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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pirates of the Stinging Kind Board HideAway

SV HideAway Com-Pac 23 with AC on!
As with most summer days in these parts, the end of the refit day brought the threat of storms capable of dropping huge amounts of rain in a short time. Before debarking I’ve developed the habit of checking the cockpit drains.

A nice feature on HideAway, a Com Pac 23, is the cover over the fuel tank and the scuppers.  The sturdy "L" shaped fiberglass cover/seat does not extend to the cockpit sole to allow water to flow under it and the fuel tank.   

Fuel tank cover- Sailing HideAway
 Removing the cover is a two handed affair leaving one without an immediate view of its underside and what might be lurking there.   My concern over clogged scuppers veiled the existence of pirates!

A swarm of angry wasps that clearly had taken over the boat flew around my face first then formed a sort of dry water spout of swirling wasps.

com pac 23 fuel tank cover removed SV HideAway
The Human Brain Is A Funny Thing.  

It has a mechanism for just such threatening events going back to the beginning of humankind.  Popularly known as the “fight or flight” response or scientifically, the Autonomic Nervous System.  Turns out the ANS is not connected in any way to the rational thought process.  It exists to only protect the brain and associated accessories from eminent danger.  

The ANS determined the best response to the Pirate Wasps was to leave the boat immediately, which apparently meant head first down an eight foot ladder. 

SV HideAway boarding ladder is eight foot tall
Fortunately, my left leg would hear nothing of this and grabbed the life line while the rational brain was contemplating the relative density of the increasingly closer mother earth.  A long uncertain moment passed as I hung there looking much like a gecko I’ve seen in a similar position but without the certainty of a good outcome. 
Eventually I righted myself, descended the ladder, (this time in a manner suggested by the manufacturer) then developed a plan to retake my ship.  

A Water Borne Attempt Seemed Fitting

I approached from the starboard side, climbed up the trailer and hanging with one arm around the winch, let loose with a blast from my garden hose set at maximum pressure.  

It Didn’t Help.  

I ran to the port side and up the ladder boarding the boat without stopping.  I managed to reduce their fort, OK-nest to the consistency of a wet sponge.  Without thinking about its potential occupants, I reached down, grabbed the nest and threw it overboard.  My neighbor, who was riding about on his lawn mower, seemed as enthused as myself about the accomplishment, but upon reflection probably not for the same reason.

The HideAway Was Mine!

The rational brain deduced this would be a good time to wash down the entire deck.  A mindless task to be sure, seasoned only by the sensation of a half drowned wasp crawling up my bare leg.

Habits Are Good Things

One of my best and what saved me this day was tying off the ladder to the stern cleat.  Had I not done so the result surely would have been more serious than the purple bruise going from my knee to a place you don’t want to visualize. 

Never board a boat without a cleated off ladder! Sailing HideAway
  Other Good News -
Life Lines Actually Work!   


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