Friday, June 12, 2015

Walking the Plank

Two weeks ago I had a lumpectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The instructions after my surgery included being very careful not to lift anything heavier than five pounds with my affected arm for at least a month. That includes using my arm own to assist in hoisting my body on and off the boat. how to get on and off the boat? Breeze On has gates on each side but our single finger pier is too short to reach the gate. That means I have to step over the life lines to get on the boat. I normally put one foot on the boat, grab the bimini supports, pull the rest of my body over to the boat and step over the life lines while squeezing under the bimini. The farther Breeze On is from the dock, the harder I have to pull. In any case, I am quite certain I put more than five pounds of pressure on my arm when getting on and off.

So what is the answer? A GANGPLANK (otherwise known as a passerelle). A friend of a friend recently sold her boat and not longer needed hers. Passerelles are frequently used in Europe and this one had been made from a ladder, board and wheels to use while cruising the Mediterranean. I can use it to get in and off the boat without using my arms.

The gate is way beyond the end of the finger pier

After getting on, we loaded the boat, threw off the dock lines (with my good arm) and took off for two nights in Dun Cove. It was nice to be able to anchor out again. Although was George was able to go for a refreshing swim, I wasn't able to go. I don't think I would be able to get up the swim ladder using just one arm. It will be tough for me to wait the 4-6 weeks for the surgery site to heal. Swimming off of the boat is one of my favorite things to do.

While we were anchored in Dun Cove George installed our burgee halyard. The first burgee we decided to fly is my Women Who Sail burgee.


On our way out of Harris Creek we passed barges dropping oysters shells to re-establish the oyster beds. The empty shells provide a substrate to which baby oysters can attach. New oyster beds are great for the economy and for the health of the bay.


We had a great sail home. We were able to make the entire 19nm in a single tack, really unusual for sailing on the Choptank!