As we pulled up to the ramp at Hagg Lake, a slight breeze was beginning to kick up off the lake. There was a long line of cars with trailered boats waiting their turn on the boat ramp. It was a beautiful spring day, unseasonably warm, and the kids were squirming excitedly in the back as we inched closer to the ramp.
Like I said, there was a breeze kicking up. I could tell this by the flapping of the loose mainsail on a somewhat medium sized catamaran in front of us. It was sitting on an impossibly teeny tiny small speck of a trailer and for some reason, the sail was up. Swarming around the teeny tiny speck of a trailer, somewhat medium sized boat, and the large wafting mainsail were several short, portly, bearded men with very bright, very cheap yellow and black life jackets. “Bumblebees” I said… Suzanne and the kids laughed. I then mentioned as one of the bumblebees tied the mainsail securely aft, “You know, I don’t think that sail should be up”.
Now when I say a teeny tiny speck of a trailer I am talking about one with wheels barely bigger than casters, the catamaran extending over each side of it several feet. It looked about as stable as a giraffe on a tricycle. And the telltales on that mainsail were beginning to flow aft. It was not a strong gust of wind but the telltales on that sail clearly indicated things were about to get interesting. The sail snapped tight and the bumblebees looked up. Suzanne looked in horror as she reached over and grabbed my hand “Oh honey, these guys need help” she said as she slapped her forehead with her other hand. “Too late!” I replied.
The next few moments were like a slow-motion tragic comedy. One of the bearded bumble bees reminded me of a squirrel in the road darting back and forth in front of oncoming doom. I’m still not sure how he had the presence of mind, or the time, to scratch his head each time he changed direction. Two other bumblebees pointed skyward as the mast listed to one side and screamed “holy shit!”. The bumblebee driver dove for cover under their little SUV. Suddenly the trailer lifted a wheel as if it were marking a hydrant. Then the tongue of the teeny tiny speck of a trailer folded like a cheap card table and the medium-sized catamaran with the large singing mainsail came crashing over. The large mast of the boat smashed squarely into the roof of a very nice, very expensive, candy apple red Mercedes sports car that was parked nearby. This car probably saved the life of the bumblebee that was darting back and forth like a squirrel.
There was a brief moment when nobody moved as the little caster trailer wheels spun around freely as if to celebrate the lifting of their burden. And then it seemed like bumble bees were swarming everywhere as they scrambled around the overturned boat and the severely smashed Mercedes. The driver bumble bee crawled out from under their little SUV he began shouting orders and pointing in various directions. Next thing we knew they were straining horribly to upright the boat. Suzanne once again suggested that I go help. “Nope, not now” I said… “someone is gonna die and someone is gonna get sued.”… As I notice the mainsail, still securely tied aft, starting to tighten as the swarm of bumblebees uprighted the boat I proclaimed… “I’m out”
It’s not a fair comparison to say they looked like a cartoon version of the Iwo Jima Memorial but you get the picture I hope. Just when the boat was a few feet from upright another gust sent the mast squarely back down causing portly bearded bumblebees to belly bounce off the pavement. The Mercedes took yet another dent in the roof to match the first one. It was only after this, the driver bumblebee went over and untied the mainsail.
Again we watched as the black and yellow butterballs heaved and tugged the catamaran back to the upright position. The mainsail now untethered flapped loosely in the breeze. It took a few minutes and a lot of conversation for the bumbles to figure out the hitch of that teeny tiny speck of a trailer was now horizontal and never going back onto the little SUV hitch.
The sail caught the breeze again. Even though the boom was now free the sail was still fully deployed on the outhaul. This means look out. The boom swung from one side of the boat to the other squarely knocking one of the bumbles to the ground. Next thing you know the driver bumble was driving the little SUV away from the scene. He parked the car in a safe place; clear of falling masts.
The swarm of activity was amazing. The portly little bees raced around and flapped their arms in an unruly manner. The swarm grabbed hold of various parts of the catamaran and trailer, trying to hold it steady. So now we’re watching 6 portly men dressed like bumble bees trying to maneuver a catamaran and trailer by hand, down the boat ramp to the water; with the sail still up. Handling that trailer was the equivalent to a roller skate under a pissed off hippo. I am not kidding when I tell you that the boom was whipping back and forth, knocking down bumbles as they went. The waylaid bearded bumbles would get back up, scratch their sore heads and go back to pushing. Not one of them had the sense to loosen the outhaul. This continued all the way down the ramp to the waterline. There they floated the boat off the trailer and hauled it’s pathetically bent misfortune next to the little SUV.
As the portly bumbles swarmed onto the medium size catamaran and sailed into the sun sparkling waters of Hagg Lake Suzanne turned to me and asked… “Do you think they’ll survive out there?”
Just then I heard a torrent of profanity. I looked to see a huge man as he discovered his mashed up Mercedes sports car. I smiled and turned back to Suzanne…
“Actually, I think drowning would be more humane”
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