On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we had 70 degree weather, with nasty storms predicted to roll in about 2:00 p.m. A day like that calls for a trip to the lake, and I had a great one, until the witching hour of 2:00 p.m., when the storms rolled in and I dropped my Power Poles to retie a lure. The passenger side pole went down smoothly, but the one on the driver’s side was a little too fast for my comfort. Stepping to the back of the boat, it quickly became apparent that one of the bolts holding it in place had worked loose.
At that point, I was stuck with abit of a predicament. A calm day had quickly given way to consistent 20 mph winds, with gusts that were much stronger. I leaned awkwardly out the back of the boat to try to get my Power Pole back up, but I felt like I had a better chance of ending up in the drink than I did of experiencing success. Alas, there is no little blue pill for that accessory, and if it remains down for more than four hours, even a doctor can’t help you. I had to find a solution.
I trolling motored over to a dock, tied up the boat, and got out to get a better angle on the Power Pole. I was able to lean shoulder-deep, grab it and pull it back up. At that point I realized my next problem – the rope that I needed to secure it in place was attached to a cleat. I had to let the Power Pole go, untie the rope, hold the boat in place with my legs, re-lift the Power Pole and tie it upright. It’s not as easy as it sounds, at least not for an overweight 46 year old man, but I got the job done.
With the Power Pole tied in place, I gingerly drove back (although the lake is small, the now 30 mph winds kicked it up a bit) to the ramp, got it on the trailer and inspected what had happened. The bolt and bushings were completely gone. I tied the rope tighter, secured the area where the bolt should have been, and drove to the closest boat repair shop, about 6 miles away. Oddly enough, they didn’t know what a Power Pole was, nor did they offer up any bolts. I drove another two miles to a marina, where they had a full selection of bolts, one of which would surely get me home (with the rope left in place for good measure). I spent the next 90 minutes driving in a blinding rainstorm, with heavy winds, looking behind me constantly to make sure that my jerry-rigged apparatus didn’t end up dragging the highway.
The first miracle is that I made it home intact. The second is that I emailed Power Pole that night, asking them how to procure a new bolt. I expected that they might respond on Monday, or perhaps not until after the Thanksgiving holiday, but someone replied on a Saturday evening. When I replied to their reply, they shot me another message Sunday morning, and Monday morning the hardware was on its way. In any industry that’s exceptional, and they should be recognized for that. The third miracle, is that the repair was so simple that even this caveman could do it. When the bolts arrived on Wednesday, it took five minutes and I was back in business. I’ve now owned a total of four Power Poles on two boats – I order them just like the rest of you -- and you can be certain that when I order my next boat next year, I’ll have two more (unless they find a way to make three of ‘em fit).