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Island Sailing Is Not All Rum and Bananas Vol 1: Humorous Stories From The Bahamas

Island Sailing Is Not All Rum and Bananas Vol 1: Humorous Stories From The Bahamas

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Island Sailing Is Not All Rum and Bananas Vol 1: Humorous Stories From The Bahamas

3.5/5 (3 valutazioni)
255 pagine
4 ore
Oct 27, 2016


Have you ever thought about quitting your job, buying a sailboat and sailing away to an island paradise? I did it and found out that Island Sailing is Not All Rum and Bananas. This book contains funny stories that all started with my first midlife crisis that I had when I turned 30, quit my job and sailed off to the Bahamas on a 36 foot Leaky Teaky sailboat named the Oh Kay. This book contains 22 fun to read sea tales and color pictures about exploding toilets, sharks, flaming alcohol stoves, drinking rum, drug planes, bales of pot, racing sailboats for rum, sinking a Sportfish, British humor, Coast Guard boarding, and strippers.

Oct 27, 2016

Informazioni sull'autore

Aside from being a great writer of humorous stories, George Todd is an excellent sailor and a certified Lotionologist. When he is not writing funny stories about his sailing misadventures, he is wandering the beaches of the Caribbean offering to apply suntan lotion to women (only) to protect their beautiful bodies from the ravages of the Caribbean sun. Yes, he is a charitable, unselfish guy. Buy the book. It is full of laughs.

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Island Sailing Is Not All Rum and Bananas Vol 1 - George Todd

Island Sailing Is Not All Rum and Bananas

Vol 1: Humorous Stories From The Bahamas

Copyright 2017 George Todd

Published by George Todd at Smashwords

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Has anyone seen my sailboat?

Chapter 2: Spear Fishing Around Sharks

Chapter 3: A Shitty Situation

Chapter 4: Alcohol Stoves

Chapter 5: The Perfect Trade

Chapter 6: Drug Planes Don’t Float

Chapter 7: Save the Bales

Chapter 8: Sailing the Abacos from Man O War Cay

Chapter 9: How to Sink a Sportfish

Chapter 10: Is British Humor an Oxymoron?

Chapter 11: Race Week Day 1 The Red Racer

Chapter 12: Race Week Day 2 Drift to Guana Cay

Chapter 13: Stampede to Nippers Bar

Chapter 14: Race Week Day 4 The Red Racer

Chapter 15: Race Week Rail Meat

Chapter 16: Race Week Tangential Story: Boobs, IQ’s and Strippers

Chapter 17: Rooster Wars

Chapter 18: The Oh Kay is Not Oh Kay

Chapter 19: The POS Engine

Chapter 20: The Hurricane Trifecta

Chapter 21: The Delivery

Chapter 22: Going...Not Going...Gone

About the Author

Other Books by George W Todd

Contact Author George W Todd

Chapter 1

Has anyone seen my sailboat?

It was 2008. My wife, Jan and I (George) were standing in the Cape Canaveral boatyard staring at a bald spot in the grass where the keel of our sailboat, the Oh Kay, rested for the past two years. The jack stands that held her up lay on the ground. The Oh Kay was gone. She had been an integral part of my life for the past 25 years. I had ridden her through two weddings, one divorce, one midlife crisis and numerous voyages with friends. Now she was gone. Where did she go?

My voyage with the Oh Kay started in 1983 in Houston, Texas. In August, Hurricane Alicia roared ashore between Galveston and Houston sinking hundreds of sailboats. The classic 36’ Island Trader ketch named the Oh Kay landed in the parking lot of the Lakeway Yacht Club with a broken mast and a few scrapes and scratches on her white fiberglass hull. She fared much better than most of her slip mates.

In 1983, I was working in Dallas for the big oil company, ARCO. I had been out of engineering school for seven years. After graduating, I spent the first three and a half years working on offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for the oilfield service company Schlumberger. It was hard rewarding work that paid very well. But I was offshore 80% of the time. My social life revolved around drinking beer with other engineers while we were driving back to Houston from the offshore docks in Sabine Pass, Louisiana. If I was actually ashore on a weekend, which was rare, and met a cute girl at a night club, which was even rarer still, there was no way to call her from the offshore rig. It was usually a week or two before I could call her again to line up a date. By that time, she had forgotten who I was, or was engaged, or married.

When ARCO asked me to come to work for them in 1980, I decided that it was time to experience the onshore lifestyle. They moved me to Dallas, a city loaded of beautiful women and, surprisingly, excellent sailboat racing. Yes, sailboat racing in the middle of Texas. That is what I love about the Texas State of mind. No natural lakes in Texas? No problem. We will build some. So Texans built five big lakes around Dallas. All of them have sailboat racing on them.

There was only one problem. I found working for a big corporation to be mind numbingly boring. After three dull years at ARCO, I felt like I had the life sucked out of me. So far in life, I had jumped through hoops for four long years to graduate with an Engineering degree from MIT, then busted ass working for Schlumberger Offshore to excel in the oil service business. But now I was sitting in a cubical in a high rise office building in downtown Dallas, coasting along, waiting for the weekend so I could race sailboats and chase women. I was convinced that I was cast as one of the engineers in the comic strip Dilbert. I was just too independent to be a big company guy.

My attitude got worse in 1982, after I joined three other friends sailing a Morgan 27’ racing sailboat to the Bahamas for two weeks. Visualize four guys crammed into a tiny sailboat with less sleeping accommodations than a hippie van. Add in three scuba tanks, two portable stereo speakers and three six string guitars, four sea bags and there was nowhere to sleep down below. The four pipe berths were full of stuff.

You might call the cruising accommodations Spartan, although non-existent might be a better word. The alcohol stove quit, so we cooked over cans of Sterno. The ice melted on day two, so we drank warm beer. We beat to weather against the tradewinds for four days to get to the Abacos. We caught fish and speared lobsters. We drank way too much rum. I lived through some of the most memorable hangovers of my life. In short, it was the best sailing adventure of my life. We had a fantastic time that only guys in their 20’s could have. If there had been a woman onboard, she would have jumped ship and swum back to Florida on day one.

It was my first trip to the Abaco, Bahamas. I do not know if it was because of the crystal clear water, or the white sandy beaches, or spearing fish and lobsters on the beautiful coral reefs, or the cheap rum. I fell in love with the islands.

I can remember returning to my office cubical after that trip, staring at the beige walls and becoming depressed. Was this all there is to life? Working in a cubical for 50 weeks a year so I could be alive on a sailboat for the other two weeks? There had to be a better way to live.

In August, 1983, while I was working on an offshore oil rig in Alaska, hurricane Alicia hit Galveston and roared into Houston. I returned to Texas three days after the storm and saw wrecked sailboats in the evening news reports. This was my opportunity to live again. Maybe I could buy a wrecked sailboat cheaply, fix it up and sail away? I did not have a plan, so I just did it.

I drove down to Clear Lake, south of Houston. There were literally hundreds of wrecked boats everywhere. There was a big red sailboat on NASA Road 1. There was a powerboat in the Hilton swimming pool. It was an epic disaster for most boat owners, and the opportunity of a lifetime for me.

The first boat that I bought was a Cal 27.

Why was I smiling? Is buying a sailboat with a giant hole in it a good thing? Looking back, I must have really lost my mind. I was young and dumb. Ignorance truly is bliss. The good news was that the purchase of this wreck lead to the purchase of even more wrecks which included the Oh Kay.

Over the next three months, I bought five boats from insurance companies for salvage and repair. While paying the claims agent for boat number five, I asked him if he had any more boats that he was totaling out. The agent said that he might have one more: We weren’t going to total it out, but when we moved it into the repair yard, someone stole everything off of it. When I say everything, I mean everything from the steering wheel to the bilge pump. I think it was the dealer but I can’t prove it. Take a look at it. It is an Island Trader 36 and her name is the Oh Kay.

I left his office and drove straight to the boatyard. The agent was correct. She had been stripped clean. But otherwise she was beautiful. She had a beautiful carved teak interior and teak decks, a huge cockpit and a shallow draft full keel. The boat was the perfect set up for cruising (i.e. running aground) in the shallow waters of the Bahamas.

The side of the boat had a few repairable scrapes and scratches. I could fix the broken wooden mast. We agreed on a price the next day. It was late in the month of October, 1983. I dreamed of sailing her to the Bahamas in the Spring.

By late March, 1984, I had her ready to go to the Bahamas. I quit my corporate job with Big Oil and sailed east out of Galveston, Texas towards Key West. Onboard as crew was my girlfriend, Roxanne, and a married couple, named Barb and Ken, who were planning on sailing around the world someday, but had yet to venture offshore in a sailboat. They had ordered a 42’ boat from Taiwan, and decided this would be a good offshore sailing test run while they were waiting for the big yacht to arrive in the States. I was the only one onboard with any real sailing experience.

Charts were hard to come by. For navigation, I had a couple of paper charts of offshore oilfield pipelines in Texas and Western Louisiana waters that were gridded with offshore oilfield blocks. I had a black Radio Direction Finder (RDF) with a rotating antenna, and an old style Loran that, unknown to me at the time, did not work. It worked at the dock, but once underway, the output was random numbers. The most useful chart I had onboard was a Texaco boating chart of the entire Gulf of Mexico. It was the same type of fold up chart that Texaco gave away at gas stations. Every coastal town that sold gas at a marina had a round red Texaco star logo printed by its name. One chart covered the entire Gulf Coast from Key West to New Orleans to Galveston to Mexico. Everything that we needed was right there on that chart, with the exception of offshore navigational hazards like oil rigs. Nor did it have entrances to harbors, or lights and buoys, which it turns out, are very useful items to know about. However, I was planning on sailing to Florida, so I figured that I did not need any charts of Louisiana or the Mississippi Delta.

We sailed out into the Gulf of Mexico from the Galveston Ship Channel, long on enthusiasm and short on navigational aids. I figured that Florida is a big state. If we sailed east southeast long enough, we should make landfall somewhere on the West Coast of the Sunshine State.

By the morning of day two we were 80 miles offshore in the outer area of the drilling rigs. As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said: We are lost, but we are making good time. The loran wasn’t working. But if I sailed close to one of the oil platforms, I could read the block numbers off of the sign on the side of the rig and plot that block number on the grid on the pipeline chart. We had crossed over into Louisiana waters and I was running out of pipeline chart. Ken came down below to watch me tape blank paper to the edge of the chart and extend the grid lines with a pencil and ruler to create more chart. Ken looked concerned, but I acted like this was standard operating procedure.

Ken: George, I have to get off of this boat.

George: You are kidding, right? I looked up at his face and he wasn’t smiling. What is the problem?

Ken: Barb and I have been seasick all night. I just barfed up breakfast. I hate this.

George: I didn’t know that you are having problems. It is a little rolly, but not that rough out here today. I was more worried about Roxanne getting sea sick, but she seems to be doing OK.

Ken: That is because Barb and I are taking Dramamine and Roxanne is taking Vodka.

George: Vodka? She promised me that she would quit drinking if I took her on this trip. She has been on the wagon for two months. We are not supposed to have any booze onboard.

Ken: Just a heads up. I saw her pour some Vodka in her orange juice this morning while she was making breakfast. Sorry guy.

I put down my pencil and ruler, rested my head in my hands and stared at my chart. I hate it when a plan blows up in my face. What a mess I had created. Two of my crew had mutinied and the other one was drinking Vodka for breakfast. My dream was falling apart. I had no plan B. Ken left me below to go up on deck to puke over the rail again.

I found the Texaco chart and unfolded it, then plotted our guesstimated position on it in pencil and searched for options. We could go back to Galveston, but we were already in Louisiana waters and that would be a major defeat. A dream crusher. New Orleans would be along the way, but it is well inland from the coastline, and that huge Mississippi Delta is in the way of going further east. I positioned a ruler and drew a line from our present (estimated) position to New Orleans. The line crossed the coastline at a small place named Grand Isle, Louisiana. There was a red Texaco star next to the name, indicating that there might be a fuel dock there.

I held our first crew meeting in the cockpit addressing the crew: After consulting the charts, it looks like the closest place to make landfall at a Louisiana town that might actually have a paved road connecting it with New Orleans would be a place named Grand Isle.

Before I could give them any more data, Ken interrupted: That’s fine. Let’s head that way. The meeting was adjourned almost before it began.

We tacked over and actually had a wonderful close reach sail for most of the day. I tuned the Radio Direction Finder (RDF) into WRNO and listened to the self proclaimed Rock of New Orleans FM radio station all day. Assuming that the broadcast antenna was in downtown New Orleans, we tracked the radio station signal with the RDF straight into the Louisiana coast, hoping that it would lead us to Grand Isle.

Just before sunset, we spotted trees on the North horizon. The red light on the whirly bird depth finder (this was pre digital) showed we were only in 12’ of water and we were still many miles offshore. This part of the Louisiana Coast doesn’t really have a stable coastline. The muddy bottom just gets shallow enough to

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