On Monday night, I took Scout outside at 8:30pm to go potty. Everything was quiet and normal. Scout did her thing in the parking lot and we headed back to the boat. As we crossed the metal bridge from the dockhouse to the floating dock, I noticed a bunch of smoke coming from slip #54. This slip contains a little-used cabin cruiser (I’ve never even met the owners) exactly in the middle of B dock.
It is funny how my brain tried to rationalize it. At first, I thought it was someone running their engine and it was just exhaust, even though it was dead silent. I just couldn’t connect what I was seeing. Then I saw sparks shooting from the electrical hookup and realized, OH SHIT.
Scout, in her usual fashion, had already started to hightail it back to our boat ahead of me. I frantically called her back before she got too close to the fire, and then decided I needed an adultier adult to help.
I banged on the closest boat to me, the Colonel’s boat. He is also a liveaboard, thankfully. He barreled out and grabbed a personal fire extinguisher off his boat. He put out the fire and switched off the fuse box while I called 911 from a safer distance.
Within 10 minutes it seemed like the entire Camp Lejeune fire department had arrived. They checked the hookup box and boarded the boat to check for damage inside. I had to give a statement regarding what I saw. Luckily, the fire was contained to where the power cords connected and nothing else was affected.
I think I saw the fire within minutes of it starting. I’m trying not to think too hard about what could have happened if it started in the middle of the night. The dock could have gone up, as well as some of the neighboring boats if it got really out of hand.
Hopefully this was a freak occurrence, a once-in-a-lifetime scare. I’m thankful that nobody got hurt and that the liveaboard community is so vigilant and prepared. We are here 24/7 to keep an eye on the marina and our boats!
It was race day on Saturday! The Ragged Point Yacht Club is made up of both sailboats and motorboats in Gottschalk Marina, and every month or so the RPYC hosts a sailboat race. They usually try to coincide with a holiday weekend to get the most sailors out on the water.
Everyone has been trying to get us to participate for months, but we’ve been pretty busy with Conor’s two deployments to Europe, my third trimester, and finally Miss W’s arrival (accompanied by intense sleep deprivation). I’m sad to say that actually using our sailboat for its intended purpose has taken a backseat to day-to-day life, and we’ve done zero winter sailing!
Needless to say, we had been itching to get back out on the water. Conor’s parents were visiting for the weekend and were enthusiastic about crewing a race. Because Baby W is still a bit too small for me to feel comfortable taking her as a 5th crew member on our own boat, we had to figure something else out.
Our slip neighbor, Tom, offered to take Conor and my in-laws out on his boat instead. Tom is an AMAZING sailor and worked as an instructor and delivery captain for years. He gave everyone some great (free) instruction for the 3 hr race. It paid off, because they won! What was the cost of this great experience? A couple beers and an exchange of stories.
Looking back, we should have started crewing races in California. I think we were just too intimidated to walk down to Oceanside harbor with a six pack and ask around. Who would want people with hardly any experience to crew a boat? Wouldn’t it be more trouble than we’re worth? What if we messed up on someone else’s boat?
Now that we know the culture, I laugh at our assumptions. No matter the skill level, if you love sailing, other sailors want to hang out with you! I promise it is true. You automatically have things in common with a great group of people. You don’t even need to own a boat to be part of a sailing or yacht club. The RPYC welcomes anyone who wants to participate. So if you’re reading this and want to come out and try a race, please send me a message on our contact page! You can come crew on our boat when we race, or I can help hook you up with some other captains at the marina. Don’t be scared!
The kitchen table is dropped down 90% of the time now, our navigation station is for diaper changes, and despite all the coffee I’m drinking, I can’t seem to get anything done on the manuscript I’m trying to edit. There’s laundry piling up, Scout is going stir-crazy, and W won’t nap. I’m not even going to show you the v-berth. If anyone has any survival tips, now is the time to give them!
Today marks 1 week of ridiculous winds, and I am officially going insane. This Nor’easter is kicking our butts. Literally, the butt of our boat is taking the brunt of this weather and loudly drops up and down all day and night. Gale force winds last weekend and now high seas/chop have rendered it difficult to leave the boat.
At least I can find solace in the fact that this past week has been abnormal for the region. One of the other liveaboards told me that in all his years, he had never seen the wind blow so hard for so long here. Abnormal seems to be the theme for our first year on the boat: a fearsome hurricane season, a freakish bomb cyclone in January, and now a blustery March. Fingers crossed that next year will be milder on all accounts!