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Today, No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) was scheduled for a trip to the boat yard. When I practiced docking a few weeks ago, her drive shaft threw a bearing. (I swear that was NOT my fault!!) We also want to add a new thru hull so the kitchen sink will drain directly into the water instead of into the sump pump. The sump has failed twice now and, when it does, it overflows into the bilge. Old coffee grounds, grease, and other yucky, rotting muck are NOT something you want floating around in your bilge. That can stink to high Heaven! (And, yes, we throw away leftovers and we have a strainer in the kitchen sink drain but it doesn’t catch everything.)
While it’s already been six weeks since I learned how to dock the boat, I was still feeling pretty confident so I told Capt. Brian I wanted to back her out of the slip. He said okay and we called our Dock 4 friends, Stephanie, Diego, and Allan, to ask if they’d come help. They and Max would handle the lines, and keep a watchful eye on our surroundings while Capt. Brian would stand by the helm, talking me through this perilous procedure. Once everyone tossed the lines, my stomach flip-flopped a bit. I ran a very real risk of turning the boat at the wrong time, and either hitting a piling with the bow, or hitting a boat behind us with the stern.
While regaling you with a tale of high winds, waves, and a hairy, heart-stopping experience would be fun, that’s not what happened. A northeast wind was blowing gently and I was able to ease Tanny out of the slip without incident. Once Diego told me the bow had cleared the last piling, I followed Brian’s instructions. Turn the wheel all the way to the right. Once she’s turned enough, put her slowly in forward, turn the wheel to the left, and bump the bow thruster a few times until she’s straightened out.
It took only minutes and I didn’t hit anything at all, nor even come close to a piling, much to everyone’s relief. We were on our way and I steered her into Tampa Bay, toward the channel that would then lead us past the Coast Guard station, and into Salt Creek. There were a TON of crab traps so the trip was like navigating a fun obstacle course. There was also a regatta of small sailboats that I had to steer around. (Thank goodness I didn’t have to pass THROUGH them!)
Once we got to Salt Creek, I let Capt. Brian take over. It’s very narrow, with boatyards and docks on either side. He had to pass a motor yacht and the vessels were only two feet from each other. That was a bit hairy.
By the time we approached Embree Marine (which is EXCELLENT, by the way), the manager, Chad, was walking out to help us dock. Brian pulled up alongside the dock on our port side without incident. It was perfect, in fact! Everybody secured lines and we disembarked.
We’re staying in downtown St. Pete until Tanny is done at the boat doctor. I can’t wait to take another shot and docking her when we get her back! 🙂
NEXT: NAUGHTY NAUTICAL TERMS!
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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.
Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.