Ear: Sailboat

Robert Beckwith of Brownsmead took his sailboat out on her maiden voyage on Sunday, Aug. 25, but by that evening he was in trouble. At 12:02 a.m., he posted on Facebook that he was hard aground on a sandbar in the Columbia River at almost a 45 degree angle. There was nothing he could do but settle in and wait for the tide to rise. 

The next morning, Bob "Pudgy" Hunt (former star basketball player and Oregon Hall of Fame member) and his wife, Connie (pictured), of Svensen, spotted the stranded boat, and Pudgy went out on his Jet Ski to check and make sure whoever was aboard was OK — but he didn't see anyone, so he went back home.

Connie played detective, and started posting on Facebook, trying to track down the owner of the boat. That worked; someone saw Robert's post mentioning he was high and dry, and passed the information on to Connie, who contacted him. That's how she found out he was actually still aboard the listing boat, "huddled down below with his dog." 

"I asked him if he needed water and supplies, and he said 'yes,'" Connie recalled, "so I loaded up water and some pasta salad … Pudgy drove the Jet Ski and I rode shotgun with supplies." Needless to say, the stranded sailor was very grateful to have such good neighbors come to the rescue.

Someone on Facebook called the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent out a helicopter to check out the situation … but since the wayward sailor was clearly OK, there wasn't much to be done except wait for high tide so the boat could be freed.

Robert and his dog left the sailboat on Tuesday, Connie reported, and the boat was finally towed home on Friday by yet another good neighbor.

"Great adventure!" Connie noted of Jet Ski food delivery to the sailor in distress. "Love where I live!"

"Pudgy is now answering his phone, 'Hunt Search and Rescue,'" she joked in a recent Facebook update. "Happy to be of assistance."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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