A sinking feeling
Our first sail of any distance was to the south coast of Ireland, having travelled from Cardiff Bay, motor-sailing to Dunmore East. We were feeling very proud. The boat performed really well, the engine had been overhauled and was sounding good. All was well with the world.
Suddenly, something began to vibrate horribly in the engine. Had we caught a lobster pot line? We shut the engine down just in case and anchored. Middle age had begun to catch up with my husband and donning a wetsuit after putting on weight took skill brute force and clouds of talcum powder. Hubby jumped into the water but floated, and couldn’t get far enough under the boat. A weight belt to his midriff would help. ‘Throw me a rope, I can lower myself down,’ he said confidently. Weights attached and rope in hand, he dropped down into the water again. With a splash, he plunged beneath the surface, clutching the rope. Amid vigorous but ineffective splashing, he began to look oddly panic stricken. He was rapidly running out of rope and, wearing 10 kilos of lead, was sinking fast.
I confess that only then did I realise that I’d not fastened my end of the rope to anything. I just managed to grab the end of the rope before it slithered overboard and made it fast. A relieved, exhausted man in wetsuit and weights clambered aboard whilst I tried to stop laughing. As it turned out there was nothing wrong with the prop. An engine mounting had worked loose and my husband had needlessly walked the plank. Lesson learned.