Pirate of Pine Island dismasted and nearly sunk!
Ahoy me mateys, ere be de story I promised and for the rest of the crew wot''s watching be mindfull dis ere Pirate does what most fear to do and lives to tell de tale. Aye there be many a fine sailor on these boards and I be not the one to judge others motivations or commitment to sailing, I live to sail and de truth is de truth. Ere goes.....
Me 9yr old cabin girl and I left Burnt Store marina on Friday afternoon (courtesy of SEA TOW), I suspect the fine dandys at Burnt Store had had enough of dis disreputed and disheveled vessel dragging down de slip values whilist I made some repairs from me last trip into de gulf. Anchored in Charlotte Harbor a mile south for de night and completed me repairs by noon the next day. We headed due west toward Boca Grande at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor and what little breeze we had carried us into the middle of de Harbor. By 3:00 PM De typical thunderstorms from de east was sucking a nice breeze into de harbor from de gulf and when I ordered me cabin girl to square away for a bit of a blow whereupon she asked " when". "I says right about now" and fifteen seconds later we are layed over by 40 knots of squall with full sail up. De harbor turned de color of cement me cabin girl told me and we pitched about wildly as I luffed and dropped de sails, de de anchor. After about an hour of rain so hard ye couldn''t see yer feet she let up and we headed off on a broad reach in fifteen konts of breeze for the cut bewtween Pine Island and Useppa Island. For those of you dat don''t know''s it, the intercoastal on de West coast is a channel about fourty feet wide and 5-9 feet deep at MLL surrounded by flats, islands and submerged obstrustions. By de time I starts to make me course in de cut the wind was shifting to head me off and de sun which never did come back out faded from de sky altogether. I deciedes to cut inside a mark seeing de chart says I might could get away wit it. Healed over at twenty degrees me keel seemed safe enough. 100 feet from de mark she gounded on de falts and stopped. So much for cutting corners! I tells me cabin girl to make some grubb and we swim and I catches me a fine Snook and watch de tide keep going out. Bout 10 bells we be leaning 30+ degrees and me cabin girl says she can''t keep from falling outten her bunk so I tell her to sleep in me bunk on de low side and I''ll sleep on de floor. Tired and drunk I''m asleep in seconds and I be dreaming of taking a nice bubble bath with Jennifer Lopez when I wakes up at 2 bells floating in me cabin!!!! Aye I said floating!!! I tells Jennifer to get offen me and I looks for de source of me problem. (galley sink through hull tee''d into de bildge bump line is under water). So''s I pump her out and since tide was comming back in by now once the water was out de hole in me hull was above water again I goes back to me dream wit Jenny but''s I got to smack her in de mouth cause shes pouting cause I made her wait! Women!! At six Bells I finish wit me wench and me anchor (set off de stern de night before) did de trick and were floatin free and upright. So I sails all day fighing de wind and de channel markers and de rubbrnecking stinkpotters parade (and a few misbegotten foul sailors under power) , but make a good course and within sight of de Yacht Club At Cape Coral wit de wind blowing fifteen knots in the open bay I''m making for me anchorage in one last push and I hits a de only spec of an oyster bar on de chart , stops dead and as I goes back to back wind de Mizzen to crank me off ,I leans outten de boom to tighten de back haul( mizzen boom over hangs me stern by about four feet) And BANG de mizzen mast droppes literally at me side and impales itself on de bar as well!!!! I''m stunned. Standing there on the after deck I cannot at first grasp what has happened. Then I do and I''m galvanised into action I grabs be bolt cutters from de cabin and as I start to cut the sail track I gets sick to be stomach at de thought of cutting de rigging away and I''m amazed that its so hard to squeeze the cutter, mentally. Like cutting off you own finger it hurts!!!. But it had to be done. Mast cleared and back on course I make me anchorage and call it a voyage. Aye whats dat you say? No... Pirates don''t have motors . What ? No depth finders either. HUH? no check valves on through hulls ,. who needs em! What? You got to be kidding dosen''t everyone have a 9yr old cabin girl? Impossible you say? Why would I check the spars after a big blow? Wot in de hell was a gonna do about it any way? Lasted all day didn''t it? AARRGGHH I be de Pirate of Pine Island , Aye ye can laugh at me forty year old broken down vessel and me arroagance and me cruel toungue. But you got to ask yourself de real question,,,,, What did you do this weeekend?? AARRGGHHH. I thought so.