Stolen Outboard – Sept 9, 2015 Facebook post

Reprint of a Facebook post I did on September 9, 2015. Slight edits, now that the frustration of that day has worn off a bit!!!

We had an unusually exciting day today, even more so than usual. I’m not going to bore you with all the details – it would be too painful!!

03:00 Sue wakes to an unfamiliar sound. I assure her that it’s just the rising chop slapping on the dinghy that is floating just outside the boat about a foot from our heads, and turn around to go back to sleep.

03:00:15 I jump awake at the realization of what I had just said! I had forgotten to raise the dinghy on the davits before going to sleep, which means I left it tied to the end of the two ½” hoisting ropes sitting in complete darkness – because the thing I do right after hoisting our dinghy is turn on the cockpit lights for the night, and of course since I didn’t hoist the dinghy, I didn’t turn on the lights either. So our dinghy was floating behind our boat in pitch darkness! “WAS FLOATING” being the key words here!

Stolen Outboard-6622

Gone!

03:01 I am in the cockpit with lights blazing staring at a void where our wonderful baby Purrr was supposed to be resting! Our dinghy was gone – stolen. Ropes and lock cut. Amazing how uncomfortable it feels to be anchored in the middle of a bay with no way to get to shore, except swim!

04:00, after an hour of slapping myself silly for forgetting to hoist the dinghy – for the first time every – I call it in to the coast guard, who tell us to stay put, they will send someone first thing in the morning. It wouldn’t be so bad had it been a “Martini” night, but it wasn’t, we hadn’t had a single drink! The anchorage was not the greatest holding and the weather unsettled – either one of those alone would be an alcohol deterrent! Nope, I had nothing/no one to blame but myself!

Stolen Outboard-6642

paddle, paddle. paddle your boat….

07:00, as the bay gets light we spot our now naked dinghy (stripped of its heart, soul and muscle – it’s engine, gas tank gone) bouncing on the rocks along the shore about 200 meters away.

12:00 we give up on coast guard (I’m sure they have much better things to do) and raise anchor to head closer to town so we can paddle (since our dinghy is too large and not meant to be rowed, so not even equipped with oars) to shore to make a police report, so that we have at least one hope in hell to have our insurance provide a little misery relaxant!

12:10 our anchor chain, at the hands of a somewhat pissed off skipper (in other words, a skipper that wasn’t paying proper attention), refuses to fall nicely into the locker, gets jammed, bends the 1/2″ thick stainless part that is supposed to guide the chain into the locker and then instead of dropping nicely into the locker, insists on binding itself up on the windlass like the windlass was Houdini just before his last jump into a tank. This of course renders our anchor even more useless than our dinghy!

12:30 – 13:30 circling the town harbour hoping someone will notice the predicament we were in, although how could they, our boat looks perfectly fine, and have mercy on us and leave the town wall so that we could have a space to tie up. Fat chance!

Stolen Outboard-6665

We literally had to climb over nets and men to get to Purrr!

13:45 We squeeze between two giant earth mover tires (each one enough on its own to change the colour of our boat from white to black forever!) and tie up to a dock in the commercial harbour right across from the largest fishing trawler I have seen to date. No sooner did we have Purrr affixed to the pier when we were assaulted by a less than wonderful aroma of fish guts, empty beer bottles and rotting lunch bag leftovers. Since the alternative is to head to sea and set the autopilot to turn tight circles while we take turns sleeping and watching for freighter traffic, a smelly fish wharf didn’t seem so bad after all!

14:00 we find the first ray of sunshine (for me that is – since Sue had been quite occupied and feeling much better it seemed judging by her smile as she photographed the 20 or so bare-chested fisherkids that were working/showing off on the nets and posing for her pictures on the dock beside us), and as it turned out our savour of the day – Emrah Tasli. Emrah is a very nice young sailing instructor that worked for the Foca sailing club, and either Emrah took serious pity on us, or he just thought hooking up with us for the day could be better than anything else happening in Foca, and he didn’t want to miss any of the excitement!! Either way, he became our guide and savior of the day.

14:15 Emrah delivers us to the local stainless magician, who perfectly straightens the 1/2” thick piece of stainless, a part that is ironically if not appropriately, called the “breaker”, in less than 5 minutes! Our Breaker insisted, on several occasions now, to live up to its name, and bend/break itself into the shape of a hockey stick (for those of you that don’t know hockey, think check mark!) when it was supposed to stand proudly at attention and guide our anchor chain through the deck into it’s locker! (as long as the skipper pays proper attention, it will keep working nicely as it is supposed to, until the winter when we can do a proper repair!)

14:45 Emrah delivers us, and introduces us to the “highest police official” in the town, who by the way was all business. And since being an avid sailor himself and feeling sorry for our plight, he put at least 4 of his finest police officers on our case.

15:30 After almost an hour of statement taking and questioning by several of Foca’s finest, Two more of Foca’s finest, including one plain clothed CSI agent, delivered…. escorted us back to Purrr to inspect the crime scene and dust for fingerprints (seriously!).

18:30 Police, CSI and Emrah departed, and windlass monster tamed and ready to Purrr once again!

19:00 We untie and slip away from the fishing dock, and the many smiling young men, to head back to the scene of the crime for the night. At least they can’t steal our engine tonight!!!

01:00 (+1 day) We are finally about to go below to sleep! After spending 1 hour (19:30 – 20:30) peacefully at anchor; and the following 10 minutes (20:30 – 20:40) listening in amazement as the wind goes from about two knots to almost 30; about 3 more minutes (20:40- 20:43) looking at each other in amazement as we realize we are dragging our anchor and not so slowly drifting into deep water, in the same general direction the migrants would take; we then take at least 2 hours (20:43 – 22:45) to make four unsuccessful attempts (in 30knot gusts and complete darkness) to re anchor, each time lifting up enough seaweed to keep a chain of sushi restaurants supplied for 6 months – do you have any idea what it takes to clean 300 lbs of mud and seaweed off an anchor hanging 4’ beneath you with wind howling and the waves slapping against the hulls as your partner (very calmly and patiently I might add) steers the boat in circles!?!; another hour and a bit (22:45 – 24:00) motoring in no-moon-whatsoever-pitch-black-darkness (thank you radar, GPS and chart plotter!) around and between three deserted (so not even any shore lights to guide us) islands to anchor in the one place that we knew had good holding – the middle of a relatively narrow channel in front of a giant sailing resort that all the fishing boats and day-trippers in Foca use at least 3 times per day it seems, and that happens to be smack dab in the middle of the racing course that all of the resort dinghies, catamarans and windsurfers start using at 07:30.Stolen Outboard-6484

At the end of it all – we have our Dinghy, we have two good prospects to get a new motor by early next week (if not before), our windlass is working better than it ever has, our anchor is firmly on its way to China (which means we are not going to drag it all the way to Greece, and can sleep!), We have a copy of a police report, we made a new friend, the boat is barely rocking – just enough to be pleasant, We have our running lights on, a red strobe flashing and the cockpit lights on, which make us look like a mini cruise ship, and the forecast is still saying that this wind will start to calm down any minute now!

I’m pretty sure that today is not exactly what we were thinking when we decided to live on a sailboat, but I guess all in all, it could have been a lot worse!!

click on the pics to see more…

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