Water - A Magnetic Attraction

David lost his hat overboard today. We learned early on in our sailing careers that water is a powerful magnetic force for anything on a boat. Keys, two cell phones, miscellaneous tools, a wallet, various and sundry hats, eyeglasses, screws, bolts and clevis pins, lots of screwdrivers, a rod and reel, a boat hook … these are just a few things that come to mind when we think of what's flown, bounced, jumped or flung itself from the boat into the water. We're not sure what the attraction is, but it's definitely there. When it is seemingly impossible for a tiny screw to bounce several times on the deck, find the scupper and scoot down into the water, it's definitely the call of the sea. That “plunk” sound as it hits the water (usually followed by expletives) is nothing new to us. We've learned to cope with it; to anticipate it even. We're usually surprised when something doesn't go into the drink, even when the odds are in our favor. We've seen too many of our personal items willingly commend themselves to Neptune.

We thought it was just us until we watched as our son Brennan's blackberry slipped out of his shirt pocket one afternoon and slide into Davy Jones' locker with not so much as a fare thee well. He watched incredulously, as the phone slipped out of his pocket and in slow motion, tumbled over and over until … plunk (followed by the expletives) and it disappeared. The look on his face was pure amazement, then despair as the full impact of what had happened sunk in … about 30' down into the mud.

We were hauling in a fish we'd caught in the Bahamas and set down the rod and reel on deck for just a second and whoosh … it was history. Marcie's luck with boat hooks tells a similar tale until we finally bought a boat hook that floats. We've never lost old, broken sunglasses or ratty old hats...only new prescription suns that cost us a mint and fine hats that we were particularly fond of.

We've shared stories with other sailors. This is a common occurrence, nearly of epidemic proportions at times. When you're on land and drop a screwdriver, you just bend down and pick it up. On a boat, we just say goodbye and make sure we have spares. We've found several tools while we've been snorkeling and diving, but tools never do well in salt water. Once Neptune has them, he wants to keep them … and he usually does.

This magnetic attraction was in full force when David was loosening the aft stays and removing the forestay for our recent haul-out.  He lost his best, biggest Phillips screwdriver and a mighty big clevis pin from the forestay. They just jumped right in and we watched knowing that the ten feet of water and two feet of mud would have gobbled them up in no time and it wasn't worth worrying about.

I might add that when I try to throw something overboard when we're at sea, an apple core or a wet teabag, it most always flies back in my face even when I've checked that the wind is in my favor. Must be a reverse attraction in those cases.


atttraction_recovering hat1


As we watched Pierrette motor into the anchorage today, an extraordinary thing happened. Maleana lost her hat overboard and Gary was able to turn the boat around in time for her to scoop it up. Such miracles are seldom witnessed. If you're under sail, it would never be worth the effort. That's why we buy our hats at the opp shops for a dollar each.


attraction_recovering hat2


An aside for the purists out there, David (engineer) and I (marketing person) have had the discussion relative to the fact that “water” cannot be a “magnet”, and even if it was, hats and stainless hardware would never be attracted. I know, I know. Water has no actual magnetic attraction when it comes to physics, but just as iron filings jump towards and cling to a magnet, that's how things on-board are attracted to the water just beyond the lifelines. I'm using literary license here; don't get your knickers twisted in a knot. Go with the flow on this one.


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