Accidents Happen

Some days aboard Happy Times seem pretty routine. Get up and make coffee. Check e-mail. Listen to weather report. Eat breakfast. Take dog ashore. Homeschool. Sail. Anchor. Prepare dinner. Read. Lights out.

Then there’s today.

As Mike and Mikayla prepared to pull up the dinghy, Mike recalled that one of the lines on the block and tackle kept twisting. He climbed atop the bimini to straighten it out. Meanwhile, Mikayla stood in the dinghy and held onto a long rod across the aft of Happy Times until her dad finished his task and rejoined her.

Despite her size 10s, Mikayla’s feet slipped out from underneath her from the force of the current, and she found herself hanging from the rod and her feet dangling in the water. The dinghy bobbed around securely on the second block and tackle, but Mikayla was holding on to the rod like a cat trying to cling to a pane of window glass.

Mikayla called for help and my name in a way that didn’t sound like an everyday “mama.” I ran up from below and saw her swinging on the rod behind Happy Times. I ran down the scoop stairs, caught the dinghy and shoved it under her feet again. She got a little wet, but she averted a complete dunking by holding on to the boat.

When she climbed back into the cockpit, we had a good laugh over her predicament. It was like a scene out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon.

Happy Times was nearly an hour away from our destination, Warderick Wells, when a loud boom broke the quiet of our reading time. Mike and I stopped mid-sentence until the source of the noise revealed itself. Suddenly the boom swung out over the right rear quarter of the boat, and the mainsheet began flapping in the wind.

I jumped up out of the cockpit and grabbed the sheet and hung onto HT with my other hand. Mike followed me onto the deck and discovered that a knot at the end of the mainsheet had worked itself loose. He ordered the mainsail down to regain control of the boom and the boat.

Mikayla left the galley where she had been baking, took over the helm and steered us into the wind to ease up on the mainsail. Mike worked his way up to the bimini top so he could pull down the sail. I moved to the lines and began easing the mainsail down.

At this point the wind was blowing at 12-15 knots and the sea was choppy with 4’ waves. All three of us were wearing our safety gear, but Mike was the most vulnerable as he tried to maintain his hold on the boom and bring down the mainsail while the boat rocked back and forth. It was tense for a few minutes, but he secured the boom and sail and soon rejoined us in the cockpit.

After we secured Happy Times to a mooring ball at Warderick Wells in one of our smoothest captures, Mike had a bit of scotch with one of Mikayla’s freshly baked apple hand pies. “It’s always good to celebrate a successful crossing,” he said.



About Cheryl Crockett Lezovich

Mom, first mate and writer aboard a 40' Manta catamaran, S/V Happy Times.
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