There’s really no way to describe the de-launch of my crippled, ugly Huck Finn raft posing as a pontoon boat. As I said, my neighbor, Craig, had agreed to tow me to the landing with his pontoon, so with Tim’s help we pushed her into the water, I jumped onto Craig’s boat and took the tow rope.
It had occurred to me as I fell asleep the night before (lots of things occur to me in that state) that there was nowhere to tie a rope to the boat. So in the morning, I took a couple of the cleats from the old deck and attached them to the front, reinforcing them with a couple of pieces of 2×4 so they wouldn’t rip out the plywood under pressure. It was brutally cold at 8 am while I did this. I knew it would be impossible to use the drill wearing choppers, so I went inside for another cuppa and tried again when the sun worked its magic. Which it never did. Why is 40 in May colder than 40 below in January?
When we got to the landing, I could see that there was a boat being launched, which I thought was probably my pickup. The marina schedules pickups for when they’ll be launching another boat at the same landing. In an effort to pull my boat alongside Craig’s and maneuver it up to the landing, (there was NOTHING to grab on my boat. It was like working with a jellyfish) we started blowing all over the place and ended up two doors down from the landing bumping into the dock of these people who ran out of their house. (In alarm, I’m sure but I was too alarmed to tell, although I did notice they had a $40,000 pontoon on a lift and a sparkling new dock which my raft was bumping wildly in the wind when the rope let loose from one of the cleats.) It was mayhem.
My vote was to simply go to the landing and let the Professional Boat Launchers lure the boat onto the trailer in some magical way. All this was negotiated in yells over the wind while trying to instruct the poor dock owner how to use a cleat and a rope. At one point, Craig gunned the motor and we were inches from hitting my boat broadside and pushing it into the peoples’ dock probably maiming Mom, Guy Trying to Tie, Child and Two Large Yellow Labs who love to be in small spaces with lots of people yelling and proclaiming alarm. The louder we yell the faster their tails wag.
My knees went weak.
Finally we cleated (a new verb as of today) the rope and swung back around to the landing where 97 people were waiting to launch their boats — annoyed, freezing, but no doubt plenty entertained by the Craig and Barb Huck Finn Raft Show. As we approached, four guys in wet suits ran down the landing into freezing water up to their shoulders, grabbed my boat and pushed it onto the trailer.
I was aghast.
I yelled, “Do you hang around landings just to save boats?”