Friday, February 8, 2013



There are numerous scarabs. Some are
a kind of beetle, others, speed boats.

The Scarab we discovered was about 35`

in length, probably had a couple of 450 H.P.

engines and was designed for the purpose

of racing in the ocean.

My son, Sean and I sailed a little 27` Catalina

sailboat. We had been anchored off Angel

Island in the San Francisco Bay. We had

run our little dinghy to the beach and spent

most of the day hiking and site seeing on

the island.

In mid-afternoon storm clouds started rolling

in over the Golden Gate bridge. It looked

ominous, so we decided to get out of the bay

and fast.

Back on Xena, while Sean cranked up the

anchor and I raised the main and a jib, the storm

moved in. We just barely cleared the tip of

the island when it hit.

Winds of somewhere around 40 knots, swells

rolling in from the Gate, pushing white caps

over us.

We were having trouble driving against the

storm. We reefed the main and put up a storm

jib and still the storm blew us progressively

toward the city of Berkeley, the wrong direction.

I forgot to mention---- when we pulled anchor

we discovered that our engine was dead, so this

was all under sail.

Sure, I`m bragging, who would`nt ? We figured

staying alive that afternoon was a full time job.

The waves were piling up and the gale winds

were blowing our little boat off the top of the

waves. Then, on the crest of a wave, a gale

pulsed . As we dropped into the trough we

nearly crashed into this Scarab. A scarab, near

Berkeley, engines dead, wallowing, big waves

breaking over her.

The Scarab`s captain yelled for help as we fought

to keep from crashing into her.

We circled back into the wind in an effort to

avoid contact which would have smashed us to

pieces. Sean tried to throw them a line, but it


About five or six people on the decks of the

scarab, all waving and yelling. Engines dead, they

were certain to go down, probably in minutes.

Two more circles, dangerous jibes, wet to the

skin, they finally caught our line. Sean tweaked

the line until they had it cleated down , we drew

out the slack and had them in tow.

All the time we were yelling over the wind, just

to be heard, now the little Catalina got her

teeth into the wind and the Scarab started to

move behind us.

Sean and I tied down the tiller, working like a

couple of beavers, we managed to get up a

larger jib , pulled the reefs out of the main and

fought the storm for nearly four hours.

Near the mouth of the Alameda estuary we saw

the entrance to the Pacific Marina on our right

and headed for the entrance to the marina.

Sailing a huge circle inside the marina, as the

scarab closed on a wharf one of them threw off

the line and we headed for home.

In this great a blow we were still faced with the

job of landing in our Alameda Marina, but we

discussed it in detail , then Sailing within feet

of Government Island, home of the Coast Guard

base we turned into the wind, winched down the

jib, flattened the main.

As we closed on the Alameda Marina entrance

we were flying. Dropped the sails and she slipped

quietly through crowded boats of the marina to

slowly glide into our berth .

We had never seen an ocean going scarab before.

We fully expected the owner/ operator to get in

touch with us. I would have walked miles to thank

someone who had just saved my life.

Guess a stink-pot (power-boat) operator was just

too embarrassed at being towed to port by a

poor little sail boat. I can see his point.

---- Eagle Cruagh