Boats sink on land not sea.

Our little community.

26th May 2021

Cala Teulera, Mahon, Menorca

Just imagine nipping to the shops for a pint of milk and not knowing if your home will be there when you return. As you’re picking up your essentials the foundations might be crumbling, a sinkhole could be swallowing it or it might be tumbling over a cliff edge that has been eroded away. Now imagine the relief you feel as you return and find that all is well.

Whenever we leave Ruffian sitting at anchor this is the worry we have. We have always been lucky enough find Ruffian where we left her, but in Mahon another boat was not so lucky and they’ve had to rely on the sailing community to give them relief.

Something felt awry as Iain surveyed the anchorage, checking the weather, where boats were sitting and just how blue the sky was and something was very awry. A boat that had been happily stuck to the ground was drifting, no one was on board and in no time she would be washed up on the pointy rocks what languished just behind her. We had to affect a rescue.

Fiona rushed up behind Iain armed with a foghorn and blew and blew. All the other boats popped their head out like meerkats, leapt on board their dinghies and we all zipped over to the stricken boat. Our disjointed little community was now working as one, with no reward in sight other than that of helping a fellow sailor.

Finding the boat locked up and everything switched off we had to find a way to get the boat under control and safe. A plan quickly formed as a kedge anchor from Atenea was set to pull the stern off the rocks and save the rudder. Sarah from SV Dude and Fiona on Brock lined the dinghies up and pushed and pushed to free the boat from the grip of the rocks, while on deck the kedge anchor was set and reset again and again.

While this cacophony of activity was happening Luigi from Tao was busy finding his way inside and like the best cat burglars, he’d silently eked his way in and found treasure. Treasure in this case was power to the engine, power to the instruments and power to the bowthruster.

Andy from Cushla pushed the magic start button, the engine roared to life and as he spun the wheel we knew that we were now averting disaster. If everything was in control at the back things up front were far from settled. Manually working the windlass Iain retrieved the chain inch by painful inch and finally got the anchor over the bow, she was now fully free.

Now all that our little community had to do was re-anchor a boat we didn’t know, with kit we weren’t familiar with and around boats that were our homes. Picking a spot all the chain was smoked out and the boat settled and stopped. Not only had we saved someone’s boat we’d saved their home and, in the process, created an ad hoc community of sailors.

As the dinghy containing the crew of the errant boat turned the corner they saw that their home wasn’t where the left it. Their worry was palpable as they revved their outboard, sent their thanks as they passed and got on board. Quick as a flash they are in the water, checking for damage and once happy they exuded gratitude to everyone involved.

Nothing brings a community together like a disaster or a disaster averted and so as the sun set tinnies were cracked, snacks were opened and experiences shared. The sailing community is remarkable and through our actions we’d made it all the more remarkable.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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