Saturday, March 26, 2011


Ok time for a Tofer rant... I don’t do it a lot... well at least on the blog.  I am sitting in Tickles, the Pub in St Thomas where Beck works.  To get here I had to buzz across the bay, on the dingy, in the dark.  Once again, about half way across, I almost ran into a total idiot, actually a whole boatload of really stupid people.  How do I know that the combined IQ on that boat was lower our dog Charlie’s?  They were speeding across the bay, in the dark, with no lights on.  Not even a flashlight among them.
If this were an isolated incident one could just chalk it up to a stupid convention on the island or something, but it’s not.  It happens almost every night.  I have actually pulled dingys over just to listen to their stupid excuses...
 “I was just gonna buy a flashlight today but didn’t have enough money...” slurred one cruiser whose breath fumed so much if he was a smoker and lit a match he would have blown up like daffy duck when he lights up a stick of TNT.  Obviously the multiple $3.00 beers at the bar were within his price range.
Or my personal favorite:  “ I gave up on keeping a flashlight for my dingy... they just rust out and die to quick or the batteries need to be replaced too often!”  WAAAAAAAAAA cry me a river!
Can you imagine people driving down the highway, in the dark, with no headlights on, pulling these stupid excuses out on the cop who pulled them over?  What kind of person puts other people at risk like that and expects them to just drive on by and say nothing?  If you actually pull over to talk with these rock-heads like I do they act like you are the idiot and infringing on their personal freedoms.  I really have no problem with some stupid guy who decides to swim out to his boat in pitch dark.  If I run him over he’ll probably die and I can personally live with that.  His soft body would just be a bump in the dark.  I would turn and say, “Hey did we just hit something?”  He might leave a nasty streak of blood down the side of my dingy that I wouldn’t discover until the next day but, and here’s the important part, he wouldn’t cause my boat to sink or me or one of my children to fly out of the dingy, bashing his or her head in on their flying dingy and drown in the dark.
Last year there was a guy rowing his dingy home in the dark, he had no lights and he was run down by another boat who was speeding along at top speed with lights on.  The retard in the rowing dingy lived through the incident, his pretty little rowing/sailing dingy was destroyed and he had the audacity to ask the owner of the boat that hit him for compensation!  I think it would have been better if the pretty little boat had made it but the dummy would have drown... at least then he wouldn’t have the potential of passing on stupid genes.
Cruisers blather on and on and on about the maintenance they do on their big boats.  They pride themselves on how pretty the teak is, and keep detailed logs about when they changed their oil last.  They run through a safety check list when they run up the boat for an offshore voyage and yackity, yack, yack, about weather windows and life rafts and safe anchoring with proper ground tackle.  These same people get hammered at the bar, stumble down the beach and fall into their dingy in pitch dark and drive full speed back to their boat, sometimes standing up holding onto the bow line with no safety cut-off line on their wrist, hair flying back in the wind like a dog with his head out the pickup window.
Becky works nights at Tickles right now so we have to go back and forth in the dark a lot.  How do we do it?  Well let me assure you it actually isn’t easy.  Normal flashlights do truly die fast.  We discovered this within our first year out.  We now only buy Princeton Tech flashlights.  Maglights, while great on land and for camping, just don’t hold up to the marine environment.  Their insides just rust away and the switches start to fail within a week or so.  Cheaper flashlights rust at an alarming rate.  So what!  Buy a good light.  One of our Princeton Tech lights cost us $60.00, the other was $120.00  both have super bright LED bulbs that last forever especially if you spend the extra and buy the Lithium batteries for them.  They have almost no metal and are totally waterproof so salt water and air isn’t getting at the insides.  We have had one for almost two years and the other for over a year now.

But our flashlights are actually only used to look for the dummies with no lights.  Our dingy is rigged with a small marine battery which powers an LED tricolor light which is mounted on a pole which can be raised and lowered.  If you have it permanently mounted up high enough to see it will be knocked off the first time you go to a crowded dingy dock.  That is the main problem with mounting your light on the cowling of your dingy engine too, that and that when a dingy is up on a plane and the driver is sitting in front of the motor you really can’t see those lights anyway.  (Though I am in favor of ANY type of light on a dingy and would never complain about them.)  Our battery is actually charged by the engine but if you don’t have this ability with yours you can just go to Home Depot or ACE and buy one of those little solar panels that power the little yard lights and run the wires directly to the battery.  If you only use it to power your lights or a small bilge pump it will keep the battery topped up with no problem.

Don’t get me wrong, the maintenance on this system is a pain in the neck... I have to replace a switch or the whole light every year, sometimes the whole thing gets broken by some yahoo who climbs through my dingy in that crowded dingy dock, the battery isn’t cheap and needs to be replaced about every three years or so.  So what... your dingy is a boat too and will need the same kind of maintenance that your big boat does!  If you noticed that your car had no headlights working what would you do?  Shrug your shoulders, jump in and drive to the bar anyway... no you would go get the lights fixed.
If one of you dummies buzzes by me in the dark just don’t expect me to ignore you and keep going, I will turn around and follow you and say what I said tho the boatload of people I saw tonight.  When they saw me turn around they dropped off a plane to see what I wanted, I drove up to their boat looked them all over carefully.  One guy finally said, “What ya need man?”  To which I replied,  “I just wanted to see what stupid looked like...  Get a light dummies!”  
I Fell Better Now Thanks For the RANT,
Captain Tofer

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