Captain Calamity

Years ago, when I worked for the Daily Mail, I used to be the “Captain Calamity Correspondent”.

Captain Calamity appeared most summers – in the “silly season” when there wasn’t much news about and anything at all could get most of a page – lost exotic animals, the weather (of course) – and amateur sailors (usually elderly) navigating some  home-made and essentially seaworthy craft, very often with the help of the AA map. Of course it all ended happily with the lifeboat going out to rescue him – and then explaining that they did not have the power to stop him setting out again.

… which, of course, he did … only to be rescued by the next lifeboat station down the coast.

Since it was known that I was a sailor, I used to be asked to cover Captain Calamity and I must say I milked him for for every cheap laugh I could think of. The way I saw it, daft old fools like that deserved everything they got.

Now, of course, the tables are turned and I am the daft old fool – or at least that is  the way it appears to me.

For instance, in my last post, I celebrated the delights of being at anchor. What I didn’t mention is that I am at anchor on the River Orwell which is lined, on both sides of the channel, with moorings – as close together as they can get them. Of course, at this time of year, most them are empty. I did consider borrowing one – but you take  a risk when you do that – how do you know the reason it’s empty isn’t because it needs some work… and what about the owner returning in the middle of the night…

But I did find a spot of deep water not far away. When Samsara dropped back at the end of her chain, her stern was nicely between two empty buoys.

However, when I returned from the charcoal expedition (see previous), I was concerned to find that she had now dropped further back – and was now through the line of moorings.

That was not good news. That is how you get your chain wrapped around a buoy. I did it once anchoring outside Torquay (should have paid the marina charges). But in the West Country you can see the bottom and work out how to undo the tangle. On the muddy East coast, there isn’t a hope.

I tried motoring around the buoy and even launched the dinghy and tried dragging the end of the chain round and round. Nothing worked. I shall have to get a diver down – more expense!

The answer is, I should have been more careful. I should have thought it through. Maybe I’m just out of practice.

I certainly hope so. This can’t go on…

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