Too Close for Comfort

I always praise Jeff for his comfort and ability when driving in and out of tight spaces; mooring fields, anchorages, but especially marinas. It scares the hell out of me. I’m scared to death of hitting a dock, a piling, another boat, you know, things that make that awful scraping sound which result in paying lots of money to a fiberglass repair expert.

Today is Wednesday, and it’s time to leave the dock. The guys at Just Catamarans like to drive the boats in and out of their slips themselves because of the tight spaces in the marina. They drive boats around all day every day. Less chance of hitting stuff with lots of practice. And that’s just fine with me. But this afternoon, as we were about to leave, for some strange reason, don’t ask me why, I looked Laurent square in the eye and asked, “Can I drive us out of here?”

“Of course,” in that authoritative French accent of his.

“Will you stand right next to me?”

“Of course.”

“And you promise you won’t let me hit anything?”

“I promise. I’ll be right next to you. There’s no wind or any current. Nothing to worry about.”

Nothing but the hundreds of millions of marine dollars all around me!

Just to set the scene – Just Catamarans is busy. So busy, in fact, that you have to be a Tetris expert to fit all the boats in their marina space. So there we were, stuck in the corner, a 55-foot Outremer on our port and a 47-foot Fontain Pagot power cat in front of us – let me clarify that – a 47-foot Fontain Pagot power cat THREE FEET in front of us, and about 12 other boats lining the turning basin. They moved the Outremer out, and that was our clue that it was time for us to go. This marina has the tightest freeways of any marina we’ve visited. With our friends Tony and Lidia watching slack-jawed on the deck, Jeff in the dinghy driving in front of us, and Laurent by my side, I slowly, oh so slowly, maneuvered our boat out of the corner, into the turning basin, around a Leopard 50, into the freeway and over to the fuel dock. Laurent helped, took over for a moment when I didn’t hit the throttle hard enough to get out of the way of a super yacht, but I did it! I drove us out, and I didn’t hit anything!!! It still scares the hell out of me, though.

February 2021