Somewhere around the summer 1983 as I walked into the marina at Yankee Landing, Newburyport Ma, I bumped into Don Pegelow, who asked what I was up to? I said that I had just bought this dinky from Sears and wanted to inflate it because I was going to go out to the Isle Of shoals, and I would like to go ashore. I had been out there before and had even spent nights on my boat but I never had any means of getting ashore. Don helped me get the raft inflated and I was on my way.
The O'Day 22 was a very slow boat to begin with and the summer wind dies at seven pm anyway, so by the time I got close it was getting dark, it never dawned on me that I had no idea how to get into Goffsport Harbor in the dark. I was also clueless as to how I would get down the Merrimack river in the dark either so I decided I would sail to Provincetown.
I changed course and headed to Provincetown figuring it would be light by the time I arrived.
I sailed all through the night and well into the next day using a bungee cord on my tiller which allowed me to take short breaks, trim sail, get a drink or use the head.
I arrived in Provincetown late afternoon early evening, exhausted and low on food. I had planned to go to the Isle of Shoals so there was no need for me to carry any money and I did not have a credit card in those days.
I talked to the Dock Master in Provincetown and could not pay for a mooring, the mooring came with the launch so I could not go to shore because the dingy raft thingy got destroyed before I even left the mouth of the Merrimack River. I dropped the anchor and went to sleep. At first light I raise anchor and headed back to Newburyport, with little food and using a bungee cord for steering, and now on a boat that was sinking.
Every half hour or so, could have been more, could have been less, I would have to go below and pump the bilge by hand. Sometime between there and halfway to nowhere the wind died, and I did not want to waste fuel by running the motor incase I needed it to go up the river.
While the Sarah Maria flogged around in the doldrums of Massachusetts Bay I figured this would be a good time to find the leak.
The boat as they frequently do was sinking from the head. (toilet)
One of the difficult things to do in the early eighties was to empty the porta potty on those small boats, there was no pump out, and the only thing you could do was carry it to shore and dump down a toilet or wait until you were on the ocean and dump out there, not two good options. I had just installed a real head with a holding tank on the boat and apparently the hose must have been old and brittle, when I touched it it cracked. I was able to just shut the intake valve, which solved that problem, however I still had quite away to go to get home and now again, it was getting dark. The Seabrook power plant had two towers then, and I used them for a target from Cape Ann, to get to the Merrimack River. It was early morning by the time I got back to the mooring, so I just went below and slept for the day.
The next day I bumped into Don Pegelow and he asked how I made out on the Isle of Shoals? I told him the story and his eyes lit up a bit when he realized he was talking to a guy who not only would just randomly sail to Provincetown from the isle of Shoals in a sinking boat using a bungee cord for steering, but also one who could do twenty four plus hour watches.
I have just built a new web page please check it out and leave a comment. I particularly like the slide shows, we have had a lot of people on the Sarah Maria and have cover a lot of ground.