Boating Horror Story 3

The Oldest Always Buys the New Boat

We were at Lake Oahe, Pike Haven Resort, in 1995. This is a big resevoir, which can get dangerous quicly due to the weather patterns. We had a 16" Lund, which was 20 years old, witha 15 HP Mercury engine tiller driven. It's official name was "Leaky Number 7". Bil, Floyd, and myself were up the Cheyenne River. The mouth of the Cheyenne is 7 miles from the resort, and we were 7 miles up the river. At that point, the river is almost indistinguishable from the main reservoir as it is more than 1 mile across.

As luck would have it, a strong storm moved in. We saw it coming and headed for the resort. About the time we hit the mouth of the Cheyenne, the winds started up at 30-40 mph and the waves increased to 6-7'. Whitecaps. Life jackets. Heavy rain. Lightning. Visibility almost nil. Pounding and pounding. It came so fast, we were not able to outrun it or put into shore. We cautiously took the waves at the appropriate angle, using the wind as our navigation. 90 minutes later came into a back bay of the resort. We cleaned out our pants, verified that two new fishing rods had been broken in the pounding. At dinner that night, Dad, who was 80 that year, informed us that he could not take any more excitement like that in Leaky Number 7. After discussion, Dad said if we had a better boat, one with real seats, bilge pump, and a larger engine, he would continue to go fishing. Brother Bil turned to me, and straight faced said "Well Denny, since you are the oldest, looks like it is up to you to buy a boat.

So I did. A 3 year old 17' Tracker deep V with 90 hp Mercury. Mint condition. First day, next year, of the fishing trip, Dad, Bil and I are in the Tracker. Bil asks to drive. Okay. Bil proceeds to head out moving rpm's up from 1,000 to 5,900. Bil sees Tommy, Chuck and John in Leaky Number 7. Brother Bil heads towards Leaky Number 7, reducing speed, but not fast enough. Bil forgot there are no brakes on a boat. A minor collision occurs, the Tracker now says racker. Bil looks at the minor paint damage and says to me, "Denny, get that painted before we go fishing next year".

Never got it painted. Always liked the name racker.

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