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Very Tight Fit at Arrabella's Marina.

Very Tight Fit at Arrabella’s Marina.

We pulled into Gig Harbor on a busy Friday Afternoon and found the Public Dock was full up, with no space for a larger boat. I thought about anchoring in the harbor, which was very busy, but didn’t trust the anchor windlass and it’s completely depleted battery. I called Arabella’s Landing on the phone and asked if they had room for a 51′ boat that was 16.5′ wide. They said, “sure, slip B-1 is all the way inside and against the main dock.” I should have known better than to trust the dock girls without checking it myself.

Getting into the inner part of the marina was tight and tricky due to large boats double stacked on the end ties (both sides), but we slipped in and motored down to the main dock and the first slip. Our slip-mate was a very cute Lord Nelson Tug, but that left me very little room to squeeze Sea Eagle into the open space. In fact, there wasn’t actually room for fenders on both side of the boat. I squeezed in past the pilings and hydrants, then kept the N47 hard against the main dock as she was walked forward. We fit, sort of, so secured the boat and cracked open an adult beverage after dicking around with trying to get power for about an hour or so (turned out the pedestal was wired wrong and dead).

I wasn't sure who was more anxious, the dock crew or our Tug neighbors!

I wasn’t sure who was more anxious, the dock crew or our Tug neighbors!

It wasn’t until later that evening that it hit me, how the heck am I going to get out of the slip with zero room to maneuver? The wind came up that night and was gusting so bad the next day, we decided to stay an extra day in hopes that it would die down. It didn’t, so we wound up leaving at first light on Sunday, using what can only be described as a zero-clearance, high-alert, departure. I backed out all the way to the end ties, before spinning the boat and making my getaway. Thank God for Good Thrusters!

The moral of the story is (and I know better), don’t accept a slip that puts your boat and/or crew in danger. Doh!!