Post 18: Well, I Fouled My Prop



Yep, check that off the list for yesterday. It’s been wet and windy all week and we had some maintenance that we had to tend to over at the fuel dock while the tide was up. Sunday morning brought a brief calm from the wind so we decided to make our break. As we headed over to the dock, broad side of the boat against the wind, I felt pretty good about the way she was holding her line. Then I turned her nose into the wind to begin the maneuver required to back her into the fuel dock. Ah Oh! That wind had other plans. It was really difficult to keep the bow pointed into the wind and backing straight proved impossible (for me). I made several attempts, zig zagging our way further and further back between the fuel dock and a row of expensive motor yachts. I made several approaches toward the dock. Jen and I came up with our new plan, improvising all the while. I finally got over to the dock, close enough for Jen to step off and run up to the bow to tie off our nose. She did, but the other end of the boat began to swing away from the dock. Jen came around toward the stern and I coiled a long line, we gave each other an unsure look and I tossed it to her. Doh! Missed by an inch. I kept the engine in reverse and begin to leverage off the bow line. We were once again headed back in the right direction. Then… CLUNCK! CHUG! BOOP! That dadblasted line I tossed went under the boat and wrapped itself around the prop. Oh man I felt stupid!

Everything happened really fast. I immediately shifted the transmission into neutral and went up to the bow, got on the dock and helped Jen hold the boat close. I don’t remember this part but Jen said she asked me what we should do and evidently I just said, matter-of-factly and maybe uncharacteristically,  “I don’t know.”  The wind was blowing more now and the back of the boat did not want to move toward the dock. A few seconds passed before we got the idea for me to climb back on board and pull lines that were tied off on the dock, gradually moving the stern close enough to tie off.

We were now tied off. Relieved that we were safe. Still though,  the line was wrapped around the prop and all kinds of scenarios were floating through my head. Are we going to have to hire a diver? Could there be damage from this? Is there a way to back the line off? Bam! That sounded great. I mentioned it to Jen and she said, “Google it.” Genious!

I googled it and it looked like a best case scenario. Jen grabbed the line, (with obvious instructions to let go if it pulled too hard), and I hopped in the cockpit. I made sure the throttle was as low as possible and just eased it into forward for a nanosecond, (give or take). It let out some! But then pulled back in some :(. So I put it, ever so briefly in reverse. It released! I watched Jen in amazement at how swiftly she pulled that line out. She was a machine! As soon as it all came up on deck, laid out beside her, she started hooting and dancing. Arms in the sky, jogging in circles in the rain and the wind. Wow. Exhilarating! Freedom.

We finished doing what we needed to do at the dock, untied, shoved off and went back to our slip with no further incident. A great Sunday morning lesson.

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