There is a boat at the end of our dock that, for as long as we have kept our boat in Oyster Cove Marina, has been called by the neighbors, Five Thousand Firm. Although the owner has never shown the least amount of interest in the boat, he was firm on his asking price of $5,000, hence the name. We have never seen the owner and the neglected vessel has been allowed to rot at the dock, unloved and untended. Not surprisingly, one windy night she found her way to the bottom.
Of course, the sinking occurred on Harbormaster Jason Koulouris′ day off and, of course, it wasn′t a simple case of setting the pumps on the boat to bring her back up to the top. Instead, when the boat grounded, she canted to starboard allowing the gunnel to become trapped under the dock. All hell broke loose when she started to float, and the rotten starboard side rail collapsed creating a major breach in the hull. When things go wrong, they really go wrong.
I came upon the scene after the boat had been re-floated. What had captured my attention and brought me out to investigate was Harbormaster Jason trying to lever the trapped boat out from under the dock using the marina workboat. “Holy Cow! What′s happening,” I inquired?
“It′s my day off,” said Harbormaster Jason, “I should be doing laundry.” I suppose there are some jobs that would make laundry look like an attractive alternative. Perhaps trying to drag a sunken boat out from underneath a dock would be an example of one of those kinds of jobs. The first thing my little eye spotted was a bit of bronze trim that had broken off the rub rail of the sunken boat. I have personally made the occasional “hard landing” and have sacrificed bits of my own bronze rub rails to Neptune. I would never be so bold as to claim salvage rights to harvest various bits and pieces from my neighbor′s boat, even though I had never met the man, but I do have to say I was sorely tempted and mentioned the fact to Jason. He said he was missing a few bronze trim pieces from his own Rough Water 44 but fortunately, these were the wrong size. 5K Firm is still barely floating at the end of the dock with all bronze trim present and accounted for. Harbormaster Jason is down every morning to check on her. I will keep you posted.
So, what makes a good neighbor? The question came up recently when a new neighbor walked directly on board the Dancing Dragon and knocked at the companionway. “Who the hell is that?” questioned Captain Sweetie from his recliner as the looming figure at the door was staring down on him.
Brad, a new neighbor, had stopped by to return a book I had loaned him. The young man in question is very friendly and seems to like the boating lifestyle. However, there are small courtesies and rules that need to be followed because we all live in such tight quarters. First Rule of being a good neighbor is; never board another boat without direct permission from the skipper. It would never occur to us to simply walk into someone′s home and the same holds true for boats. Only the United States Coast Guard has the authority to board a vessel without permission. When they inform you that they are coming on board, you have no recourse but to allow entry. Everybody else can stop at the companionway.
Second Rule for being a good dock neighbor is to keep your halyards furled away from the mast. For you non-sailors, a halyard is the line that pulls a sail up and down the mast. If they are left attached to the sail after the canvas has been furled and put away, the halyards tend to slap against the mast creating a dreadful din. Any metal hardware on the halyard only increases the cacophony. Oyster Cove is situated in a windy location and slapping halyards are infernally annoying, especially during the Dog Watch hours. Since the first rule is that you mustn′t board a boat without permission from the skipper, then consequently a slapping halyard will remain noisy until the owner is located and either chastised or decapitated.
The third rule for being a good neighbor is to return the dock carts to the gate house, where they belong, when you have finished using them. It is so bloody annoying to be in desperate need of a dock cart, then to have to go searching, only to find one left empty and abandoned outside of somebody′s boat.
Of course, the rules of common courtesy apply in boating, as in all walks of life. If you share a finger pier, please try to keep it free from clutter and coil any hoses or electric cords so that they are out of the way.
I am blessed with the very best neighbors. We all try to keep an eye out for minor problems such as disappearing waterlines or boats not sitting quite right in the water. I recently reported a badly listing boat to Harbormaster Jason only to have him inform me that the owners were working on the boat and had stowed everything to the port side to allow access to the project, hence the severe list. It is probably a good idea to keep your Harbormaster in the loop if you are working on a project that may worry curious (read “nosy”) neighbors.
Being a good neighbor means respecting the privacy of others. We live in an extremely limited space, sometimes with a neighboring boat located mere feet away. Sneezing, coughing and passing gas are all easily audible, especially during the warm weather when ports and hatches are open. Keeping the volume of voices, music and televisions toward the lower end of the scale will endear you to your neighbors.
Also, if you want to be a good neighbor, please keep your pets under control. If you have a dog, keep them on a leash while not confined on board your own boat. Cats especially have tendencies to wander and disappear, and not always with innocent intentions. Our previous boat cat, Noodles, was an escape artist who would wander the docks in quest of treasure. We often found little gifts of bolts and screws in our cockpit and once saw him dragging a baseball cap down the dock like a lion drags his prey.
As I said, I am blessed with wonderful neighbors, a few were laughing and chatting outside on the dock just a few minutes ago. Not being able to resist the sound of laughter I joined them with this question, what makes a good neighbor? German Karl said, “A good neighbor is invisible most of the time but there when you need them.” Mrs. Harper says a good neighbor is courteous of the shared spaces, keeping docks clear and easy to maneuver. And the always wise Miss L says “A good neighbor is worth their weight in gold. Keep them happy!” Another houseboat just left the marina. The owners had spent the previous two days nailing, yes, I said NAILING, an outboard motor bracket onto the swim platform. At least when they left the wind was not blowing. I hope they had a safe trip to their next port. Word is that one of the most glamorous big boats over on Dock 5 has failed the required marina inspection. It seems that over the years the owner never started the engines. Use them or lose them. More and more marinas are requiring inspections before accepting new tenants.
The outboard motor mount nailed onto the swim platform only lasted as far as the sea wall. The old houseboat is currently tied to the sea wall on a falling tide while trying to re-nail the outboard motor mount back onto the stern. The wind is just starting to come up and the houseboat could easily be considered a hazard to navigation to any vessel wishing to enter the marina from our channel. May the Good Lord Bless Fools and the Ships they Sail upon.
Our local ship building tradition continues here in the Bay Area. The Matthew Turner, built by an organization named Call of the Sea, is a wooden tall ship based on a Nineteenth Century sailing vessel named the Galilee, which held the record for making the San Francisco to Tahiti run in 19 days. The Galilee was designed by famed ship designer Matthew Turner.
The new tall ship named in honor of Mr. Turner will be used to engage local students in marine environmental education.
The new Matthew Turner was built in Sausalito and is 132-feet overall, with a beam of 25-feet. She is constructed of Douglas Fir and Oregon White Oak with bronze fastenings. She has berths for 48 crew members. Power needs are supplied by two 50 KWH banks of Lithium batteries which are charged by two 200 KW electric motors and supplemented with two 265 KW bio-fuel generators. With her hybrid propulsion systems, the new Matthew Turner is the Prius of the nautical world!
If you would like to take a tour, the Matthew Turner is located at the dock just outside the Bay Model in Sausalito at 3020 Bridgeway. We drove over recently but didn′t have reservations and the ship was closed to visitors. Perhaps a call first would have been a better idea. For more information or to book a tour call 415/331.3214.
Call of the Sea is an educational program meant to inspire people of all ages to connect with the sea through educational programs held aboard traditional sailing vessels. The youth orientated programs are designed to inspire confidence, self-awareness, discipline and teamwork. For more information go to www.callofthesea.org
Every once in a while, someone comes up with a simple idea that could change the world. Seabin is one of those ideas. It is the brainchild of Pete Ceglinski, an avid Aussie surfer, father and clean ocean advocate. His innovative and simple invention is helping to combat the problem of marine plastic pollution.
Ceglinski has been traveling up the coast of California in the company of his family to install and educate the public on Seabin, a device Pete co-founded to reduce, and ultimately eliminate plastic pollution in our oceans. Each Seabin acts as an aquatic trash can and the ability to remove microplastics, microfibers, plastic bags, bottles, cigarette butts and more. Since Pete dreamed up the invention in 2015 there have been Seabins installed in over 40 countries, resulting in a total of 1.95 tons of waste extracted from our oceans every single day. To my knowledge, two units have been installed in Northern California; one in Emeryville Marina and the other at Ballena Isle Marina.
While the Seabin team is working on several new ways to eliminate marine waste, Pete says that Seabin is only part of the solution. “Education is prevention and that is the real goal. Our strategy is to address the issue as a whole solution through technology, education, science and community activities,” he said. “Once people see the amount of debris that a single Seabin can pull from a small marina, they understand how much waste ends up in our waterways and instantly reassess the way they dispose of their rubbish. The Seabins are catching big stuff like plastic bottles, bags, cups and smaller stuff like plastic nurdles, micro-plastics and just recently microfibers. This is all great, but our dream is to one day live in a world where Seabins aren′t necessary.”
I like sharing the world with people like Pete Celinski. Keep up the great work! For more information on Seabin visit www.seabin.org
This year′s Plastic Classic sailboat race at the Bay View Boat Club was a resounding success. Over 200 avid revelers attended the day of racing, music and libation. Even the weather settled down and cooperated after a blustery start.
If you have ever been to the Bay View Boat Club by water you may recall that we do not have a permanent dock, and the temporary dock used during the summer for the kids′ sailing program is not a happy place to overnight. Instead, visitors drop an anchor in the shallow bay outside of the club, just on the other side of the old train trestle and dinghy in. A dependable water taxi service was provided during the Plastic Classic by club member Peter Borodin who was kept busy all the doo-dah-day running guests and members out to the committee boat in his zippy little runabout.
The Bay View Boat Club is famous for live music and especially so for a planned event such as the Plastic Classic. Jazz, rock, country and bluegrass groups kept the members toes tapping throughout the day.
The club sparkled from the loving attention lavished on it by the all-volunteer workforce and I can guarantee a good time was had by all!
After almost six weeks of arduous recovery my miserable carpal tunnel surgery has finally allowed me to go for a boat ride. It wasn′t an adventurous trip, only up to Treasure Island to spend a few days on the hook in the company of Mary Buckman, but the change of scenery worked on me just like a tonic. We even sprung for an extra day because we were having such a good time and didn′t want to come home. Such is the joy of retirement; you can do that kind of thing if you are so inclined.
On this trip I discovered that we really do need to replace the bank of house batteries. Thank goodness the generator was willing to take up the slack!
Until next month, please send your comments, contributions or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org H