleasure sail and take her back to your home.

    Wishing you smooth resolution to all of these issues!

    • Thanks, Dani. Yes, with so many things hitting us at once I feel sure we should be able to make a big deposit in our sailing karma kitty soon. We are very grateful for Shawn, our mechanic. He is a very popular guy around here and we feel lucky that he has taken us on. I’ve never been so happy to spend money in my life. You know, we are completely the
      do-it-yourself types with two house remodels under our belts and years of other projects as well. But with the engine, it has paid off many times to have someone who does this for a living be ‘in charge.’.

      • Sometimes, it’s a job for the professionals. Tate and I also had a guy who had installed about 30 of the beta marines 38’s in Westsail 32’s. Invaluable!

  10. I found your site via bumfuzzle.com and I can hardly wait to catch up on your adventures.

    I ‘d like to say that sometimes you need to stop and count your blessings, for instance…it’s been a week between your post and my reply. You have probably resolved the issues by now and will soon be back on the water enjoying a beer again. For myself, and many others, tomorrow will find me fighting traffic to go to my office where I will spend my day and my energy working hard to solve problems for other people so I can have insurance and a paycheck. Something I will do again the next day and the next day…. All this while you have an adventure, a beer in the sun, all with your best friend on an incredible sailboat. The day on the water wasn’t as smooth as it could have been but it wasn’t a disaster. Nobody bleed and the boat didn’t sink, both key considerations. These issues will pass and soon you will sail over the horizon to more adventures.

    Thank you for sharing your life with strangers like me. It gives me hope that some day I too will go to the sea.

    • Keith,

      Thanks for putting this in perspective. Both Melissa and myself have done much the same in the last week, “talking ourselves off the ledge” and as our diesel mechanic continues to repeat. This is a machine; it can be fixed. Yes, this is definitely a first world problem but it is a problem nonetheless.

      However, for a quick update, we are making good progress at cleaning out the water, We have changed the oil four times now and the engine sounds great. In short, there is no long term damage and we have identified what needs to be done to prevent the issue in the future.

      And I can relate to the sense of quiet desperation so many of us feel in a life that seems to be constructed around work that is not fulfilling in some way. Again, that is a first world problem. In fact, Melissa and I continue work full time at our real jobs while working on this boat. That is exhausting and not sustainable for more than a couple of years but we can do it because we have a goal in front of us that makes the effort seem worthwhile.

      Thanks, for visiting our blog and continuing to read. Maybe you will see your way to your own adventure soon.

  11. Michael and Melissa, I just took this season’s maiden voyage – actually just a few hours day sail. As always, after not sailing for several months (or even motoring the boat from and back to dock) it is renewed beginner’s fright (even though I’m not really a beginner). All went well with today’s cruise, I’m pleased to tell, but it has not always been that simple. I’ve been aground, hit another boat and have had serious engine related difficulties that have resulted in some “blue air” around me. You’ll truck on as will I. After all, we are adventurers. If we lose (or abandon) that we’ll probably have to check ourselves into some sort of rehab clinic or mental health facility. Love your dream, and your new vessel looks lovely. Larry B Scary, Crimson Lady

    • Larry,

      We are not a little jealous that you are out actually Sailing your Catalina 34. but I get the sense of subtle trepidation of taking the boat in and out of the slip after a long winter’s nap. However, you have about the best slip in the whole marina (no fairway, just open water behind you) so I don’t think you can get into too much trouble.

      Thanks for the encouraging words. When the boat is up here we will definitely be plying you with Dead Guy Ale so you can help us solve some design issues.

  12. It’s back on the horse so that the horse doesn’t get the idea that it’s able to rid itself of the rider. – Reinforcing at the same time that the child can’t get away from riding lessons either is purely coincidential of course. 😉

    You did not break people. So the most important part, no human fenders, got applied by both of you AND(!) the spectators. You did not break other boats (that much) either. The rest is something to work on. =)

  13. Pingback: D is for Death by Docking | Little Cunning Plan

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