November 30, 2010.
Bear with me. I think that it’s been quite a while since I had a mini meltdown, shit flinging hissy fit.
We left Vero Beach this morning at first light for what would be a 56 nautical mile day down the ICW. There was intermittent rain with some gray miserabilty (yes, it’s my own word) thrown in for good measure. On the not so bright side was the fact that the wind was blowing between 12 and 20 knots dead on the nose.
We left with Far Niente, My Destiny, Savage Son and the “other” boat. It’s a 12 mile jaunt down to the lift bridge at Fort Pierce. The bridge is on request and all 5 boats were within ¾ of a mile of each other. Far Niente was in the lead and contacted the bridge and was told that the bridge would go up when we were all close enough. So Jay & Di slowed down to allow the group to bunch up a bit. With this the “other” boat pulled out and passed everyone, reached the bridge and was surprised to find out that he would have to wait 2 minutes for the rest of us. As he was about to pass Far Niente he called to tell Jay that he was coming by. Jay replied “sure, just don’t wake me bro”. The guy thought that Jay was serious and explained to Jay that since he was also a sailboat he couldn’t wake him if he wanted to. I might have been a little crabby because of the weather but I quickly decide that the captain of the “other” boat was an idiot.
So the bridge went up and the 4 of us were approaching with a little head of steam while the “other” boat was sitting in front of the opening. After the bridge was completely up he gingerly moved forward at a knot or two. We were still doing about 4 knots, do the math……first we chopped the throttle, then we went to neutral, still not enough. He was looking back at us but still not adding any throttle. We had to use reverse while going under the narrow bridge which might sound like fun, but I can assure you, is not.
The “other” boat was still ahead of us as the 5 of us settled in for the 20 mile trip to the next lift bridge. The next 2 bridges are both on request but he was pleasantly surprised to find this out at each bridge. The 4th bridge is a timed opening only, so arrival time is of the essence.
We had 30 minutes to run 3.1 miles or we were going to miss the bridge and lose a half an hour. The waning daylight was getting to be a concern. We were fighting the current but needed to maintain 6 knots or we’d miss the bridge.
Far Niente and My Destiny are both faster than the rest of us and if one of them could get to the next bridge in time for the opening we’d all get through. If they got there on time, asked for the opening, by the time that bridge keeper stops traffic, drops the gates and opens the bridge the rest of us would have arrived. The “other” boat seemed to have trouble grasping this concept when I laid it out for him on the VHF. It looked a little like roller derby but My Destiny was eventually able to pass the ass clown to give us a fighting chance at making the bridge.
Then Far Niente managed to slip past and I figured that we may as well go too. We were moving about half a tenth of a knot faster than the “other” boat so it was going to take us at least half a mile to get past him. We pulled out to port and were running down the green side of the channel. We were directly abeam of the “other” boat and we had a 10 foot tall green day mark 200 feet directly in front of us. The mark was only about 15 feet from shore so we needed to move back towards the channel to clear the green mark.
I looked over and the “other” boat was literally 12 feet away from us neck and neck. The channel was 200 feet wide, I was gonna hit the green mark and he was RIGHT next to us. Since he was so close I immediately engaged him in direct conversation rather than go through the less personal VHF.
Ass Clown--- I’m right on the edge of the channel!!
ME—Are you kidding me?? I have the f@#king green mark directly in front of me. Look around you…!!!
Then he actually squatted down and put his finger on his chart plotters screen and tried to show me where his little boat was on his screen. This is also where the direct interaction became more of a monologue. I lost my mind for a bit and pretty much started yelling.
By then we were on top of the mark and had to turn toward the ass clown and drive him back into the channel. Livid doesn’t begin to cover it. And oh look, and we missed the bridge by 4 minutes anyway. He had me talking to myself for miles. The idiot is looking at his chart plotter instead of what’s going on in the real world outside his cockpit.
I think he may have sensed that I was perturbed with him and he stayed behind us as we allowed the faster boats to get the jump on the next 3 timed bridges of the day. We made all the bridges easily and after a really long day dropped the hook in Lake Worth. He also anchored quite far from us……hmmmm?
On a brighter note we do have an addition to the new Boat Name of the Day collection:
It was a large trawler type boat driven by an older couple, “Biddie and the Beast”.