Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Non Sequitur

Incongruous is the word of the day. I could see it from the road through the light drizzle as I passed the big downtown boat ramp. The proverbial sore thumb sticking out in the the parking lot. This scene is normally an array of mostly white pickup trucks all being closely tailed by long aluminum trailers. It now includes a large sail boat lying on it's side like a beached whale.

It has the feel of a Twilight Zone TV show set, like the boat was mysteriously transported there through time and space. Hastily surrounded by crime tape and bits of the vessel adjacent. Is there a murder investigation? Was there a body onboard? And why is it in the parking lot?

It's a 1972 Morgan 41 Out Island with all the feel of a ghost ship. Tattered sails hanging from the severed mast, missing boom, netting wrapped around the helm, instrument mounts devoid of gear, missing hatches, and no crew. That's no crew that's now alive in this dimension.

About a thousand Out Islands were made starting in 1971, and for a time they were the darlings of the charter trade. They were.... lets just say portly vessels with nearly a 14' beam, and less than swift under sail especially down wind. Most could sleep up to nine souls. This insured the four couples that chartered it for a humid and stifling Caribbean week would never speak to each other ever again.

There is no doubt the vessel is in a serious state of dilapidation. Entropy is rapidly moving this hulk towards disorder at notable pace. The prop long ago succumbed to corrosion, although I suspect the rudder damage occurred when it fell from the sky.

The mast was actually snapped off, but what strange forces were involved are unknown. Given it's current location I'm surprised it hasn't found its way to the scrap yard yet yielding funds to spend some quality time with Captain Morgan. The wooden spreaders are also an indication of this boats age. Maybe some five minute epoxy could fix them up, and be used to glue the mast back together. Nah, this craft has transcended the fixer upper stage in its life. Old Doc Chainsaw is the next step toward ever lasting pieces.

So if this isn't public art, or a tornado didn't fling it here, then this must be the work of the city fathers, or mothers. The faded orange tags provide some confusing clues. It appears to be addressed to Wit, who ever that is.

You can't really make out the location where the boat was unlawfully at. The author of the document was very concise, but my shrewd guess is in Sarasota Bay. I'm assuming further that maybe it was where the new mooring field expansion is occurring.

I still have mixed feelings about the new mooring field. There are now a lot less boats on the bay front than there used to be, and it now has a bit of a sterile feel. The ones used as floating shanties won't be missed, but at a minimum cost of $250 per month and $300,000 worth of insurance it's a costly place to keep your small day sailor. I also notice there are fewer people painting our bay front scenes. It's not anywhere as colorful, busy and interesting as it once was.

I think it would be nice if there were less expensive mooring balls for smaller non-live aboard boats who don't need pump outs, WiFi, laundry, showers, and the ilk. As to our Morgan Out Island plunked down in the middle of the boat ramp parking lot. We'll see if it it takes more than the five days given to the owner to make it go away, for the city to also make it go away. The clock is ticking city parents.


  1. At least it isn't a hazard to navigation....

  2. Bill its a real loss to have such a beautiful lady laid to waste! Yes she's a mess but I have seen worse. When the city destroys her the Morgan fleet will be one smaller and the value of what remains will go up a little. Once a classic always a classic and each should be preserved to sail slowly but ever so safely into the sunset with her crews enjoying every moment of cruising.


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