Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So, remember how no one is writing books about sailing a schooner down the Mighty Mo… They just write canoe and kayak books…  Well, we found another low bridge in Craig Montana.  The thing is, we knew it was low, but only on the left side.  Which also happens to be were the boat launch is for the town of Craig.

What bridge? (When you are on the oars... you really don't know what is coming?)
Oh that bridge... we have that one no problem.  (Also, this isn't the bridge in this story... again, no one was taking pictures during this story.)

The plan was that we would stop at the boat launch in Craig, I would walk into town, (about two blocks away,) get a fishing license, then walk back to the boat launch… and we would be on our way.  The happy trout slaying duo of the mighty Missouri River Mermaid.  Just as we were about to come into the boat launch, which is right next to the low side of the bridge, a drift boat full of we will call “anglers” pops out.  Now there is no where to go. They are blocking the way to shore!  The current is about 5 knots right here, and we had about 40 feet to play with before we hit the bridge!  The math didn’t work out.

(Honestly, this was a big mistake on my part.  I should have had a good go around plan incase we didn’t make the landing… Though for cripe sake  all we had to do was hit the side of the river. I should have taken the masts down quarter mile back… just in case.)

Anyways, so there we were 35 feet from the bridge, that is not tall enough for us to pass under.  At the last second, Dad says, “Turn it sideways!”

So I did…

Sideways, the masts hit the bottom of the bridge… then the current  kept pushing the hull.  The boat tips… then when it was tipped enough, mast slips under and begins to slide under the bottom of the bridge.  There were several  beams under this bridge, so the whole ordeal went, “BONK…tip tip tip tip…. slide….. free!  BONK… tip tip tip tip… Slide… FREE!

About six times.  Once we were sideways, there was nothing to do but let it all happen.  If it is to low, it will tip us to far, fill the boat with water, then I think they call that sinking… If it isn’t sideways enough to get the tip over, it will break off the masts and (well, reference previous posts.) I didn’t even look up after the first two iterations… just felt the boat get thrashed from both the bridge and the current and wait for the next terrible thing to deal with.

As it turns out, we bonk, tip, and slide our way under that whole bridge.  Going sideways under a bridge with a current in a sailboat was a masterful stroke of genius!  So, after we are through and tied up in Dale and Mike’s back yard. (Again see previous post… also The big engineer was already hanging out with them.) I look at dad and ask…

“Do they teach you that bridge trick at sailor school or something?  How did you know to do that?”

His reply, “Um… no, I have never seen it done, just read about it in the accident reports…”Well, good enough.  All’s well that ends well. Right?  Mike gave me a ride to the store to get a fishing license in Dale’s golf cart.  I got a two day license and we were set to catch trout for the next two days through the best trout river in the world on our way to Great Falls .

no fish were caught.  Actually, there was not even a nibble…

Though... fishing and sailboats don't mix... (This is a hook in a sail...)

No comments: