Yachts, tight squeezes, and rust in the eye


The video of a clever mariner squeezing his 80-foot mast under a ’65 bridge on the Inter-Coastal Waterway reminded Chris Lambie of sailing across Florida’s Lake Okeechobee with his father.

We weren’t sure if our mast would clear a bridge on the eastern edge of the lake, as the water level was pretty high. But my dad did the calculations and figured we’d squeak through. As we slipped underneath the span, the VHF antenna ticked gently against one of the girders, and dad got a speck of rust in his eye.

I also remember running gently aground somewhere in the silt that collects everywhere on the southern end of the Inter-Coastal Waterway. I hung off the boom—which we cranked out as if we were on a dead run—to tilt the boat to starboard. My dad then jumped in the water and pushed us out of the soft mud. Not as much fun as it sounds, as we saw lots of water moccasins and alligators in that portion of the trip.

I’m just thankful Chris wasn’t in a kayak.