In this month’s Confession, we hear how one Sealine owner gave a midnight intruder something to take home
The other day, my husband and I were recalling particular confrontations or mishaps we’d encountered in our boating lives, and one situation sprang to mind.
Late on in a summer season, a few years back, having decided to spend the weekend at Windsor, we drove up one Friday evening to moor on the island there. At the time we had a Sealine F33 and I remember that we arrived there extremely late.
Unfortunately, we had only spent a few hours there before we had to deal with a very drunk man. At about 2am, I was woken up by the man’s cries for help.
He was apparently stuck halfway down the reedy embankment. So my “darling husband” was immediately shaken awake and told to go and “rescue” the sozzled chap.
Somewhat disgruntled at first (just imagine what he was like on his return, more than an hour later), he quickly put on some clothes and ventured out.
For what felt like an age, the man wouldn’t negotiate with my husband and refused to move from a steadily sinking position halfway down the reed bank, unless someone ordered him a taxi.
I believe he was eventually carted off by his friends in a wheelbarrow, with a safety ring around his stomach.
I had wanted to record this event, but no one would let me take photographs, so I ultimately lost interest and returned to bed.
The next day, we decided to opt for the peace and quiet of the opposite bank, Brocas. We were happily moored on our own that evening and after a long day sightseeing in the town, we decided to have an early night.
Around 1.30am I was woken up by Ben, one of our terriers, barking frantically. I looked through from
the front cabin and could see Ben standing on his hind legs in the main saloon and barking at something, high up, through the window.
I said to my darling husband – who was soundly snoring – that something must be “wrong” outside.
As this was met with a continuing “Zzzzz”, I ventured out to the main cabin area where I could clearly see, through the large windows, a tall, thin, baseball-hatted man, silhouetted high on the bank.
Clearly visible against the moonlit sky, the man was menacingly holding something high in the air over his shoulder – what looked to be, and indeed was, a long piece of four-by-two (a 100mm x 50mm piece of wood).
Shocked, for a moment the prowler and I both stood stock still. Then I furiously shouted at my darling husband, “Get up, this is serious!”
Unsurprisingly, this was only met with a sleepy grunt, so I slid the side window open and said to the would-be burglar politely: “Can I help you?!”
In hindsight, I realise this was not a great move… as I had absolutely no clothes on. At this, the man had quickly darted back towards the rear canopy.
This was appalling as I thought at first he was actually going to try to come on board. We later realised he was, in fact, intent on doing up the rear zip (having earlier unzipped it, when he’d thought the boat was empty), perhaps to keep in the barking and ‘potentially’ dangerous dogs.
Luckily, he hadn’t realised how small and cowardly our terrier actually is. On many occasions if Ben is worried, he scampers back into the safety of the boat and barks through the windows. (And when he’s really scared, he’s been known to bury his head under the cushions.)
Thankfully, the intruder turned away, threw the wood to the ground, and rushed to a mountain bike before speeding off up the Thames footpath.
About this time, darling husband had emerged and was busy putting on his clothes. Gathering speed and a torch, he sleepily asked what all the fuss was about and, by the way, did I know that everyone could see me walking around like that?
The author of every confession we print wins the original Stephen Shaw cartoon artwork (above) and an Icom IC-M23 Buoyant VHF Marine Transceiver handheld VHF radio worth £165.
For your chance to win, spill the beans on your funniest boating moments in 650 words. Email your story to: