Dog Hoist And Broken Boom Story

Every morning Lucy dog gets to decide when it’s time to go out for morning exercise by casually tossing a ball at one of us.  That’s what starts the chain of events that leads to her morning exercise ritual.  With her morning ritual complete Lucy and I end up at the Western Flyer.  Before the morning heat kicked full in I decide to hose off the entire boats bilge area from bow to stern using lots of boat soap and water.

Glad to report that she now smells less like a stink pot (derogatory word for power boaters by sailors) and more like a condo on the water.

And now I was not only hot but completely wet but, it felt real good.  Me being one to want to pass that feel good feeling off to dog I quickly considered throwing her overboard.  Then I found item (13) on my to-do list; Hoist Dog using Dog Lift Harness.


Ray Allen Dog Rappel Harness


Believe it or not I purchased this rappel sling years ago when I first heard Dave Clark, oldest man to sail around the world solo (except if you count his dog Mickey).  He is the one that got me thinking about how I was going to handle lifting an 80 pound dog in and out of a boat, while at sea.

Enter the rappel sling made by Ray Allen, leader of great military products.  According to the advertisement; your dog now goes anywhere, including literally straight up in a helicopter.  Imagine a boat sinking where you and crew are saved but dog is left behind.  That is one of the stories Dave shared with us at the Los Angeles Adventurers club.

Dave recounted a story that as the boat was sinking he, suddenly found a (his words – Japanesse freighter nearby attempting to rescue him).  When the hoisting rope was dropped down to him he, first secured his dog Mickey onto it.

As the freighters crew was hoisting dog Mikey aboard all went well, up until those last few seconds that are now forever etched into his mind. When they made a grab for Mickey – him thinking that his cruising days were now over and he was getting transferred to a “stink pot” decided to bail ship; and as he (dog) fell, he narrowly missed the deck of the sailboat.

Sad to say Mickey was never spotted nor rescued.

Enter the Rappel Sling – Now Your Dog Goes Anywhere.  A K-9 sling made of Cordura® nylon and 2000 lb. test nylon webbing with an Element Screwgate metal ring for a winch or rope attachment.

Here is the rest of the story as reported:

THE BOATING REPORT; A Single-Minded Sailor Conquers the Sea Solo

When the Russian freighter came alongside to pluck him from his sinking boat last February in a severe gale off South Africa, the biggest concern of the single-handed sailor David Clark, 77, was getting his West Highland terrier, Mickey, to safety.

It was a mission that went unaccomplished.

”My boat was smashing against theirs, but they got a line down to me and I tied two life jackets around him and had him secured,” Clark said last week by phone from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ”But when they dragged him up 50 feet and he heard those Russians, he got so frantic he just literally shook himself out of the harness.”

What happened next was heartbreaking. ”He went right by me, and that was the end of it,” he said. ”I had about 30 seconds to figure out what to do myself. I couldn’t worry about it. He was long gone.”

Clark persevered, took the second line tossed to him and was rescued. Once ashore in Cape Town, with unfinished business to attend to, he found another boat and returned to the sea. And last week, he realized a goal he had set for himself a decade ago. When Clark arrived in Florida, according to ”The Guinness Book of World Records,” he became the oldest man to have circled the planet alone under sail.

”There’s a message here that’s important,” Clark said. ”People like me, we 1924 babies, aren’t dead yet. You hear so much about young people and that’s fine. But more credit should be given to us older people. We’ve still got a lot to do.”

Anyone with Clark’s stamina and zest for living — young or old — most certainly does.

A member of what Tom Brokaw has called ”the greatest generation,” Clark was born in Alameda, Calif., grew up in Oregon and saw combat in World War II as a member of the 10th Mountain Division. ”It was a horrible experience,” he said.

Once home, the former infantryman began a long career in the ski industry in New Hampshire and Colorado. He also indulged his passion for the clarinet, a skill that came in handy in his later years.

But Clark never sailed until moving to Florida at the relatively advanced age of 50 after declaring himself bound for warmer climes while dangling from a chairlift one frigid day.

”I told my wife of the time that I was going to Florida where it was nice and warm,” said Clark, who has been married three times and has five children. ”She said I never would, which was the wrong thing to say to a Taurus. The next day I was on my way.”

Once there, Clark bought a 31-foot sailboat. He has had a boat ever since. After that first vessel was paid off, he decided to sail it around the world. Clark fulfilled his goal in less than four years, mostly on his own. ”I wasn’t going to let it sit,” he said. ”I made every mistake in the book and I’m still making a few.”

Upon his return in 1991, at 67, he contacted the folks at Guinness to see if he had set any records for his age group. He learned of an English sailor who had finished a circumnavigation at 68. The quest to set his own world record was on.

Clark’s first attempt, aboard his 31-footer, ended when he sank and was rescued in the Indian Ocean. But the sailor was undaunted, purchasing a 42-foot steel boat he called Mollie Millar, after his mother. Aboard it, he started again on Dec. 5, 1999.

To supplement his $500-a-month Social Security check when times were lean, Clark stopped and earned money playing his clarinet at yacht clubs, marinas and country clubs. At each port, he had customs agents or immigration officials sign affidavits verifying that he had arrived and had set out alone.

For the most part Clark’s journey was on track until the day Mollie Millar began taking on water off South Africa. Clark survived, but his dog, Mickey, was lost at sea.

Fittingly, after raising enough money to purchase a well-used 34-footer in South Africa, Clark renamed the boat Mickey and set sail again. ”I was going to finish if I had to take a rowboat,” he said. ”I’d made up my mind not to quit no matter what.”

And so, on Dec. 7, Clark sailed back into Fort Lauderdale to put the finishing touches on his voyage and his dream. He was pleasantly surprised to discover he had become an inspiration to people of all ages who had followed his adventures.

With the trip behind him, the words behind his simple philosophy rang true. ”I don’t believe in the words can or can’t,” he said. ”Really, it’s a matter of will or won’t.”

Photo: David Clark with Mickey, his West Highland terrier who was lost at sea while Clark was on a round-the-world trip that ended Dec. 7. (David Clark)

Step 1 – Get dog used to strapping on the harness.


Step 2 – Now watch dogs eyes get big as you lift up.

Step 3 – Safely land dog onto the waiting dinghy.

Step 4 – Play Ball and Swim!




All went well.  We played for about an hour in the dinghy while in the water.  I tossed the ball, she swam to it, a seal showed up and I don’t know who was more surprised Lucy or the seal.  Lucy used the front of the catamaran dinghy to climb back aboard; I put some weight on the front of the dinghy making it easier for her to board.  She then shook herself when onboard and thanks to this dinghy with the open back the water just drained back in to the ocean.

Eventually she decided she liked her ball so much she just had to chew it to death, punching several holes into it.  On that last throw the ball simply sank.


If you notice this last picture above that is the after effects of attempting to hoist the dinghy back onboard.  Narrowly missing my head the boom simply broken in two.  The bad weld on this extended boom simply gave out.  I was really surprised to not see a sleeve insert in this boom.

Two or three calls and visit to two potential aluminum welding locations later I end up in Compton.  Byron is now taking care of the new and improved boom.  Photo to follow later.


And here is the rest of the story:  On this fine 1/22/2016 day, I am aboard the Western Flyer, safely secured, at marina Costa Baja.  Earlier today I removed the boom and took it to an aluminum welder in town.  I also dropped off a plywood template for the welder.  The finished project will be an aluminum square section, welded to the side of the boom, to which I will secure a Barient 24, sailboat winch.  This is the winch that will pull in the six to one purchase block line that will hoist my dinghy.


Total price for the aluminum plate plus the welding, plus the transportation to and from the town of La Paz to marina Costa Baja – 1500 pesos; i.e. today the exchange rate is approximately 18 to one US dollar.  Quite a bargain.

The second project that will also start tomorrow is window tinting.  The front and rear windows get extremely hot – some reflective tint will solve that problem.

Total cost – 800 pesos.

About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
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1 Response to Dog Hoist And Broken Boom Story

  1. trawlercat says:

    Reblogged this on The Retirement Years and commented:

    Dog lovers may enjoy this story. Also, at the Los Angeles Adventurers Club I once shared a speaking engagement with Lynn & Larry Pardee and Dave Clark, both round the world navigators. I copied the story of how he lost his dog at sea. Read on.


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