OMG you guys. LOOK what happened:
It all started when the kids were asleep, my sister and her family and my parents were out for a few hours, and I was working on that last post. Ryan told me he wanted to go for a short sail. Ever the nagging wife, I yelled after him "If you're all by yourself you should wear your lifejacket!" (instead of just keeping it in the boat, which is common practice around here). Half an hour after he walked out of the house I looked out to see him sailing by, dutifully wearing his orange horseshoe lifejacket around his neck and having a great time.
I puttered around for a few more minutes then walked back out onto the porch to read my book just in time to see Ryan's boat capsize. I wasn't worried; capsizing is common in a small sailboat and Ryan knows how to handle it. But when he got the boat righted and it capsized again almost immediately I thought he might need some help. Not in a DANGER kind of way, but in a might be nice kind of way. I called my aunt, Candy, who has a dinghy tied up at the dock to ask for help. I saw her sprinting down the dock to the boat seconds after I hung up the phone.
She was joined by a huge lobster boat and they both made their way out to Ryan, who had capsized two more times by this point. He tells me that the boat was totally swamped and the wet sail made it very top heavy. By the time the lobster boat arrived, a smaller, personal motor boat had come out to help. I was watching all of this from the porch, with two sleeping kids keeping me from doing anything useful. Shortly after it arrived, the small motor boat left the scene and sped back to the dock just as AN AMBULANCE WITH IT'S SIREN AND LIGHTS ON drove down the road on the other side of the bay and stopped near the dock with the motor boat. OMG. I was shaking so bad I had to sit down. I idiotically tried to zoom in with my camera to see what was going on (I only thought to get the binoculars later, and then was happy to see Ryan sitting in my aunt's boat still wearing his orange life jacket). Then another lobster boat responded!
You can see Ryan's white sail in the back middle, the big lobster boat in front of that, and the second lobster boat on its way to help. Not pictured: Me nearly throwing up on the porch after seeing the ambulance and wondering just what the H I'm going to do with three kids all by myself and what I'm going to say to Charlie.
I should mention that Ryan and I were out the other day and witnessed a similar sailboat SINK in nearly identical conditions. Ryan tells me that all he could think about was "DON'T SINK DON'T SINK DON'T SINK" mostly because he didn't know how he would face my grandfather after sinking his boat, not because of the dangers of being stuck in the middle of the ocean with no boat. He didn't even notice the sixty-five degree water.
After fifteen or so more minutes the boats dispersed and started to head back to our house. The biggest lobster boat led the way, towing the sailboat, which looked very pitiful and wet but was undamaged, behind it was my aunt with Ryan in her boat, and behind that was the freaking COAST GUARD with their LIGHTS ON. A BOAT WITH LIGHTS LIKE A POLICE CAR. The whole entourage tied up at the dock and I temporarily abandoned the sleeping children so I could run down there and jump into Ryan's freezing, wet arms and make sure he was alright.
The Coast Guard guys told Ryan to go change into dry clothes then come back to answer some questions. Then they helped take the sail off the sailboat and made sure everyone was alright before they filled out their form and left. The Coast Guard guys were SO nice and were really happy to help. Ryan and my aunt got everything cleaned up and put away, the kids woke up, and everything was fine. Ryan got lots of teasing and the last piece of blueberry pie. We still don't know who called the fire department or the Coast Guard, but think one of the lobstermen put out a "sailor in the water" emergency call before he came out to help. Given the potential for things to go wrong, we are grateful for all the help.
And that was our first, and hopefully last, encounter with the US Coast Guard. Unless they have a pancake breakfast or something.