Woody Boater To The Rescue?


Jimmy pulling up to the flipped sailboat

Each and every time I go out on the water I fear the worst. Break downs or worse some sort of dumb accident. Our beloved boats have not the latest in safety features and even though I take a lot of caution, ship happens! But I suppose because of all that hyper stuff, stuff seems to go OK..ish. What is humorous though is the amount of times the Old Woody Boat has been there to tow folks home. But a sail boat? Yup. And this is the second time.

Trying to right the ship!

While cruising the Wicomico River we noticed a small sailboat flopping around. Now mind you, there was little wind. The boat then abruptly went over and it was clear that the sailor was not going to right the boat. Turns out the sail was in the mud and wouldnt have flipped back without help. So in I went. With a little grunt here and there in the water and mud we were able to flip the boat. All those Cheese burgers finely paid off with the little extra weight! Of course there is video of it! Its the new age of video everything!

Two of us were able to get her set.

Oreo was watching the entire event! Dad is nuts? Why did he jump in?

We were able to give the sailor some quick lessons to get back to the dock. And some sail adjustment. Adventures on the water make a fun boat ride for sure!

Jimmy followed us while we tacked back to the dock

It dawned us on the way home, that I suppose many woody boats are in better shape than many newer boats. Possibly because we are all so hyper about them, and its all analog and more of a visceral experience. I can feel a change in the force in the wheel and boat. I am tuned in to smelling fuel, transmission oil vs oil. All of it. That may not be as good as a sensor, but its what we have.

Woohoo! Back on the water! The Boatress is happy, so i am happy!


24 replies
  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The air and water temps were both in the 40’s here yesterday, so pardon my shivering as I watch that video!

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Great photo of the Boatress at the helm in the header. I a sure glad she was there to tell you guys what to do!

    • Gary Gowans
      Gary Gowans says:

      The fact of the water temp., a no wind capsized, and the motor on the SAILBOAT indicate that this was no SAILOR. Thanks for the assist however.

  3. John Bailey
    John Bailey says:

    Back in the dark ages in 1967, I was in my third year at the Culver Summer Naval School. As an upperclassman, I was able to ‘captain’ on one of the few occasions we were allowed take their prized vintage and only “A” Scow (if I recall it was a 38 foot wood boat with an enormously tall wood mast!) out with another shipman so we could show a group of girls school cadets the joy of the boat. Well, we managed to take the Scow over on our sail…the girls went swimming and the other cadet and I stayed high and dry.

    The Academy ran Century and Chris Craft 50’s Woodies as safety boats and a couple of the staff came over to assist in flipping the boat up by lifting the mast to put put a puff of wind beneath. On the first lift, the guys dropped the mast and took out one of their windshields and did deck damage. Certainly, they were not happy knowing a repair was necessary over the winter. Next attempt, the Scow righted and we sailed back to the docks.

    My love of Woodies began then. As a result, there is a ’57 Century Resorter in my collection.

    • Jeff H
      Jeff H says:

      Hey John Bailey, Culver Winter School ’73 here. I’m glad to see someone else comment about the fine old boats on Lake Maxinkuckee. I rowed in the old 4 man wooden shells and the faculty sponsor herded us around in a boat the called “the Log.” (very narrow beam), no idea who was the manufacturer. When I was there they still had the Fowler and the Yarnell. I’ve always wondered what they did with all those boats!

      • Jim Staib
        Jim Staib says:

        They had a late 1950s Chris-Craft Continental that had seen better days. It was in Beloit, WI last I heard. I ended up with some 12′ oars they had.

      • Ben Boon
        Ben Boon says:

        Hi Jeff,
        Attached a picture of my CC 17 Sportsman.
        I bought it from Florida (2008) and it was named ‘The Log’.
        The equipment record indicates it was initially delivered to the Tri State Boat Mart in Hamilton, Indiana. Might have been the same boat!
        I had it shipped to the Netherlands and just completed a restauration with the help of the Danenberg Bible.

  4. KentB
    KentB says:

    Judgemental comments like “that’s no sailor”… well the only way to become one is to go out there and put yourself at the mercy of the elements. Some are better prepared than others, but every last one of us out on a boat are subject to the whims of Mother Nature and the Laws of Murphy.
    So kudos to that guy for trying… even if he was “doing it wrong”. And a big thanks goes out to all of you who abide by your duties as mariners and help out a fellow “sailor” in distress.

  5. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Reminds me of my first and only job as a sailor. At Gulfstream horse race track at Hollywood, Fl they had an infield lake and six 11 foot Moth sailboats to entertain the crowd between races. I was afforded the opportunity to replace one of the sick sailors. As the newbie they gave me the boat with the warped daggerboard and I set sail for the center of the lake, assuming that was the deeper part. Wrong !..There was a sandbar there and I stuck the daggerboard in the sand bar. Since it was warped it wouldn’t come up easily and I flipped the boat. Well, I turned out to be the afternoon entertainment for those in the grandstands. Lesson learned, I sailed each afternoon for two more weeks until the regular sailor got well and I was sent to the teller window to pick up a nice check.

  6. Matt
    Matt says:

    The Sailor is a fun guy and gets it. It was his first time on a sail boat. He had a lesson 15 years ago, we laughed about that. Part of the return trip to the dock was a fast 15 minute lesson. To be honest it was a fun ride , two guys just laughing about the adventure. He is the kind of guy that litteraly dives into things and figures them out. The area of the river is very safe and no deeper than 7 feet. The issue for him, is that the wind changes alot behind small spits of land. I was even a little confused. I had sailed for years, built small sail boats and all. But that boat and the tricky gusts were a little dificult. Great guy, great fun, and a great memory!

    • Wudzgud
      Wudzgud says:

      Matt You nailed it right on the head. Great guy, great fun and a great memory. What life is all about!

  7. Sean
    Sean says:

    At a friends cottage with a group of 15 friends in 2015, we went to Canada Day fireworks by boat. Five in my ’72 Greavette, ten in my friends ’07 Cobalt. When just about there, the Cobalt engine just quits and we hook up to tow them out of the channel and back before the sun wis totally gone.

    Despite the rush of boats leaving the event at high speed in the dark (and passing us without giving a wide berth), My “old” Greavette, near capacity, managed to easily tow the also near capacity Cobalt the 10 miles back to the cottage.
    By the end of the summer, the Cobalt had been traded in on a new one. My Greavette keeps on chugging!

    I think as enthusiasts, we maintain our boats to a higher level, take care in knowing their exact condition and being informed, recognize issues before they become a problem. Old technology is not necessarily bad technology. Stuff breaks regardless but, in many cases the difference is the owner not the age of the boat.

  8. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    What happened to safety first?!?!? The sailor and the experienced Woodyboater did not have a lifejacket (PFD) on.
    Shame… Shame… Is all I have to say…

  9. Matt
    Matt says:

    We had life jackets ready, But had to go under water to extract the sail from the mud.

  10. Dan Nelson
    Dan Nelson says:

    Several of us were cruising Norris Lake in TN a couple of years ago and we came up on a stranded pontoon boat with about 14 young people on board. Several young men had the new Merc cowling open and were fiddling around. Not a good sign.

    One of the young men looked down on my small Feather Craft and said: You are going to tow us with that small boat?

    I responded: Yes, yes I am.

    Towed them to their marina with my my dependable 1957 35hp Johnson at displacement speeds of course.

    I’ve towed dozens in over the years but this pontoon was one of the heaviest.

  11. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Well over 20 years ago, Kathy and I and some friends were heading out across Lake Washington in “Tango” when I saw something in the water ahead of me – (bright, low sunlight – almost didn’t see in time…) a young woman holding on to a cooler! We stopped, asked her what she was doing and her response was her boyfriend would be coming back to get her… We pulled her and the cooler into the boat, wrapped her in a blanket and set out to find the boyfriend, who had capsized the sailboat they were in. He and his buddy were nearly a mile downwind, nearing the Hwy 520 bridge in the strong afternoon north breeze. I coached them to lower the sail, stand on the dagger board to get the boat upright, got them to bail it a bit until it was stable then put a line on, got them aboard and took them back to the sailing club they had departed from. When we got it under tow we were less than 100′ from the side of the bridge! The young men insisted the whole time they had it under control – the girl knew better and thanked us. That was a close call!

  12. Ollon
    Ollon says:

    Reminds me of when I was a teenager and took out a Hobie Cat 14 Turbo for the first time. A big step up from the Laser I was used to. The afternoon wind picked up and I was really hauling on that thing. Totally out of control and exciting as hell in between pitch-poling and flipping it all over the bay. It was a good thing I was the only one out there until I got the mast stuck in the mud and had to sit there until someone came by and gave me a hand. Made it home in time for dinner and told everyone what a blast I had. Still the most fun and terrifying day of sailing ever. It’s either a good thing or too bad there wasn’t anyway back then to get it on youtube.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      I used to have a Hobbie 14. I got it for free because the prior owner had trouble with it burying a nose and pitching over and the mast getting stuck in the mud. Our lake is much deeper than the mast so we didn’t ever have a mud problem, but it was still a poorly designed boat and a challenge to handle well.

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