July 27, 2011.
Let’s say that you and a buddy decide to spend some time touring the east coast in a 27 foot Catalina. Simple day sails, gunkholing your way through the Chesapeake. You finally make your way to Annapolis and its pretty hot outside. You take a slip, tie up for the night and head off to one of the towns many watering holes. Sounds like a fine way to spend a summer evening.
After a few beers and a meal you and your buddy head back to the boat. It’s after dark and something just doesn’t seem right with the boat. You hop onboard and step below into shin deep water. Oh f@#k. Fortunately, the captain was aware of one of the golden rules of boating; the water should NEVER be shin deep inside the boat.
Water was coming in somewhere but they couldn’t figure out where. They checked all the usual suspects but nothing jumped out at them. The difficulty in finding the leak was compounded by the fact that every thru hull fitting was under water. Shit. It’s not that big of a boat, where the hell was the water coming from?
The bilge pump was running, but fighting a losing battle. One guy got the boat started and backed out of the slip while the other guy grabbed a bucket and started bailing. There is no more powerful bilge pump in the world than a scared sailor with a 5 gallon bucket.
In spite of this near disaster the Gods were really smiling down on these two. They got back from their night on the town just before the starter went under. They headed off in the dark into an unfamiliar port towards the first travel lift they saw. It was our travel lift and by dumb luck our service manager had stopped in late to take care of something. They flagged him down, he phoned one of the yard crew who lives nearby and the Catalina was soon safely hanging in the slings.
The culprit turned out to be a nasty crack a couple of inches below the waterline on the starboard side.
Or it could be a bullshit story and they were out drinking and boating and bounced themselves off something in the dark. Who knows, it’s a mystery either way.