The weather was lovely, with breezes at
about 10 knots as we continued down the
Chester River toward the Chesapeake Bay.
We’d just hoisted the sails and silenced the
engine. I was new to sailing, so Dick encour-
aged me to take the helm for some practice
as we approached the Bay. I got behind the
wheel, while Sloopy stretched out on the
broad, convex helmsman’s seat at the aft
end of the cockpit. I didn’t want him sliding
too far when we heeled, so I’d secured his
leash to the backstay. It was smooth sailing
as we headed for the Bay.
The next thing I knew, the wind picked
THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER
A leisurely sail takes a dramatic twist when a four-legged friend goes overboard in heavy weather
up considerably. With too much sail up, we
heeled sharply to starboard. As I tried to
recover my balance at the helm and figure
out what to do, from the corner of my eye
I saw Sloopy sliding over the boat’s aft starboard quarter, legs splayed, into the rough
waters of the bay. Dick and I screamed.
Adding to our panic, the poor dog was dangling overboard by his collar, his leash still
connected to the backstay of the boat!
From Bad To Worse
Dick ran to try and retrieve the dog, but
Sloopy’s collar slipped over his head, he
dropped into the water, then rapidly drifted
away. Dick grabbed the helm, as we franti-
cally tried to figure out our next steps. I tried
to keep my eye on the panic-stricken brown
dog swimming his heart out in what was now
a dark, angry sea. I rushed to drop the sails,
while Dick tried to start the engine. Nothing.
The starter had been giving us trouble, and
now it wouldn’t turn over. There
was plenty of yelling
as we tried to com-
municate over now-
“I see him!”
“Drop the din-
ghy!” I raced back
to the stern and
untangled the din-
LIFE YOUR STORIES FROM THE EDGE By deB rodenhouser
Boatu.s. Loves your Furry Friend, Too!
all Boatu.s. Insurance policyholders
have automatic Pet Injury Coverage.
For more, www.Boatus.com/Insurance
hEADING OUT FROM KENT NARROWS, MARYLAND, one lovely summer day for a jaunt on the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, my new husband, Dick, his 6-year-old chocolate lab, Sloopy, and I were all nicely settled into the aft cockpit of Dick’s pride and joy, our 42-foot Tatoosh sloop Rusty-Rudder.
Dick was at the helm, Sloopy lounged on the stern cushions, and I was
soaking up the surroundings and thinking, ‘Life is good!’
You May Get
Thinking about outfitting Fido with a
life jacket? To find out which jackets
work best, see this story online.