Volume 16, Issue 4 ...................... ..........Newsletter of the Finger Lakes Chapter, ACBS.................................... December 2006

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Each fall, ACBS makes a number of awards at its Annual Meeting. One of those awards is sponsored by FLC and is given in the spirit of fun and good humor to a deserving ACBS member (see page xiv of the 2006 ACBS Directory). The following article covers the story behind this year's winner of the Broken Gunwale Award. -Ed. It was Friday, April 21, 2006. We were at the first Blue Ridge Chapter event of the year at Lake Hartwell in Georgia. Our Safety Chairman, Bob Churchill, was on hand with his 1962 21-ft. Chris-Craft Sea Skiff named Classy '62. Upon arrival, Bob checked in with friends and the show committee. Then he headed to the ramp at Hartwell Marina to launch his boat. As this was the first outing of the year, the Skiff's V-8 was a bit reluctant to start. A couple of squirts of the magic starting fluid and the old girl fired up. He headed out to motor around to the docks, but encountered the thick fog that was prevalent that day. He figured that he could follow the shoreline around to the marina, but soon became engulfed by extraordinarily thick fog and couldn't see a thing. While groping around in the fog, the engine overheated and he had to shut it down. It was then that he realized his cell phone was still in the truck. Now, he was in a bit of a pickle! He couldn't run the engine, had no cell phone and couldn't see 20 feet away. So, he started yelling, but all he could hear was his own voice coming back as an echo. Finally, someone heard him, came out on the water, found him, and towed him back to the dock at the launch ramp. There, he pulled the boat out of the water and took a look at things. Not only had the engine overheated, but he found the boat had about a foot of water in the bilge because the engine's water pump had been pumping more water into the bilge than into the engine's cooling system. Fortunately, he found a rebuilt water pump and in a couple of hours had it installed and headed back to the ramp with boat and trailer in tow. Enroute to the ramp there was a speed bump in the road, which managed to successfully disconnect the trailer from the hitch ball. That's always a bad thing, but the trailer's safety chains worked. That's a good thing! But when Bob stopped the truck, the trailer didn't and that's a bad thing! No one was hurt and that's good. However, his truck, boat and trailer were blocking the road in both directions, the trailer tongue-jack didn't work and nobody could get in or out of the marina. Eventually, he was able to find someone with a jack and managed to get things reconnected while suffering some unkind words from those who had planned to use the road. Only slightly dismayed at the progress of events thus far, he launched the boat again and motored around to the marina's docks where he tied up in the slip closest to shore. He then went inside the marina where most of the members were listening to a presentation by Jim Shotwell, chair of the ACBS Youth Development Committee. After about an hour someone came in and interrupted the presentation to say that there was a Sea Skiff "out there riding pretty low in the water!" When Bob arrived at his boat, he found that water was up over the floorboards! His initial thought was to let her sink! But that impulse passed quickly and after a good bit of furious bucket-bailing by several people, Classy '62 was back floating close to normal. Investigation revealed that the latest culprits were a water hose that wasn't tight, and a bilge pump that wasn't as automatic as it should have been. Bob retightened the hose, made some repairs to the bilge pump and believing nothing more could go wrong, departed for the Hospitality Room. That evening Bob and his very tolerant wife, Shelia, were staying at the state park about five miles away. Bob was replaying the events of the day in his mind as a real frog-strangler of a rainstorm pelted down. About 1:00 AM he decided he should drive over to the marina to check on his boat. His boat seemed fine and while there, he checked on all the other boats as well. Finding no apparent problems, he headed back to the park for some sleep. Well, the park has a security gate that, late at night, lets people out but doesn't let people in! Bob spent the rest of the night trying to sleep in his truck until the gate was reopened at 6:00 AM. Saturday morning finally arrived so he cleaned up and hurried back to the marina and the boat show. When he went to start his boat, he discovered that he didn't have the keys! In his excitement to get back to his boat, he had dropped them in the park. After another round trip, he was back at the boat with the keys. For the sake of safety he thought he should take the boat out for a test run and take in a bit of the beautiful day. By this time the outside temperature had warmed considerably, so he opened the windshields of the Sea Skiff to let a breeze pass through the boat's cabin. Much to his relief everything was working well. Then he hit a wave and heard what sounded like a pistol shot and his vision went haywire! After a couple of moments trying to regain his senses, he realized that the windshield on the driver's side had slammed shut shattering the glass so badly that he couldn't see through it. As you can imagine Bob was not exactly enthusiastic about all this! However, he did weather the rest of the boat show unscathed and at our next event about a month later at Lake Chatague, he stood up and gave a "safety briefing" recounting the Lake Hartwell weekend for all to hear. While he had us all laughing, we knew not to laugh too hard because we all have had, or will have, our own tribulations to deal with as we pursue this "interesting" hobby. Call it a learning experience.

Tom Riggle, President, Blue Ridge Chapter, ACBS