The ferry captain calls him Castaway, which I thought was appropriate. He looks like he has not shaved in a year or so and smells like he has not showered in at least a week. It was not a BO smell, more like fermented chemicals of some sort mixed with mud. His boat was a sad looking sight, and the Coast Guard vessel beside it did not help his cause. Not wanting to bother the Coast Guard, I asked the marina manager what was going on this late in the evening as I was returning to my boat from work. Castaway had called the Coast Guard because he was taking on water and his engine was dead. As the Coast Guard was towing this unnamed vessel, it forced more water in through the prop stuffing and they thought he was scuttling his boat, which is common for drug dealers.
The Coast Guard called in a welcome party for him in Winter Harbor, there were state officers, local officers, and the warden service all waiting to throw him in cuffs and turn his boat upside down at least three times. Each department searched the vessel and found no illegal items. I think they did not like his wise cracks and may have known him from previous contacts. The warden service was kind enough to throw all his books and maps into the bilge, even his Bible. They issued him a summons for no registration and no type IV personal flotation device. I kinda felt bad for the guy.
After the Coast Guard put him on a mooring I grabbed a of couple beers and rowed my way over to what was left of his rig in hopes of a good story. Right away I realized that he was missing one of his two masts. It looked to be in parts on the deck along several lobster crates filled with coal, salvaged moorings, and broken parts to his boat. The mast that was standing was very dry, and cracking, the green paint was old and flaking off. His boat looked like the cover of a Farley Mowat book, but with one mast.
I was afraid to look below deck and my fears were confirmed when I looked down the hatch and smelled a combination of lacquer and diesel fuel. It was trashed. It was like a bunch of trash got turned upside down and trashed even more. It was closer to a workshop full of trash than a living space. There was the bottom half of a fiberglass dinghy on his futon, a stove for burning coal, lots off clutter with no value at all. The water was up over the floor boards with a nice layer of diesel covering everything. This guy has been living on this vessel for just under a year.
I brought my starter battery over so he could get his engine going and pump the water down. When the engine turned over it was as probably the most awful sound I have ever heard coming from a diesel and I had an overwhelming urge to get my 20 gauge and put it out of its misery. It was as if his engine was full of stones and the prop was striking concrete at the same time. Actually I wanted to put the whole boat out of its misery. It was so loud we had to yell to communicate. He pumped the water down and I left my battery on board over night so he could keep up with the water coming in.
The following morning I did a welfare check on him and I was very unpleased to see his boat was still floating. In retrospect I probably should not have given him my starter battery. He had lost his anchor not long ago and I gave him one from my four-piece collection. It was the one that I had recently lost and recovered. With the hardware removed from the anchor, I am pretty sure it is worse than useless. It did not work on a 30 foot boat, it is not going to work on a 40+ foot boat. I told him it might be a bit small and he should get lots of chain.
After chatting for a while I learned he also made an attempt at the Bahamas last winter. He left Portland, Maine on December 25, which is insane. I secretly hoped he did not make it as far as we did but he made it to Ocean City, Maryland. And he did the trip solo, with a boat that looks like it has been sitting in a backyard for the last 40 years.