It wasn’t long before I had received the nick name “Captain Crunch”. There are more than a few
stories that will explain the nickname, but none as funny as the Christmas of 1997.
I had decided that I wanted to be a part of the Christmas ships light parade in Portland. I started all
this by going to the meetings, and signing up to join the light show. I borrowed a generator, and strung
lights on everything I could. My little sailboat looked very strange indeed. I think I was trying to get a
sort of Christmas tree look. I actually only succeeded in making a big mess. But when I started the
generator and flipped the switch, the web if lights I had assembled did resemble something like a tree.
I gathered all my friends and we set out into the cold and wet night to follow the leader around in the
dark. I should have returned to the dock as soon as the lead boat hit a floating log, and lost all power.
Still, all was well and we were actually enjoying the night until the line of boats started a left turn to go
back up river in front of a popular pub on the river. We could hear the cheers from all the people on
shore watching the light show. I had 11 people on the boat. All were drinking but me. I had decided not
to drink because I had driving to do and it was hard enough to keep the boat in front of me in sight. A
friend of mine had the camera rolling and was giving a running dialog about all the pretty boats filing
around the water ways. Now keep in mind that it was dark and in the middle of winter. What I didn’t
know at the time was that all the boats were turning around a big old “red nun” buoy! I was following the
boat in front of me. It was really pretty, ‘cause all the other boats in front of us were now going by, and
we could see all of the other boats light show.
If only I had gone to the last meeting before the parade, and….
If only all the bright lights strung above my head had night ruined my night vision, and……
If only I had known that we were all suppose to be turning around the big red buoy that floated in front
of the popular pub, and…
If only my friend could have screamed a few seconds sooner…
I might have missed that damn buoy!
WHAMMO! We hit the “red nun” dead center at 5 knots! (If you listen real carefully to the video you
can hear the scream of the friend of mine who was standing next to me while I was driving around in
the dark.) Well, I was so shocked I ran down below and threw open all the hatches to check for leaks
that I was sure were there. I ran back up on deck and did a head count….we were all there. No one
was talking. I ran forward and turned off the generator. I had had enough. We had hit this thing so
squarely that it did almost no damage. I pulled out of the line and headed back towards the dock. My
knees were shaking and everyone was very quiet. I don’t think anyone saw what happened. When we
got back to the dock I started drinking my share of shame.
After a few drinks someone remembered that my friend Bob had had the video camera running
when we hit the buoy. Now it was easy to laugh about it. Now that we were safely tied at the dock and
watching it on the TV.
This is when the toasts started being offered to Captain Crunch!
A Date with a