Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Badass Swede

Every time I charter a boat, it seems like I see some incredible maneuver happen. This Spring in the BVI, it was The Gods of Docking, and this summer in the Balearics is was the Badass Swede.

We had entered the anchorage of Cala Pi on Sunday afternoon and gradually worked our way up towards the beach as boats closer in left. As we settled into our final spot, the skipper of a departing boat suggested that we set a stern anchor in order to keep our boat from swaying beam-on to swell throughout the night.We did this and ended up having a very peaceful night.

At this point in the afternoon, the anchorage is pretty full and I thought there was no way that another boat would fit in as close as we were: we were only a boat-and-a-half away from the cliff on the west side of the cove, and we were close enough to the marked-off swim area that squeezing in would have been exceedingly difficult.

Enter the Badass Swede. I have no idea of the his actual nationality, but his boat was flying a flag that looked decidedly like the Swedish flag, so the name stuck.

The Badass Swede drives his 45-ish foot sailboat into the cove looking for a spot. He comes to a stop near us and begins to execute a perfectly stationary 180 degree turn while asking me where our anchor is set. I point it out to him, he nods, and then when his bow is facing out of the cove, he goes reverse slow towards the swim area.

I sincerely regret not grabbing a video camera at this point because what followed was nothing short of maritime ballet.

Shortly after going into reverse, the Badass Swede shouts up to his man on the bow and he nonchalantly kicks the anchor overboard. No slow, measured lowering of the rode, he just lets it all go at once, which means that he had let out a set amount of chain in advance. The Badass Swede keeps going in slow reverse for a moment until the anchor sets, and it sets solidly because the boat stops almost immediately.

At this point, their stern is maybe 20 feet from the edge of the marked swim area.*

Within a heartbeat of stopping, the Badass Swede had another man in their dinghy motoring out with a stern anchor to keep the boat from swinging. Rather like the rode for the main anchor had been measured out in advance, so too had the stern anchor and the dinghy been set before they even entered the cove.

The entire operation took under five minutes. It was seamless, took only a small handful of commands to execute, and I didn't see their boat move a damned inch the whole time we were there.

 Badass Swede (on the right-most boat in the picture above), I don't know who you are or what nation you hail from, but thank you for giving me something to aspire to. Bravo sir, bravo.

*My one beef with the Badass Swede is that his stern anchor was set into a marked swim area, which meant taking the dinghy somewhere it shouldn't have gone. I'm not sure that I would have done that, but given the overall level of badassery involved, I'm willing to let it slide.

Landlocked Part Deux

Just like the last half of 2015, the last half of 2016 has kept me away from 'blogging. Shortly after getting back from Spain we started making preparations to move to Annapolis, and the whole "moving/settling" process obviously took a lot of time. Fortunately, I've managed to spend a lot of time in Annapolis taking pictures, so my Instagram feed has been pretty full until recently when it started getting cold. Brrrr!

We also managed to, rather unexpectedly, buy our first sailboat. I say "rather unexpectedly" not because we were surprised that we bought a boat (what sailor moves to Annapolis and doesn't buy a boat, right?) but because we weren't really planning on buying a boat that quickly, or one quite that old. S/V Bird's Nest (Bird for short), a 1967 Bristol 29, has already provided us with some...interesting times and I've already started on some repairs necessary to get her back into operating condition and we should be able to have fun sailing her this summer.

A photo posted by Ben Cushwa (@nautography) on

I plan to spend some time this winter writing up the story of how we acquired and moved Bird to her new home closer to Annapolis, and the work I've had to do on her engine so far.

Stay tuned!