The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men… aka When It All Goes Tits Up

by Patrick

Sometimes things go as you expect them to. Sometimes you find that your plans were off by a little. Then there are the times when you find that your plans apparently had a disagreement with a blender and came out a little worse for the wear.

Take our plans as they stood last week as a case in point. I scheduled a haul out for our boat to be done this week, and over the course of a couple days made arrangements with various contractors to come perform those tasks that really need a pro to tackle them. I had engine mechanics, bilge cleaners, electronics technicians, and bottom painters all set to go.

Our intention was for the entire family to leave Oklahoma on Monday, drive straight through and arrive on Tuesday, get the boat prepped for moving to the boatyard, and then move it on Thursday morning.

We would then have the boat out of the water for three or four days while work was performed, put it back in the water, and we’d have three days or so to do our own chores and make plans.

Mother nature had other things in mind, in a couple of different ways.

To start, my wife is quite under the weather and has been for going on a month now. There’s a nasty bug going around and several of us have had it. Bad cough, head congestion, exhaustion, etc. She’s on the mend at this point, but really wasn’t up to an extended road trip followed by several days of hot work in the Florida heat, followed by another extended road trip home.

So we decided it would be best if I just flew down and managed the haul out and contractors this week, and in a week or two when she’s back in fighting form we’d all come down together for another week. This had the added benefit of us being able to actually stay on the boat instead of a hotel, as the boatyard we are using does not allow owners to stay aboard overnight.

I flew out on Tuesday, got a car and a hotel, and crashed hard after a day of travel.

Enter mother nature.

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We had been aware for some time that a tropical depression was traversing the Atlantic, and while I was in the air it was officially upgraded to a tropical storm Erika, and subsequently forecasted to become a full blown Hurricane.

You know that thing the weather gurus call the ‘cone of uncertainty’? It’s the projected track of the storm, with a cone expanding outward along the projected path that shows the likely path of the storm. As of this writing on Wednesday evening, the cone projected for next Monday is about 600 miles wide. That means that the best prediction at this point is that the storm will pass within 300 miles one side or the other of the center of the cone. Want to guess where the center of the cone is currently drawn? About 60 miles north of Miami, Florida. Want to guess where the boat and I are at the moment? 70 miles north of Miami, Fl.

I thought it rather serendipitous that I already had a plan in place to get the boat out of the water, where hurricane straps could be put on and any weather related worries could be put to rest.

This fortuitous circumstance only faced one problem. South Florida is filled to the gills with people who have a LOT of money. Within 20 miles of where I sit, there are literally thousands upon thousands of boats in the $500,000 plus category, and many many hundreds of boats in the multi million dollar range. The ridiculousness of spending that much money on a floating pleasure palace aside (perhaps I’ll elaborate on my thoughts about that at another time), the fact remains that each and every one of those floating exercises in penis size overcompensation is owned by a very wealthy person who is just as worried about his boat as I am about ours.

Hence the phone call I received this morning from the boatyard. I’m sorry, Mr Always, but we’re calling to cancel your haul out.

Turns out that the boatyard pre-sells emergency hurricane haul out slots for a nonrefundable fee, and in the event the probable cone of a named storm covers this area, those plans go into effect and everything else gets put on hold. As I write this the boatyard is working overtime hauling out megayachts as fast as they can and stacking them like sardines.

The woman that called to cancel our haul out sounded positively ecstatic. I imagine this is a pretty big payday for them.

So now I find myself 1400 miles from my family, in a hotel room, checking the weather every couple of hours in an effort to determine if I need to run north, south, or inland… or if I’ll need to take our boat anywhere at all.

Best laid plans, indeed. 

Here is a video that I took to show the family how steady she is, even with the wind and waves (my genius wife had the suggestion of filming a cup with water in it to really demonstrate how little the boat moves)

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