I’m not a mom so I can’t confirm this, but I assume there are days when you look at your unruly kid and think “Is it too late to give you to someone?” Because no matter how much you love them, they know every single button to push in the right order to make steam come out of your ears. I was an angel so I’m pretty sure none of the adults that raised me experienced this, but from what I gather, there are some brief moments when you just want to run and hide from your offspring and drink your coffee in peace while you pretend you can’t hear them shouting “Mommy! Daddy!”
Sometimes, Small World does the same thing to us. A good friend of ours saw us on one of those days back in Seattle and recognized the look in our eyes. “Ahhhhh it’s a Dollar Boat Day,” he said. He made us take a break from our project, invited us to his boat, and made us drink a beer. He explained that there are days when we as boat owners get so frustrated with a project, that if someone walked by and offered to buy the boat for a dollar, they’d be the proud new owners.
Craig, as the Chief Futzer, has experienced far more of these moments than I have. But the day we left Santa Cruz Island to head to Catalina Island was a terrible, no-good, rotten, lousy day that had both of us questioning our sanity and commitment to this little adventure of ours.
I’ve written some long posts recently so I’ll try to keep this a little shorter, for all our sakes, and just go with a list on this one.
- 4:30AM wake up call. Fuck that. We’re already off to a terrible start.
- Since the wind was so crazy for the previous two days, the dinghy still had to be hoisted on deck and lashed in place with the exposure canopy and cover. Physical labor at that hour, within minutes of waking up is just rude.
- As we were weighing anchor, the windlass gave out. Craig had to hoist the remaining 30ft of chain and the 70lb anchor by hand.
- Craig dropped the anchor wash-down hose into the chain locker while it was on, pumping a bunch of saltwater into the boat.
- Since we were trying to get on the road (is there a sailing version of that phrase?) as early as possible, we decided to eat breakfast after we were already underway. The sea state was a fucking mess so Craig had a rough time in the galley. He was beyond hangry at this point and spilling everything, banging his wounded knee into everything, and having all the electronics suddenly turn off was not helpful.
- Since the sea state was crazy and there wasn’t enough wind for sailing, I got seasick. Just enough to let me know that I probably shouldn’t eat anything other than goldfish crackers.
- The US Navy hailed us and made us change course – by a lot – to avoid an underwater active shooting military training (or something like that). There’s a lot that goes into this specific point.
- I had to go below to talk to them on the radio (Craig was busy pooping) so I got more seasick.
- When Craig flushed, the tank odor was INTENSE and did not help in the seasick department.
- The course change made it impossible for us to get to Catalina Island before nightfall so we had to come up with a new plan on the fly.
- Our new heading was even more uncomfortable and I was basically down for the count in a last-ditch effort to avoid vomiting. This was the moment when I just wanted the day to be over and realized there were many hours between us and an anchorage and I almost cried.
- The bow was getting buried in almost every wave. A plank was ripped from the bowsprit and Craig got drenched when he went up there to re-secure the anchors.
- We got the hydrovane set up so Craig could sail solo while I tried to keep the goldfish in my stomach. Suddenly Craig is shouting that we need to strike the hydrovane and hand steer because it can’t maintain a course and we just gybed unintentionally (that can be dangerous and cause lots of damage). I informed Craig that he accidentally hit a button on the autopilot that made the boat turn. After we got everything back on course, he hit the button again.
- Our chart plotter is currently being repaired so Craig was using our paper charts to find a new spot for the night. The detailed chart for the anchorage he picked was blown overboard and lost forever. RIP.
- During a sail change, Craig’s favorite hat flew off his head and into the water. He insisted that we try to go back for it, even though we had lost sight of it. I managed to litrally sail over it, but it was just too deep for the boat hook to reach and now it’s gone forever. RIP.
At some point, we gave up hope that the day would get better and just started to dread what else might go awry during the remaining hours of the day. Dolphins tried to cheer us up, but we were despondent. (I’m exaggerating on this point because dolphins always cheer me up. I’m not a total scrooge. Give me some fucking credit.) But we made it onto a mooring ball in Redondo Beach without any additional mishaps and raced ashore to the neon lights in search of fried food and booze. Chicken tenders and fried pickles never tasted so good.
As a side note, the next day, a boat was destroyed entering the harbor about 200 yards from Small World. All the people aboard are okay, and we were extremely happy to be safe and sound behind the breakwater. Plus we made a few friends.