Sunday, August 9, 2009

Of Cormorants and Maestros!

Perhaps it is the return of Summer, but there are definitely more Comorant Club applications around. Yesterday we witnessed a very unusual new age blonde application, from, it must be said, a real "Maestro"... Well that's the name of their 45 ft Bavaria anyway She certainly put on a spectacular performance, synchronised with screaming engines, vertical take offs, and very real danger to life and limb! Maestro arrived elegantly enough in the anchorage, towing their tender, and after doing a lap of honour they chose their spot, and dropped the hook . When all was secure, Madam Maestro was delegated the task of collecting their waiting guests from the shore. So eager was she to meet them, and so confident was she in her duck driving, that she started the powerful little outboard, and took off with a tail walk. The only small problem was that she had forgotten to untie the tender from the mothership !

We heard the roar of the engine, followed by a bang and a scream, and looked up in time, to see the tender heading skywards, while Madame Maestro was being thrown backwards out the boat butt first. The tender landed upside down a few metres in front of her, with engine still racing, and prop spinning! Thankfully the plugs were soon immersed and it soon cut out. Jeremy, from Jervon, had also witnessed the drama, and being the closest to them, he had his boat up on the plane in short time, as he rowed to the rescue. He arrived to find Madame Maestro lying half on the sugar scoop gasping, while Master Maestro was describing in his very best Spanish, what a clever lady she was! After this, his main concern was to get the tender the right way up, trying to start the drowned engine, and, fetching his guests. Jeremy boarded the boat, and helped Madam Maestro up onto the sugerscoop, while ascertaining that she was not hurt. My immediate urge , when I realised that apart from her bruised ego, she was unhurt, was, of course, to rush across with New Membership forms. Why should Mary be the Cormorant Clubs only new member this week?

Another cruiser helped him sort out the engine , and had it running again in quick time. Jeremy received a very nice bottle of Argentinian red wine which will be enjoying with todays braai, and I received a follow up blog story- PLUS, proof that some people are just slow learners! Mr Maestro drove up to Jervon, with the "Kill" lanyard STILL unattached to his wrist, as had been the case with his wife yesterday! They are there precisely to STOP spinning propellers cutting up and killing people, when accidents happen!

Still on Cormorant Club membership matters, I was in Salvador, and on the jetty , when "Thunderchild" arrived after the 2006 Cape to Bahia race. There I witnessed what was for me, the biggest single, simultaneous Cormorant club application by a crew !!! The moment the yacht was secure, the entire crew of 8 ,hurled themselves into the smelly Club Nautica water, with only a beer can in each hand to keep them afloat! The circumstances were as follows. Thunderchild had left Cape Town like a bat out of hell, and had opened up a significant overall lead in the race, having done something like 1200 miles in the first three days.... Then they noticed a structural crack in the frame supporting their modified new keel. Faced with the choice of abandoning the race, and beating back to Cape against the South Easter and swell, or flattening the boat out and heading dead downwind for Salvador, they chose the latter. They cross braced the frame as best they could, prepared the boat for immediate "Abandon ship", alerted one other competitor , with whom they reported their situation daily. Their relief when they finally arrived in Salvador, with life jackets lashed to all the railings, was palpable. I nominate them all as all Honorary Members!

Next in line , Frogs and Anchors!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying the posts on the Cormorant club - I joined quite a few years back when I was holding onto the jetty at a gas station while husband was wielding the gas pump hose into position to fill a tank. Another boat happened to be manouevering nearby and caused ours to move away from the pier. I was eight months pregnant and as you can imagine, my centre of gravity was already askew, so with the movement of the boat, I just toppled into the gap! SPLASH!!!! I think about three spectators immediately jumped in to hoist me out while my husband laughed his head off!! I was unharmed and the baby didn't seem to mind it either as he was born two or three weeks later at normal term.