We had decided that this would be the year that we would complete the MPONR as a couple. After detailed planning we coordinated with the Admiral’s parents to meet us for a few days at Captains Cove, Paynesville.  Father-in-Law and myself sailed the boat up to Marlay on the Saturday, to be met by Mother-Law, the Admiral and Cabin Boy.

After an afternoon enjoying the atmosphere at Marlay, the Parents-in-Law and Cabin Boy left to return to Paynesville leaving the Admiral and I to prepare for the race. As usual there was a gusty period just before sun-down which raised the fetch and blew the boats towards the shore.

We waded out to the boat to head off to the start. As the Admiral pulled up the anchor, I put power on to keep the boat into the wind and take the strain off the anchor line. The Admiral had her hands forward and outside of the boat, and as she got anchor in and came to the final length of chain, the boat came up and she caught her finger between the chain and the sharp edge of the anchor roller. Disaster!

Her finger was cut open, bled profusely and came apart like a split sausage. We were having trouble communicating, there was blood pooling on the deck and the Admiral then slips and falls back and hits her head (she is unsteady anyway with blood). The anchor is now up, however the bow line which lives in the anchor well has been kicked over board and goes straight into the prop stalling the engine. All on a lee shore – and very entertaining for the assembled crowd on the shore watching our antics.

10 minutes later we had it sorted out, the anchor up, the prop cleared and the engine running, off the lee shore so we then motored across to the jetty to get medical attention for the Admiral – who was not feeling very good at this stage. It soon became clear that the First Aider (a St Johns Ambulance volunteer) was out of his depth, and that the finger would need stitching. Without a car, and now at sunset,  with the in-laws 40 km looking after a small boy, we had little option but to call an ambulance for the  trip to Sale Hospital. A story for another time, however we had a young registrar stitch the finger up, and after locating a motel that would open up to let us in at 0200 we got a lift there with a nurse who was just finishing her shift.

In the morning the in-laws met us and dropped me and the father-in-law off at Marlay where we had a cracker of a day sail back to Paynesville with the spinnaker up for most of it. We decided to leave the boat in Paynesville, on the trailer in secure mast up storage, and headed home to Canberra with a very sore Admiral. We did joke that she felt like Captain Dan in Forest Gump “Is this the best you can do?!”

The only bright spot for this trip was the excuse to come back to Paynesville a few weeks later with Cabin Boy to collect the boat and bring it home and discovering the flying fox zip line at Bairnsdale!!


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