Re: A funny thing happened...
As a young swabby I was stationed in Key West for 5 months in 1971 going to Class A school. I grew up a surf rat and had never set foot on a sailboat, but when a friend invited a gang of us to go out on his new (to him) plywood trimaran I jumped at the chance to get on the water. This was before Margaritaville, and the town was not the theme park it is today. Lots of shrimpers, hippies and drifters, none of them anyone you would want to take home to Ma & Pa. If you didn't fish, smoke dope or drink, there wasn't much else to do there.
My friend Dallas had just re-upped and had a pocket full of re-enlistment bonus. He was divorced, lived in the barracks and already owned a Firebird so buying a sailboat made perfect sense to a guy from west Texas.
There were nine of us on the boat when we left Sigsbee Park Marina. It was a gray, breezy and chilly January afternoon and we had that little (prolly about 28 feet) boat loaded well past her painted line. We idled out into the choppy bay, gave her the gas and shortly after as we headed up to raise the main someone noticed we were settling down around the stern. It was a Keystone cops moment as all nine of us rushed aft to see what was going on.
A quick look in the outboard well showed that the transom, which had been intended to hold a much smaller motor than the new 30 horse chunk of iron Dallas had just bought, had cracked and pulled out it's fastenings. In true Texas fashion, he had reasoned that there was nothing in the world that couldn't be improved by a generous application of more horsepower.
The motor was being held in by it's own forward thrust and the steering cables and the boat was swamping rapidly. Needless to say we raced slowly back to his end tie, pumping and bailing all the way. With the guys off the boat and the motor out of the well the boat looked to be safe enough to leave alone while we all headed down to Dos Amigos to tell our tale.
A couple of days later I ran into Dallas, all down in the dumps. He'd reinforced the transom and gotten the motor back in OK, but later made some new friends at Mallory Square at sunset. When this young hippie couple learned about his new boat they devised a plan where they would sail across to the Yucatan, load up with bales of pot, return to the Keys to sell 'em and Dallas could retire rich, stoned and happy.
The plan was for the couple to live aboard for a few days while they provisioned and got the boat ready, all at Dallas' expense. Chart, spare fuel tank, the usual stuff.
On the morning of departure Dallas went down to see them off from the marina and the boat was there, stripped of everything but the docklines. No compass, no anchor, no engine, no sails, nada. What a sad ending to a young Texan's big adventure.
For the remainder of my time in Key West the boat never left the dock. Dallas was out of money and I suspect was pretty tired of the whole yachting scene by then. I wouldn't be surprised if it's still there now.
"And then I think , who cares, we're just anthropological curiosities a mere second away from turning into fertilizer, might as well scratch and listen to music we like." John B