S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Good Fenders Make Good Neighbors

Sunday, December 17
Anse Mitan, Martinique
N 33 minutes, 33.588 seconds
W 061 minutes, 03.292 seconds

We've had a quiet couple of days following the departure of Crossroads, Dragonfly, and Dreamweaver for points north, and in anticipation of Greg's arrival on Saturday. We will probably stay here in Anse Mitan for the week, enjoying the nearby beaches and shopping, and taking the ferry over to Fort de France once or twice for more serious provisioning.

Anse Mitan is a much smaller anchorage than St. Anne, but it is located in a large and active bay, and it faces the city of Fort de France. We've enjoyed watching the commercial and private boats that make their way past us--and into us, as happened yesterday.

Dean was sitting in the companionway watching a whole slew of boats sailing into the area as a family on a French, steel-hulled sailboat was attempting to thread its way through the anchorage. The wind, which was light all day yesterday, died to a whisper, and the French sailboat, now in front of our bow, lost momentum and started drifting down onto us.

The good thing about most sailboats is that they don't go very fast. We, being anchored, weren't moving at all, and this boat was just ghosting along at a knot or two. I was belowdecks, and I heard Dean get up and walk forward along the deck, but I didn't know anything was going on until I heard voices speaking French just over my shoulder.

Sure enough, there they were, looking like they were preparing to raft up with us. Their engine, they explained, was broken, their mainsail, inexplicably, was down, and their jib, though in good working order, hung limply from the forestay. I stood there stupidly for a moment, assessing the situation, until Dean reminded me to get a fender.

Fortunately, we had just pulled up to a marina dock the day before to top up our water tanks, and we had been too lazy since then to put all the fenders away. In fact, one was still tied onto the port side, the same side as the boat that was approaching. All I had to do was flip it over. Our mid-section, at least, was safe.

I figure it's good karma to grin and act reassuring and not glance anxiously at the BRAND NEW varnish job on the bowsprit, which I spent weeks and weeks sanding and repainting not one month ago. It doesn't take much effort for the pointy end of a metal boat to put an unsightly divot into wood. But these people were clearly embarrassed and very apologetic, and the female half of the couple on board was obviously pissed enough at her male counterpart for all of us. I've been there many times, and it actually felt pretty good to be the person with the luxury of acting magnanimous for a change. "Pas de probleme" I repeated smilingly as Dean, with a firm hold on their bow pulpit, led their boat behind us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you didn't end up with a divot in your leg!

I'm thinking again about joining you on 26 Jan. Let me know where you think you'll be.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's almost Christmas and cold back here at Boston Waterboat Marina. Lisa and I (s/v ESCAPE) are jealously thinking of you two nice and warm down there. Looks like you're miandering north. Your blog's fantastic. Keep having a great time and maybe see you next summer.
Merry X-mas and Happy New Year

10:21 AM  

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