Posted on: March 16, 2011 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

Today we went sailing for the first time since I got onboard. I’m responsible for fenders when we cast off and when we return to the dock. This involves lowering a large, bulbish plastic ball alongside our boat to protect it from scraping against the pilings.

As per my instructions, I was holding it between our transom and the dock, where the boat swings out the widest. To get on and off the dock, we use our “small boat” (a dingy with a motor on it) as a tug, but it died as we closed in on the dock, and without it, the current was pushing us hard and fast against the dock. I heard the mate and the engineer tell me to run to the mid-deck and I got there just in time and plunged the fender in the gap. Had I not quickly run to the right place on the boat with the fenders, we would have crushed into the side of a large motor-yacht. We squished the fender between the us and the yacht only a few seconds later, as the yacht owner stared dumbfounded from the dock and his wife looked out the porthole.

It reminded me of a similar near-mishap last summer in Sweden, when we had to get our sloop out of a tight spot. I never thought then to use our fenders.

Today I earned the moniker, Fender Girl.