There are some stories that must be told, some that are better off untold, some that are too comical and unless you were there - you would not believe them and therefore should be told. This is such a story. (The names and identities have been changed to allow deniability and protect the innocent.)
Let me start by saying that a TENDER is a very important piece of gear for a cruiser. It’s your "car" and in many cases its the only way you can get around while in the islands. This mode of transportation gets you from your boat to land, it allows you to explore areas that you can’t navigate in your boat because of draft and allows you to make social calls to other boats for sundowners and dinner. By now you can appreciate the importance of the “dinghy."
Well…..this is a tale of two very naughty, nauti tenders.
There were once a group a friends that were enjoying a beautiful sunset and sundowners in the cockpit of a lovely yacht. As most folks do in the islands, the arrived to their friends boat by way of their dinghy There are a few knots that can be used to secure your tender to the transom of a boat - and each sailor has their favorite I’m sure. Upon arrival, the friends proceeded to tie up their dinghy (we will call her “Sassy” for purposes of this story) and the party atmosphere on board turns from a few hours into a few more. To the point where one friend falls hard asleep in the cockpit. You get the idea.
As the fun is still in full stride and in the midst of drinks, food, singing, dancing and telling stories, one friend looks out towards the transom of the lovely yacht and realizes there is a dinghy missing! Yes, Sassy the dinghy, decides to go for an unauthorized excursion in the dark of night, past the anchoring field because even with a flashlight and spot light she couldn’t be seen. So there they are, the friends all jump into action to go retrieve the dinghy. One friend jumps in another dinghy (we will call this borrowed dinghy “Pachanga” - which means “Party” in slang Spanish) along with their spouse and a VHF radio and a couple of flashlights to see if they can find Sassy. In the mean time, the other friends on board start preparing the lovely yacht to lift the anchor to retrieve their friends and help find the dinghy.
Suddenly, a voice comes over the VHF. It’s the friends that went out in Pachanga. They have found Sassy and are headed back with her in tow. You can imagine the relief felt by all upon hearing the “affirmative we have found the dinghy and headed back - we can see the lights and we are headed back to port.”
A little while later, here they come! Crisis averted and all is well. A strong beverage was required to calm the nerves as we heard the story of how Sassy was found in the middle of the night heading out further to sea. Seems the crew followed the current and then headed in the direction of the current while searching with the flashlight. All of a sudden she was in sight. A happy ending to this story right?
So you say - how is it that this is the tale of two tenders? Well, the story does not end here.
Early the next morning, the group of friends picked up the anchor and set for another destination with their respective tenders in tow. About 30 minutes into the trip, the captain of the lovely yacht looks back and notices the line connected to the dinghy is there but only the front handle is attached. Pachanga is not in tow! Where is she?
Seems the front handle of the dinghy came off clean and Pachanga is far behind - so far in fact she’s almost out of sight. Immediately, quick measures were taken by the Captain and crew. Turn the lovely yacht around, grab the boat hook, make room on the transom for a “Man Overboard” drill and recover the wayward dinghy. Captain and crew working in tandem were able to identify the location of the dinghy, effectively hooked the dinghy with a new line, secure it to the vessel and continue back on their heading. However, the incident did cause the Captain and crew to look at each other with eyes as big as saucers and realize they were fortunate - yet again for the tender was not lost at sea.
So there you have it - the tale of the two tenders that went for solo sightseeing tours and gave their crews reason for drinking more rum! (Like they need a reason!) Moral of the story: double check your knot when you tie up your dinghy and have two lines secured to two different point on the dinghy if you plan to tow her.
Yet again we are reminded: Don’t go looking for Adventure on this trip. Adventure will find you!