I thought fellow members might find amusement when someone like me has one of those days.

It all started on the Saturday when my good lady wife informed me of my duty to drive her to the Showgrounds at Flemington to attend a horse event with her girlfriends.

That’s ok I thought to myself I will load the zodiac and outboard on the farm ute and checkout Gumnut after I’ve dropped her off. Its only 10 mins away after all and I know the forecast is for 25 to 30 knot winds but hey I’m an optimist.

Optimism disappeared as soon as I arrived Williamstown. No it’s just too rough. The thought of trying to maintain balance with a bucket and sponge in each hand whilst scrubbing the decks was just ridiculous even for me.

Sunday morning dawned and with it a forecast of 10 to 15 knots. A good day to visit Gumnut and give her a scrub up, start the engine and give it run for half an hour or so and make sure the knitting is still in order.

It seems everyone had the same idea, the Strand was fully booked out with nary a car parking space to be had. After 10 mins of doing circle work I managed to find a spot a hundred metres or so from the small boat ramp.

I made numerous trips from the ute to the ramp, firstly with the inflatable, then the outboard and several more with other gear.

Finally I’m motoring out to the boat pleased with myself.

After tying up I board Gumnut to find that the hours I’d spent weeks before scrubbing off all the seagull crap and installing bird netting was to no avail. It was everywhere and two chicks hiding under the transom as well.

What to do? Do I throw the chicks overboard and begin my clean up or do I abandon the mission once again. Mission aborted.

So I think to myself all is not lost, I will run the engine that’s what I’ll do. I fumble around in my pockets for the key to the cabin latch padlock and the key for the engine. I realise with a sinking feeling that I’ve left them in the ute.

After much cursing of myself I motor back to the ramp collect my keys and motor back. I enter the cabin and start the ritual of putting things away that have dislodged themselves during my absence and finally put the key in only to find the battery is completely flat.

How can this be, I have a 40 watt solar panel to keep it topped up. I go back out on deck to interrogate aforesaid solar panel only to discover some low life has cut the lead and made off with it for their own purposes. So mission two is now aborted as well.

Just when I thought it can’t get worse I look up to see the zodiac drifting about 60 metres away and showing no sign of coming back. I look to where I tied her up and sure enough the rope is still there, that bloody zodiac has untied itself and was making a break for it.

There was no-one about to call for assistance and I’m aboard a yacht with no sails and an engine that won’t start and I’m approximately 400metres off shore. There was only one thing for it and that was to go for a swim and hope I can swim faster than the zodiac was drifting away with wind assistance at about 15 knots and gusting higher. I eventually got to it and discovered that 400mm diameter tube is impossible to haul yourself over. After thinking about it I swam around t0 the stern where I used the outboard leg to climb aboard.

Sitting back on Gumnut and pondering the day’s events I realise that I’ve spent the best part of 4 hours and achieved absolutely nothing and have driven 140kms for the privilege.

Just one of those days...
Paul Howe.

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Membership is open to all wooden boat enthusiasts. Many members own boats, others do not, but all enjoy the chance to get together and "muck about with boats". Their boats include rowing boats, putt-putts, radio controlled models, pond yachts, canoes, kayaks, steam-powered boats, sailing dinghies, dayboats and ocean-going yachts.

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