First off, that is not me in the pic, its my buddy Mel checking out the bilge in his new powerboat. A few days ago, I found myself in the “Mel Position”, upside down, eyes bulging, staring into a dark place and “No” I wasn’t strapped into an amusement park ride with my daredevil daughter. I was simply trying to inspect a bottomless lazarette in a sailboat in Ventura Harbor.
My mind raced between the present and the past as I tried to escape what was rapidly becoming a panic attack. Memories raced through my mind of boat yard crew mates explaining the difficulties with access, ventilation or lighting of a particular project. Staring back at their sweaty and scraped condition, I remembered empathizing with their plight and following them out into the yard, up a ladder and down, down deep into the bowels of a boat to see for myself. I encouraged them to be patient, to do good work, and then retiring to my office satisfied that I was a good and understanding boss.
What many of our yard customers and most certainly many yacht designers had never contemplated was the sheer effort required to perform the most mundane and routine maintenance tasks in those tight spaces. In many instances accessing work areas requires “Houdini” like abilities to scrunch in shoulders, to writhe like a worm through a hole or opening and be capable of performing the entire procedure backwards when exiting. In addition to requiring contortionist skills, many routine tasks require not two but three arms (one of which to be double jointed) all the while possessing an IQ greater than 140.
“Ohh”, my muffled moan rang out over the water as I snapped back to the present. Upside down, writhing from my waste to my neck like a worm, my arms groped for a hold to rest my body. With none to be found, I writhed on.
My glasses, note pad and flash light fell away from me and with a “plink” they landed somewhere in the abyss beneath my head. Then it occurred to me that it was a Monday afternoon and I was alone and I would very well die right there and then.
“Don’t panic. Keep it together. Is this the way I am going out? Upside down? Feet and ass in the air?” My mind raced.
After all attempts at pushing myself out of this position had failed, my body gave up and like a sack of potatoes, I tumbled down into the dark abyss. I rolled over onto my back, nothing seemed broken and I was fine too. I turned my gaze upward towards the blue sky 4’ above. I couldn’t help but laugh. I sat there at the bottom of that lazarette and pondered my fate. I looked up at the inconceivably small opening through which I had passed and asked, “Am I going to fit?”
Anacapa Isle Marina has been kind to allow me to present a slide show presentation on Friday March 27th at 630(pm) at PBYC. The topic being of my own choosing. I would love to see you there.
Please give Andy a call should you require a marine survey or if you need to locate a three armed genius yard worker. 805-901-7339