Big Boat Man in his element

I really thought the urge to continue to write about BBM and his escapades would cease when the boat was officially launched. However, I find myself laughing and thinking how others who know him would enjoy knowing what is happening post-launch.

We were determined to get out on the water, watching the weather and making sure all other commitments were cleared to ensure we could fully appreciate the time on the water. BBM insisted that I wear some new waders he had purchased for me so that I didn’t get wet helping with the launch. As I am of middle-aged size and girth, I didn’t feel particularly feminine standing on the shore awaiting the next instructions of what to do.

A couple of American tourists came up and talked to BBM, taking pictures of the boat and, weirdly, the 60+ year old little Seagull motor attached to the rudder. They didn’t realise my own accent matched their’s and told us they were from America. BBM made a comment about how much he enjoyed having a younger American wife, and the male tourist laughed along and agreed that he enjoyed having a younger American wife too.

BBM was ready to launch. The son of a friend ran up and offered to drive the tractor for us, so I was told to get into the boat. My climbing aboard was done as gracefully as I could manage while wearing the rubber waders. They do not allow full range of motion so I did a pseudo- Fosberry Flop over the gunnels (sp?). I stand up, look back at the admiring tourists, and hear BBM say, Marc you’re going to have to help launch from the water. Are you kidding? You told me to get into the boat. Well, you’re going to have to hold the boat while I sort the keys with the tractor and truck.

I throw my legs over the side and plop back into the water in an unladylike fashion. Sod the tourists. I’m not trying to impress anyone.

Pete’s son calls out that he will sort the keys and we can just get on with our launch. BBM motions for me to get back on the boat after all. I know I’m not going over the side from the water. I look at the back flat area of the boat beside the tiller and think that perhaps I could climb on board from there. I believe the technical term is the ‘poop deck’. I try to swing my wader-laden legs up. They won’t go. I try various angles of movement, nothing was going to get me up on the deck. In desperation I heave myself head-first so that I land like a whale on my belly on the deck. I’m on. There, the deed is done. Wait, no, I can’t move. I look over my shoulder at the tourists who are now standing as if perhaps they should wade into the water to assist. Not going to allow that to happen! I heave again and manage to get far enough along to swing a leg down into the cockpit and come upright again. Mission accomplished. The tourists have walked off by this time.

BBM climbs aboard and we start taking care of the jib sail, moving away from shore. Suddenly a man comes running up to our point of launch, splashing into the shallow water and calling to us. BBM yells back. What? We think perhaps something is wrong and we hadn’t noticed. It is, after all, our first attempt to launch and sail without knowledgeable people around us. The man yells again, ‘That’s a Dutch scow! I know because I’m Dutch! I come from the Netherlands!’ Yes, we nod and wave back. You are right. The intent was to build a Dutch scow, and by-gum that’s what we’re trying to sail today!


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