We have just returned from a wonderful 30 day trip to Catalina Island.  This is the longest we have been on board since we purchased the boat back in 2011!  Everything worked perfectly!  We ran the generator for 1 1/2 hours twice a day and that kept the batteries charged all month, and all our systems worked great.  We planned to leave the island on Monday 8/30.  HOWEVER…. we never anticipated leaving under the cover of darkness with TowBoat US!  Here’s what happened…

In anticipation of leaving Monday, we headed to the fuel dock in Avalon Harbor Sunday afternoon, to top off our fuel tanks.  It is 78 miles for us to return to San Diego and we wanted to be sure we had enough fuel.  After pumping about 25 gallons of fuel into our starboard tank I noticed the attendant had given us the diesel hose. We just pumped 25 gallons of diesel into our tank!  After many phone calls with the fuel dock manager, the service barge in the harbor, and TowBoat US, it was decided that we would be towed to a sister fuel dock in Alamitos, for a pumpout, cleanout and refill of our gas tank.  We left at 5 am Monday morning, and arrived in Alamitos at 9 am, after being towed 28 miles at about 7 knots (how to sailboats do this??? I can swim faster than this!).  The fuel attendants there jumped on our issue, had us pumped out, cleaned and back on our way in 3 hours!  What could have been disastrous for us turned out to be only an inconvenience.  Here is what we learned…

  1.  Always check the fuel hoses if you don’t fuel your own vessel
  2. Kindness and cooperation work much better than anger and belligerence.
  3. ALWAYS make sure you subscribe to a towing service
  4. Stay calm.

We have three basic questions that we ask ourselves when faced with a boating “situation”: Is anyone hurt?  Are we sinking?  Are we in danger of hitting someone or something?  If the answer to all three of these questions is no, then we just have a situation to deal with.  No need to panic.

We want to give a shoutout to Ricky Birks at Dion and Sons Marine Fuels for doing everything in their power to make things right!  A HUGE shoutout to TowBoat US for the tow! And a shoutout to Richard at Sherrill’s Marine Services in Avalon Harbor for coordinating the efforts of all involved.  We have the Platinum coverage with TowBoat US and had the option of having our vessel towed to our home port in San Diego (78 miles away), but the option to head to Alamitos made more sense.  In the end we got some free gas, a free tow, and didn’t burn any fuel on the 28 mile trip to the mainland.  I guess I like to always see the positive in everything, so the gas savings is a win!

Mistakes happen.  This could have been disastrous.  But we hadn’t started any engines, and the cooperation of all the parties involved made it an adventure rather than a major problem.

Happy boating!

1 Comment

  1. September 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm
    Bobbi Howard

    What an awesome way to look at the situation. I’m glad nothing bad happened to the boat. Happy boating.

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