Friday, June 20, 2008

WHAT MAKES YOUR BOAT FLOAT AND OTHER TALES FROM THE SEA...

Friday as in TGIF -- not to be confused with the restaurant. 7 am. 82 degrees.
This story is dedicated to the-sailboat-who-shall-remain-nameless.
So peaceful in her Sears Easy Living Exterior House (amateur) Paint job...


I'm often asked about writer's block and what I find to write about and if I ever run out of things to write about.
No, I tell them. Never. And there's a good reason why.
I live in a marina and people, (stupid people) are attracted to boats and marinas, so no, I never run out of things to write about. Take the lovely example above. There's a story there. When we first moved to the harbor this gracious vessel was white with teal trim and absolutely bristol. Well maintained. Sparkling. Then she was sold to a man with a dream.
He decided to sail her across the Pacific even though he had never made the trip before. He felt sure he could do it with crew so he co-opted his non-sailing daughter and son both in their 20's (I call them stupid 1 and stupid 2). They were moored next to us. Flew in one morining. Made a trip to Costco and were gone that afternoon.
You might be thinking that this was a bit preemptive. No checking out of gear? No getting familiar with the craft? No learning how to sail? Oh and did I mention this was a wooden boat?
Days passed.
More days.
Two weeks later a boat is spotted on the horizon. The marina tender motors out. It's the same sailboat.

500 miles out they started taking in water. The bilge failed. The back up failed and then the engine failed. No power. No solar panels, batteries couldn't be charged. They were bailing by hand.
Out of drinking water and with little wind they barely made it back.
THE REST OF THE STORY...
Quite an exciting adventure. One for the dinner party circuit.
We chatted with the man-with-a-dream when he got back. Actually he sought US out.
"Did you see anyone messing around with my boat before I left?" he asked and stared at us pointedly...
"No," we answered.
"Well," he said, "The reason the engine quit was because we ran out of diesel. When I bought the boat a year ago the owner said the tank was nearly full so I just think someone must have stolen our fuel." he stared at us again. "And someone did the same damn thing to our water tanks, too. You just can't trust anyone in a marina!"

Nope. That's true. You sure can't.

19 comments:

Papercuts said...

I love the photos you post on your blog. They make me wonder what I'm still doing in this city!

Lisa said...

Funny story and kind of sad too.

Kim Stagliano said...

What I know about boats you could fit in a Fisher Price bathtub toy boat. But... what kind of hubris and ineptitude does it take to undertake such a trip with no experience?

And I'm guessing that diesel fuel, like water, evaporates over time?

Is this a Stephen Parrish style "gotcha" story, Pat???

Inquiring landlubbers want to know.

ORION said...

Actually the moral of the story is that you top off your diesel AND water tanks whenever you go on a passage. You also never take someone's word for the fact that a boat has a full tank... among other things.
People kind of think of the Ocean as one giant freeway...how hard can it be to cross?
The answer?
REAL hard LOL!

laughingwolf said...

i see why there's ALWAYS something to prick one's imagination around you there pat, too bad 'the stupids' of the world are allowed to vote... and BREED! :(

Travis Erwin said...

You can't fix stupid.

ORION said...

No this is NOT a gotcha story kim...
I cant make this shit up!

Anonymous said...

Can i have their names? I have a car for sale!!! It's got a full gas tank, good tires.... and sure, i'd drive it across the country!!!

Geesh.

My question is... How do you get yourself from writing that one blurb and keep the story going.... UGH!!! I have tons of short stories about... say.. the dude in line ahead of me buying the lottery ticket... but i can't keep it going and end up with a story.

How do you get those blurbs, things you observe, into "living" characters?

of course.. some of my problem is not being able to keep my butt in a chair and fingers on keyboard for long enough!

Love your blogs,
~Dawn Anon

ORION said...

It's the "butt in the chair" that's the whole key.
All those things that happen in your life that would make a "great book" can be gathered together but the hardest part is that "butt in the chair."

Kim Stagliano said...

Wow. "Today I'll go for my GED and then cross the Pacific in a hollowed out Winebago!" I googled "does diesel evaporate" by the way, dork that I am. No, no it really doesn't..... I have a crazy good autism/home debacle story but I can't write it anywhere public yet until I move. It CRIES OUT for HuffPo piece. Honest, you would all be laughing and wondering why "I" don't have a zillion memoirs out a la David Sedaris.... Maybe a chapter in my next book. Which will follow my first book, which I am about to title, "Frozen Molasses: Get off Your Ass and finish me."

K

Anonymous said...

Oh my... haha...

actually, i don't have a blurb started about a man in line ahead of me buying a lottery ticket, I was going to add a comment about how you made Perry so alive....

but i didn't keep my butt in the chair long enough to finish the thought!!! UGH! :)

have a great day!
~dawn anon

Janna Qualman said...

Wowie. It's a wonder he and his kids made it through and lived to accuse others of doing them wrong...

I'd like the boat's paint job if it were on a piece of rustic furniture. But not quite right for a Hawaiian sale boat, huh?

Holly Kennedy said...

Hilarious.

Stupid is as stupid does (he-he!)
You couldn't pay me to go on a boat trip that took me where I couldn't see a strip of land!

Miss Viola Bookworm said...

I never seem to run out of ideas either. My husband and friends are always saying, "where do you come up with this stuff?" and I just tell them it's all real life. People are fascinating to me, and if you sit around and watch them long enough, you'll find something that sparks a story.

Heidi the Hick said...

It is a good funny-sad story, but I can't help comparing it to people who buy horses thinking you just turn a key and it goes. I know, I relate everything to horses, but I'm sure you know what I mean:

"I bought a perfectly good horse and the first time I rode him he threw me off and ran home. Now I can't even catch him!"

It turns out they had the bit in his mouth backwards and upside down, the rear cinch was up around his boy parts, and the saddle was halfway to his tail.

Yep... you can't fix stupid...

(putting butt in chair now...)

Heidi the Hick said...

ps

Always fill your own diesel tank

Always saddle your own horse.

Brenda said...

Ha ha ha...great story, Pat!

ChrisEldin said...

The trunk of my car is always fully loaded with water, snacks, blankets and flashlights. Toys, batteries, books, stale french fries, towels, CDs, wrapping paper......

You see, a boat wouldn't be big enough....
:-)

Sustenance Scout said...

The butt in the chair trick. Gotcha. K.

p.s. For some reason I feel sorry for the daughter, which makes me think her POV would be a good one for a story....hmmm.