Rainbows End in the Water

Stories From Other Cruisers: “I Didn’t Push Him Over, I Swear!”

Sunday April 27, 2014

Rainbows End in the Water

 s/v Rainbows End


It’s my favorite time of the month again, where I get to share your funny stories of cruising days gone wrong.  Do I love it so much because of all the hilarious things that happen to people besides ourselves, or just the fact that I get out of writing something of my own for a day?   Hmmmm, I think it’s a little bit of both.

Thank you so much to Ellen of The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick for being my first volunteer to give me a story for this segment.  You could all learn from her.  (I’m trying to give you a hint that you should all send me more stories) In this month’s story, taken right from Ellen’s post, there’s a familiar explanation of partner communication gone wrong, along with some tv show drama daydreaming, which leaves one person in the water at a very unfortunate time. *All photos have been taken from the Cynical Sailor.


I Almost Killed Scott the other day.

The key word here is “almost” – there was bleeding and a few swear words, but Scott survived. Which is good because I’ve kind of grown fond of him. And he makes a really good egg and cheese breakfast burrito so he is a keeper. Here is how this little drama unfolded…

Take two people. Put them in a sailboat. Make sure at least one person knows how to sail because the other person probably forgot everything she learned the previous summer because her brain can’t possibly retain information on sailing for seven months. There is limited capacity up there and the sailing information has had to be replaced with the plot details about who has done what to who in season 2 of Scandal. {Please, no spoilers about the second half of season 2 or season 3.} Then add in some wind so that you can spice up a docking maneuver. The docking maneuver should have been routine and had in fact been successfully completed just two days earlier. This leads everyone to believe that it will all be just fine. The fools. 

Have your skipper head into the dock against the wind so that it slows the boat down. Get your least experienced crew member situated with a mooring line on the bow so that she can jump down to the dock and secure the boat. In the future, remember to tell your least experienced crew member to stop thinking about the next episode of Scandalduring the docking maneuver because it might be a bit distracting. If you’re the inexperienced crew member, start to feel somewhat clever because you remember reading somewhere that you shouldn’t make a big jump onto the dock and instead just lightly hop down to it. Once you realize that the dock is too far away for your short little legs, tell the skipper that it is too far to jump. But make sure you do so in a normal tone of voice because you’ve been told you sometimes speak too loudly and your voice carries. Then wonder why the skipper asks you why you haven’t jumped yet. Panic and jump. Panic some more then pull the bow line in smartly. While you’re doing this, your skipper should put the engine in neutral and jump onto the dock with the stern line. Make sure to pull on the bow line just when he is over the water so the boat drifts off astern and he falls into the water. Such fun. Such entertainment for everyone that is watching the maneuver. 

At this point, there might be some naughty words being said. You can’t be sure about this because the water might be muffling what the skipper is saying. When the skipper yells at you to come grab the stern line, make sure you drop the bow line because keeping hold of it would be far too sensible. Then watch the bow drift away and the skipper swimming in the water. Thinking quickly and somewhat in a panic, grab the lifeline to pull the boat in so it doesn’t completely drift off. Then panic some more that you are going to crush the skipper in between the boat and the dock. Good times. 

Somehow, the skipper manages to pull himself onto the swim platform and back onto the boat. Then off the boat to grab the bow line sitting on the dock. The skipper restores order. The inexperienced crew member goes down below and wonders if it is too early for a gin and tonic. The skipper thinks this is the exact moment to do a debrief of what went wrong. Because doing a “lessons learned” exercise is really important. Except all the inexperienced crew member can think about is whether there is still some lemon for the gin and tonic and isn’t listening at all to the skipper. Fortunately, years of marriage have taught her how to do the head nodding thing which gives the illusion that she is paying attention. 

And just to put some icing on the cake, make sure your gears get jammed up and won’t go into forward just when you’re trying to get off the dock and back to your mooring. This provides more entertainment for bystanders while you try to make your gears work all the while you’re drifting backwards because only reverse will work. 

The good news is that the skipper was wearing swim trunks already, didn’t have his wallet or phone in his pockets and the water wasn’t too terribly cold. He does have some pretty cuts and nicks from the barnacles on his arms, legs, hands and feet as a lovely memento of the event.

Cynical Sailor 2


*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at admin@mjsailing.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.


Stories From Other Cruisers: There Goes the Dink

Monday March 25, 2014


Jereme, Kim, & Oliver of s/v Laho


That’s right, it’s that time again where instead of telling funny stories or mishaps that have occurred to us, I’m sharing them from the other cruisers that are out sailing these seas with us.  You may ask why there was a two month lapse since the last one, and that’s because none of you are voulenteering up your stories.  Come on guys, I’m tired of hunting you down!  Plus I don’t have the Internet access for it anymore. I know you all have some good dinner table stories, I want to hear them!

Luckily one of my friends Kim on Laho Wind had quite the entertaining situation happen to them recently and I was ready to swoop in on it.  I’m glad that she shared, because having this happen your first week out can be a little embarrassing, but I think we’ve all assured her that we’ve done it at one point or another.  Keep reading for Kim’s account of what happened when she looked outside one morning and saw that their dinghy wasn’t there.  Here’s how it went down, according to Kim.  This story appears as it does on their blog post.  *All photos have been taken from LaHo Wind.


So, we’ve been using the dinghy davit lines to secure the dinghy behind the boat while still in the water (during the day).

But yesterday, it was starting to get pretty rough with high winds so we switched the dinghy being hooked up to the davits and instead cleated the painter line to the boat so the dinghy wouldn’t constantly bang against the boat.

Turns out, we didn’t check the pre existing knot attaching the painter line TO the dinghy, and it somehow came loose. :((((

The painter was still cleated on the boat while the dinghy & engine were long gone! The weird thing is we’ve been relying on that knot and have used that painter line to launch and stow the dinghy from the foredeck using winches — and it always held.

So what the heck do you do when you realize that your car has basically gone missing?

You freak out. Duh.

Oh wait, that’s just what I do. …a few tears were definitely involved. Lol.

No really, first things first, we called the marina to see if anyone had found/saved/returned it. (If you’re familiar with Boot Key Harbor, then you know that’s definitely a possibility — especially since our mooring isn’t too far from the end of the harbor and luckily the direction the wind was blowing).

The marina informed us that they had heard a report of a rouge dinghy and someone was possibly towing it in. Phew!!! That’s at least semi positive news.

We waited as patiently as possible while the marina staff went and checked for our dinghy at the dinghy docks. The whole time, I’m just thinking about how much our cruising budget is being blown from all these crazy issues. And now we might have to buy a new dinghy and engine? Not cool.

The marina finally called us back to say our dinghy WASN’T there! :(((

Oh no! Back to the drawing board. What now?

Jereme hopped on channel 68 on the VHF radio and was about to ask everyone in range if they had seen a loose dinghy. But just as we tuned in, there was someone talking about “our” missing dinghy!!!

Someone really had it!

Jer immediately chimed in that it was ours and the kind folks that saved it were nice enough to tow it back to our boat (they were only a few balls down from us). Phew!!!!!!!

Needless to say, we have retied that one knot and are being “extra” careful tying her up.

After telling our story to several other cruisers…many have said they’ve lost theirs before too. It happens. And if everything went smoothly, then we wouldn’t have any fun stories to share. Very true! …I’m sure we will always remember this day.

lost the dinghy



*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at admin@mjsailing.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.

Melody & Chris

Stories From Other Cruisers: Eye in the Sky

Tuesday December 31, 2013

Melody & Chris

 Melody & Chris of s/v Vacilando


It’s that time of the month again where we reach out to other cruisers to have them entertain us stories of their mishaps and generally entertaining lives.  This month’s segment comes from Mondo Vacilando, and was actually a story I requested to share here because I had read it awhile back and couldn’t get over how absurd and funny the whole situation was.  Read on as Chris talks about how taking your dog out for it’s daily duty can turn illegal if you’re dealing with the police force of Florida’s Space Coast. This story was written by Chris and pulled directly from his blog post.  *All photos have been taken from Mondo Vacilando.


Okay, I don’t even know where to begin or how to get this whole damn story in so I’ll just jump right in. Please do your best to follow along.  We have all been holed up in Titusville replacing some injector lines and waiting out a major front that blew through here over the last three days. Thirty plus knots of wind for days on end and it was maddening. We are, however, thankful that we were on a dock and not out on an anchor or mooring. That said, yesterday morning we woke up and the wind had dropped to 15-20 from the East. Now on most days that would make me rethink going anywhere but hell, 20 knots now is like a walk in the park compared to the bullshit we’ve had to deal with on this trip.  Anyway, we tossed off the half-dozen dock lines and hit it hard. Favorable wind and we pulled sail immediately. That is always good for a nice boost in the speed-over-ground department. Nine hours later we covered 65 miles and found ourselves at the sweet little anchorage by the Wabasso Bridge near Vero Beach. It’s a cool spot right off the dock of the Environmental Learning Center so it’s easy to take Jet ashore. And therein lies… the rub.

We dropped anchor around 5pm and immediately launched the dinghy…that’s our usual drill. I take Jet ashore and Mel finishes up her work for the day and then keeps an eye on the chartplotter to make sure we’re not dragging. Usually I’m hurried so I don’t grab my phone, ID or shoes for that matter. You see where this is going?  Anyway, we land on the dock and walk to a  little gate directly across the street from the Environmental Learning Center. It’s a nice place with a couple of small poles across the driveway with a pad lock and a sign that reads “CLOSED”.  I notice the beautifully manicured grounds that looked like a lovely spot to walk Jet as daylight slowly waned and promptly stepped over the knee-high impediment to exploration and walked in.  As I rounded the corner, Jet froze. His ears popped up and his gaze fixed. I was a second behind and then I saw it… crouched at the edge of the palm fronds and low in the brush was a freaking cougar! NO, not Courtney Cox… a real cougar. Eyes fixed on us and in the pounce position. HOLY SHIT… ran through my mind.  Jet didn’t move a muscle and neither did I.  Actually… neither did the damn cougar. It was a life-sized painted exhibit in the park!!! The freaking thing was so real it scared the crap out of me! But it did not scare the crap out of Jet. He would not poop. He just kept sniffing and was totally distracted. So we turned around and I thought better of walking farther into the park at dusk and headed back to the road across from where we were anchored.


This thing looked totally real at dusk!

Barefoot and donning my favorite black terrorist sweatshirt and black baseball cap, I walked Jet up this deserted road hoping he’d quit being distracted and get on with his “business”. I quickly lost patience after a good twenty minutes and did an about-face towards the dock and our dinghy.  Not to be the case.  As I about-faced, a cop car approaches and stops with a sheriff van immediately behind him. I think nothing of it because I’m a law abiding citizen and honestly, preoccupied with thoughts of a cold beer and a warm meal.  But no, they pull over in the middle of the street and open the doors and get out.  The sheriff says, “You the guy who just jumped the fence at the Environmental Learning Center?!”  I… with an amazing look of complete and utter stupidity say, “Jump the fence? What fence?  Oooooohhh, you mean the knee-high pole that keeps cars from driving through? Yeah, I guess technically speaking, I’m the guy who “jumped the fence.”  Just then,  a sheriff chopper… YES people an F’ing police helicopter circles over head of the cop car and the police van.  All for a shoeless man who “JUMPED THE FENCE” of the Environmental Learning Center.  Now… I have no ID. No cell phone and again… no shoes. The officer proceeds to read me the riot act, takes my name, address, phone number, social security number and goes to his car. The other dick-head, I mean officer, proceeds to “small-talk” me as if I’m an idiot. Which by now I’m beginning to believe I am.  The first officer gets out of the car and says, “I’m gonna need finger prints. I can’t find anything on you in Tennessee.”  To which I reply, “Of course you can’t FIND anything on me because there is NOTHING to find.”  No go.  He pulls out a digital device and I have to place my index finger and my middle finger (which I promptly displayed to him saying, “this one?”). Ten more minutes with Barney Fife numero dose… and officer one comes back with, “You’re cool. What’s your phone number again?”  I gave him my old fax number from Filmhouse. Sorry, Ron.  He says, “What are you doing here?” “Um, officer… I am traveling on my sailboat we are anchored just over there. Do you think the chopper is a bit much?” “Oh” he says, “They just buzz the scene whenever there’s a call.” Reeeeeaaallly.  Tax dollars at work.

Now… I’m going to bump up my usual cynicism here and say this.  When we travel, we use an incredible resource know as Active Captain. This site has the whole Intracoastal Waterway as a Google Earth format and you can see anchorages, bridges, docks, marinas… you name it. It’s how we found this little gem by the Environmental Learning Center aka: The Authority Nazi Dock.  Travelers can get on and post immediate reviews, warnings, notations or hazards and  all sorts of positives and negatives regarding all the stops along the way. It is a priceless resource and FREE! We use it all the time.  I tell you this because, on the way down, we stopped at a popular anchorage in the middle of a well-known military base (we won’t say the name so as not to draw attention to it).  The notes read something like, “Great anchorage. Tons of space. 10 foot depths and well protected from all directions. But it’s an active military base so don’t even THINK of taking your pets ashore.”  Well, there is no other place to take him ashore and since he has refused to go on the boat, I did.  I got in my dinghy with it’s loud and smoky outboard engine and Jet and landed that thing right on the sandy beach where they do their landing exercises. He peed on and sniffed every rock and shrub on the entire landing area while Melody chaffed my ass on the VHF to “Hurry up!!!”  Not once… did anyone ever ask me a question.  Not once did a single MP approach me and say, “Sir, this is a heavily guarded Military Base in the United States of America! You sir are OUT. OF. BOUNDS.  Now drop and give me twenty!” Not once.

But “JUMP THE FENCE” of the Environmental Learning Center in Vero Beach?  You get a cop, the Sheriff and choppers.  And THAT my friends is what is wrong with our great country. Common sense has crawled up a horse’s ass and died.


*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at admin@mjsailing.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.



Summertime Rolls 1

Stories From Other Cruisers: We’re In Deep Sh*t

Monday November 22, 2013

Summertime Rolls 1

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hammond Vaughan


Remember how last month I tried to start a new segment on the blog called Stories From Other Cruisers?  Well it turns out there were a few other people that had amusing  tales to tell, didn’t mind sharing them with me, and even better, didn’t mind me sharing them with you!  This month’s segment comes from my friend Rebecca on Summertime Rolls.  One morning her and her husband Brian went about doing some pretty regular boat chores and found out that sometimes the mundane can turn downright dirty.  Read on as Rebecca shares her story.  (Content taken directly from Rebecca’s post on Summertime Rolls.)


We woke up a little later than usual after a great night’s sleep at Harbour Towne Marina, and were thrilled that we could just take our time that morning.  As we’d be at anchor for at least two weeks, there were a few boat tasks we had to get taken care of, namely, pumping out our holding tanks.

We didn’t think they were too full, as when we’d sailed down from Palm Beach, we emptied them out once past the three nautical mile line.  However, we’re a little suspicious about our port aft head and if it is properly draining out when we open the tanks, and a good freshwater rinse of all the tanks would be a good thing.  Normally, I’m on Poop Patrol – I do the pump outs (we’ve found that most marinas will only give you the hose but you have to control it, not a big deal in my mind as I think I’ve got it down now), but I was down the dock getting the hose out when the dock hand gave Brian the pump out hose.  As I’m walking back, I hear a yelp, followed by expletives and see Brian rushing into the cabin.  As I get closer, I see lovely brown stinky splatter all over the deck.  Something, clearly, went haywire.

“Well, he doesn’t normally do it, he must have done something wrong”, I think, so I pick up the hose, insert the fitting into the tank opening, and turn the valve to Open.  Suddenly the hose jumps out of my hand and I, too, am completely covered in a fine misting of poopy water.

I’m guessing this probably hasn’t happened to you.  If you asked me a year ago if I thought it would happen to me, I’d say, um, no.  However, after living aboard for 9 months now, I figured it was only a matter of time before we’d have a pump out disaster.  Therefore, although I was totally grossed out about having poop on my face and body, I was surprisingly calm about it.  I stood there hollering for Brian (I couldn’t really open my eyes, you see, so I knew I’d need him to bring me a paper towel at least).  Finally he emerged and saw his beautiful wife covered in poop, and, of course, started cackling…”happened to you too?”

At this point the dock hand came back and was absolutely mortified.  “You closed the valve?  No, you should have just left it open!”  I’m sure he told Brian this, and even if I’d been receiving the instructions, since closing the valve to build up pressure then reopening is the trick to get the last dregs out of the tanks in every other pump out environment, I’d probably have forgotten what he said too.  So neither of us place any of the blame on him – it resides squarely on our shoulders for not paying attention.

Want to know how little poop fazes me anymore?  Once I was able to wipe off my face so I could see, I immediately took care of the other two holding tanks (following instructions this time!), and jumped into action and pulled out the deck brush, boat soap, and bucket and got started scrubbing down the deck.  There was brown spray everywhere, and I knew the longer it sat, the harder it would be to wash off.  After about 5 minutes, Brian basically ripped the brush out of my hands and told me to go get cleaned up.  “Um, sweetie, it’s, um…like still all over your face and arms…”  And once I looked in the mirror I saw he was right.  Eww!  Massive amounts of soap later, I felt moderately clean and came back up to see that my sweet husband had finished the job of getting the deck nice and white again.

So, we were reminded of one of life’s most important rules…always follow instructions or you’ll find yourself knee deep in sh*t.



*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at admin@mjsailing.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.

s/v Skebenga

Stories From Other Cruisers: Lost in Translation

Tuesday October 22, 2013

s/v Skebenga

 s/v Skebenga


Yes, I’m going to try and start yet another new segment here on the website. I hope that you’re not getting sick of or distracted by new things constatnly popping up, but I really think this one is worth a try and hope it will take off. The idea for it came to me during one of our many meals with the dinner club where we were sitting around with Luis and Luki and Elmari, once more going over stories of cruising experiences past. There’s a certain story that Luki and Elmari had told us looong before, but it was just so hilarious that I had them repeating it for me again.

As the story was being told for my enjoyment once more, an idea struck me. I thought to myself, ‘This story is just too funny, it needs to be shared! ‘. So in my mind was born ‘Stories From Other Cruisers’. As the name implies, it would be a segment where I gather stories from other cruisers on funny mishaps, troubles, or comical occurrences, and impart them here with you. Because honestly, there’s just too much hilarity in the cruising world for these stories not to be shared with as many people as possible. The very first volume comes courtesy of Luki and Elmari on s/v Skebenga, as told by me as a narrator.


Luki and Elmari found themselves in the country of Uruguay on the northeast coast of South America after having crossed the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa. As happens with most boats after any kind of travel, some replacement parts were needed to keep everything in working order and tip top shape. What they were in search of on this particular day was a 30 amp plug. Setting out on the streets of this Spanish speaking country, a language they were not very familiar with, they were given a tip that there were aprroximately four hardware stores along the main road of the town Periopolis they were visiting, and they should start with the furthest one out and work their way back in.

Trudging out through the dust and the heat they made their way out to the furthest shop and stepped inside. Luki, with his little speech prepared in Spanish, walked up to the man behind the counter and ready to ask for his 30 amp plug, stated, “Por favor, neccesito le chona de treinta amperios”. The man behind the counter cocked his head to the side a little, but without much thought, replied to Luki that he did not carry it and that he should try the next shop. Down the road they continued, where upon walking in the second hardware shop and asking the same question, were given the same answer. ‘I’m sorry, we don’t carry that. Try the next guy’.

By the time they walked into the fourth and final hardware store, the shopkeepers must have been conspiring between each other because the man here already had a grin on his face, as if he knew what this gringo was coming to ask for, when Luki walked through the door to ask for the fourth time, “Por favor, tiene le chona de treinta amperios”. Once again Luki was told that no, he did not have a ‘le chona de treinta amperios’, but this time Luki was finally able to figure out why. What he should have been asking for, a 30 amp plug, translated into Spanish as un enchufe de treinta amperios. What Luki had been going to every store and asking for so far, le chona de treinta amperios, was a 30 amp suckling pig. The real kicker of the story is that, not only did every shop keeper act as if it was an every day occurrence for someone to step inside and ask for a 30 amp suckling pig, but each and every one of them carried the 30 amp plug that he had been needing all along.



*If you would like to submit a story to be published in ‘Stories From Other Cruisers’, please email us at admin@mjsailing.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles ‘Stories From Other Cruisers’. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.