What's your story?

Stinkpot

Commander
Joined
Dec 2, 2011
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Location
Cape Cod Canal
Boat Make
36' Calvin Beal
Ever do anything really stupid (boat related, of course)?

I know someone out there can top this one, so let’s hear ‘em!

The other day I was looking through an old photo album and came across some pictures I had of an ‘adventure’ that I had with an old friend of mine. Now that I’m older, I pause to think how ridiculously irresponsible (yet fun) this day was.

It was 1984, I was 14. I had a 16’ plywood skiff with a 25 hp outboard that I kept on a mooring at Tripp’s marina in the Westport (Mass) River. My father, as well as my friend’s parents, both kept larger boats at the same marina, so in the summer months, we’d head to Westport during the week when things were quiet and the folks were at work, sleep on one of the family’s boats and tool around the river in my skiff and fish for stripers during the day.
On one particularly gorgeous day while we were fishing near the mouth of the river we noticed that the weather conditions had left Rhode Island Sound and Buzzard’s Bay near flat calm. “I bet we can make it to the barge in 20 minutesâ€, I said. “Let’s go†was the reply. Off we went to the half sunken barge on Hen & Chicken’s reef about 5 miles outside of the river.
Being as calm as it was, we decided to tie up to the barge, which is typically hammered with breaking waves, climb aboard and have lunch with our portable gas grill and wash it down with some gin that one of us acquired somehow (did I mention we were 14 / 15 years old?). After lunch and a little liquid courage we then set our adventurous eyes towards the Buzzard’s Bay entrance light tower, that ominous, oil-rig looking structure that, until 1996 stood tall way out beyond our novice range. “Wanna go out there and back?†“Let’s do it!†Off we went, another 4 miles offshore in a small plywood skiff whose flat bottom undulated with the waves below it, two kids, half in the bag, no radio, no lifejackets, no charts, no anchor or horn, one six-gallon gas tank and nobody knew we had gone beyond the mouth of the Westport River – good times.

So we pull up to the “Texas Tower†that is the Buzzard’s Bay entrance light and lo and behold we see a fixed ladder hanging down to just above the surface of the water – within our reach. Of course we had to tie up to the ladder and climb up onto the tower to check out the view! After poking around the tower for an hour or so we noticed that the tide had risen and that our only transportation had drifted under the fixed steel ladder and the ladder was poking downward into the skiff. Frantically, we climbed down to the skiff and managed to lift up on the ladder, essentially pushing the boat downward to get it out from under the ladder. Whew, another 30 minutes of rising tide and that ladder would have either punched a hole in the skiff or just driven it under the surface of the water and we’d be waiting for the Coast Guard to show up for routine maintenance on that light someday…

Undeterred, we thought that Cuttyhunk looked much closer from that tower than we had ever thought. Hey, we’ve been lucky so far, why not? Now 12 or so miles from home port, we motor into Cuttyhunk Harbor, pull up to the beach along the entrance to the pond and resume work on that gin-induced ‘courage’ and start thinking about how we’re getting back.
By now the tide had shifted and what had been a nice calm, Buzzards Bay with wind & current moving together turned a little rougher with the now opposing forces. “I think this is going to be a longer ride home, we better get goingâ€. We stumbled back aboard and headed out laughing our heads off. Funny thing is that from Dad’s Chris Craft, that barge, a good navigational aid and half way point, is usually clearly visible not too far out past Penekese Is, but from my skiff I'd be damned if I could find it. "Hey, as long as we can see Cuttyhunk behind us, keep going and if we don’t find the barge as Cuttyhunk is fading, we’ll go back". Thankfully, we found the barge, now awash in what seemed like 6 footers, which is pretty substantial in this vessel; at least we knew where we were. Another 5 miles and we’re back in the Westport River just before dark, pulling a vacuum on the empty gas tank.

What a day! One of the best days on the water I’ve ever had. Stupid? Oh yeah! If you’ve got kids who are getting into boating, take some time to teach them some common sense, a little navigational skill and preparedness, because at some point they WILL try a stunt like this.
 

CCtuna

Rear Admiral
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
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Nauset
Boat Make
Some day...
good story! haha I know this is pretty stupid on my part but if the fishing sucks in nauset harbor (which it does) ill take my 1970s 13ft whaler out nauset inlet and have gone as far as chatham chasing birds and dont realize it until i look up and see the lighthouse haha surfing back through the cut is no fun with about 3 inches of draft
 

Hooper

Captain
Joined
Sep 4, 2011
Posts
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Location
Bass River, Mass
Nothing as epic as Stinkpots story. My best buddy had a fiberglass canoe growing up, one day in February we dragged it down to the beach down the path from his house and launched it in Cape Cod Bay. We saw the waves breaking on the sandbar just offshore and figured we'd surf them in, Hawaii-5/0 style. What we learned is canoes are not meant to surf waves Hawaiian style! Two dumb kids got dumped into some very cold water! My buddy's Dad had wandered down to the beach just in time to see us dragging the swamped canoe outta the surf, soaking wet and very cold. We still laugh about that one today.

Sure there are more....
 

CCtuna

Rear Admiral
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
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Nauset
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Some day...
awesome pictures....such a classic cape cod story
 

Toolate

Admiral
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Posts
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Location
Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
Spent many a night camping on the beaches of Long Island starting around age 14 with some buddies and a couple junk boats. Always a bottle of whatever we could steal from the parents cabinets (usually 1/4" off every bottle in there all mixed together).

Woke up one morning in my tent, with a girl I had met and a baby fox who had come in to get out of the rain and had spent the night snuggled in with us. Not sure who was more scared when we woke up.

At night we used to swim out to rafted up boats having parties- anyone who over went into the sand hole at Lloyds Point in the late 80's/early 90's knows what I am talking about. Fortunately we all wore life jackets....

After partying on this boat for a few hours we swam back to shore and lit our fire. One guy said he had to take a leak or something and walked off to do so and we all promptly passed out. He had pissed in the water and sat down at the waterline to relax and fell asleep. It was dead low tide and the shore is very steep and the tide came in around his sleeping body at which point he floated away (at night, dark, drunk, 14 maybe 15 sleeping in his life jacket and floating around the anchorage unconscious) and the tide carried him down the beach a few hundred yards where another person taking a piss saw him (thinking dead body at 2 a.m.) and went out and grabbed him at which point he woke up and yelled at the person for touching him and ran off down the beach.

He came back to the fire and kicked us all and was pissed that we fell asleep and didnt come find him. We were all laughing but only because we were so relieved and happy that he wasnt run over by a boat or drowned.

We had been taught to wear our life jackets and we took it seriously. As crazy as this story is (and its all true- hoping there is someone here who witnessed the sand hole at that time) it was the background education that saved my friend I think. We were stupid kids but all looked out for eachother (when we werent passed out).
 

WC1966

Lieutenant Commander
Joined
Oct 23, 2011
Posts
176
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Location
Groton CT / Vero Beach FL
Boat Make
Webbers Cove 34
Go play outside

Age 11-12, 1963, A bitter cold winter day walking the bank of the Willimantic River,CT. Found some 20 foot by 12 foot chunks of ice. Managed to float one and we hopped on, after a half mile the burg started getting smaller and sinking, when the water was up to my knees I jumped in and swam to shore. The river is only 70 feet wide at that point. Almost 3/4 mile to the house through the woods, knee deep snow and my cloths freezing as I ran. Caught holly hell that night, I had never heard of Hypothermia, might not have been invented yet. Nobody ever told me it might be dangerous, Maybe that's why almost everything has warning labels today.
Was talking with my mom a couple years ago and she said my buddy's father saw use float downstream and drove down to the first bridge, at least 2 miles downstream. He was worried when we didn't show up, and walked the river bank looking for us, not an easy hike.
 

RKrough

Commander
Joined
Oct 23, 2011
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Location
Wilmington NC
Boat Make
Midland 19
August 1972, I was living with my grandparents near Kinsale Va. I was 15 and restless , One day I found an old cross-planked pine 18'skiff half-sunk in the mud up in one of the creeks that no-body had claimed. After my granddaddy checked with the sheriff we dragged it out with granddaddy's 34' deadrise. I worked most of a winter putting on a new bottom and transom on the old skiff before Grandaddy would allow it in the water. A few months working after school and Saturday mornings in my uncles crab house earned me a good used 7.5 hp Scott-Atwater outboard. Hell! I was ready to be a commercial fisherman!
My best friend Bobby and I decided to go into business together . His Daddy belonged to the local Moose Lodge where they had crab feasts most every weekend. He helped us work a deal where we would get $8 a bushel for blue bay crabs. Bobby had learned how to set and work a trot-line so we were up and running. After a few F-Ups we were regulary pocketing $10-12 after fuel and bait for a Saturday morning's work. A couple of months later, to celebrate our success we went to the bad section of town where a guy sold us two bottles of Boones Farm wine from the trunk of his car.

We smuggled the wine out to skiff along with our fishing rods and told my grandaddy we were going out fishing for channel cats and would be back by by dark. We motored out a couple miles ,put our lines in the water and broke out the wine . We soon forgot about fishing and some time later we both passed out drunk in the skiff. I woke up first. It was pitch black out with a light fog or haze. I woke up Bobby and we tried to figure out where were.No compass, No radio. There was a very light breeze blowing which we decided was coming from the east (Maryland shore) I started the motor and began motoring with the breeze.

It was some time later that fog began lifting and I could barely make out a rotating beacon in the distance. I'm thinking it is Point Comfort light. on the Virginia side? We had been motoring toward it for awhile when it began to get light out , We quickly discovered we were motoring East not West! Shit! I quickly turned the boat and began heading in the opposite direction. It was at that point we both realized that if we ever got back home we were in deep shit! Not long after we ran out of fuel and started rowing. As the sun rose into full daylight a boat appeared off of our starboard in the distance. We didn't have flares or any signal device, so we tied our tee shirts onto the end of our fishing rods and began waving frantically. Soon we saw the boat suddenly change direction and come towards us. A few minutes later a USCG patrol boat is alongside with 6 pissed off coasties looking at us. After we climbed aboard and gave them our names one of them gets on the radio to call off the search. At that moment we knew our crabbing business and social calendar was fucked for the foreseeable future, ( that's assuming we both survived the ass-beating we were sure to receive once we got home.)

The coasties told us we were 24 miles from home, they determined we drifted down near Tangier Island and the beacon I saw was from the Tangier airfield and we were damn lucky that bay was unusually calm that night.

When we reached Deltaville my granddaddy, bobby's father met us there. Coasties told them we had to be handed to over to Va civilian authorities first. We got reamed out by the local sheriff who soon released us. I got in the truck with Grandaddy, he didn't say a word the whole trip home. We when got home I was ready for an epic ass whipping but instead granddaddy told me that he and Bobby's daddy had decided a better lesson was to ground us for 6 months and make us work in my Uncle's crab house every Saturday so we would understand the cost of what it took to search for us. Every penny we earned for picking crabs and shucking oysters for the next 6 months went towards repaying the government for searching for us.
 
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Toolate

Admiral
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Aug 6, 2013
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Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
$12 in 1972 is big bux. That is a great story and reminds me that we should give our kids a little freedom these days. Too many restrictions on kids today although the world is full of loonies...

My father passed away in 09 and he was sick for a long time so we had time to talk through each of our entire lives. I thanked him for the outlaw childhood I had (compared to my friends, I was a free kid- not allowed inside until dinner time rain or shine) and he simply informed me that his father had done the same for him and that it wouldnt have been fair or right to take that away from me.

Hoping my son will be worthy of the trust they put in me. I had fun but always kept one eye on my own safety.

Passing out on a boat in the dark and drifting off to the middle of nowhere is not on my current resume but I am not dead yet. Great story
 

Keelboater

Admiral
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
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Location
Clinton Harbor
Boat Make
35' Bruno & Stillman
Great story RK. Boones Farm? Back in the day, I woke up in the middle of a cold January night to find myself covered in vomit and sand "because of that stuff". Turns out I was in a sand trap of a golf course! But that's a story for another forum. I do appreciate the fact that you did not belong to "the time out crowd" and that you had real consequences to own up to. That's what makes you think twice before you decide to do it again, and it adds to your character in a good way.
 

Stinkpot

Commander
Joined
Dec 2, 2011
Posts
256
Likes
148
Location
Cape Cod Canal
Boat Make
36' Calvin Beal
RKrough:

You guys must have shat yourselves when you woke up! Great story.

In addition to my haphazardly jaunt around Buzzards Bay, on another occasion in the same flimsy skiff a few friends of mine and I were, again, drinking and tooling around in the skiff. Typical for me at the age of 15 or so, I took too many swigs from the gallon jug of screwdrivers that we made that day, slipped and hit my head on a thwart. After laughing that off and drinking some more, I passed out. So, my "friends" decided to run my boat back to the marina and spill me onto a floating dinghy dock and return to the beach with my skiff. Since I was only wearing a bathing suit, and no one came by to flip me over once in a while, I was completely fried all over half of my body.

When they finally picked me up and put me on my father's boat at the marina, I woke up wondering where everyone went when one of them told me that everyone else went home - yesterday! I had slept for almost 24 hours straight! At least I didn't roll off the dinghy dock and into the drink.

To this day I still can't drink vodka.:roll:
 
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