I guess after 45 yrs of exp, bad judgement is bad judgement. We had gale warnings and small craft warnings all last week as the tropical storm moved south from Jax to Ft Lauderdale. Inner bouys reading 20 + seas, outer reading30+.
May 14, 2007
'Dream' boat runs aground
Sailor says craft not insured
By M.C. MOEWE
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- After spending $60,000 two weeks ago for a sailboat, on Sunday a 65-year-old Ohio man watched as the vessel was dismantled and hauled away from a Volusia County beach.
"My lifelong dream was to own a boat like that," said Gary Grimm of Newport, Ohio, as he stood on New Smyrna Beach just south of Ponce de Leon Inlet where the 41-foot boat had run aground after 9 p.m. Friday.
As dozens of passersby took photos and brought their children to watch, a huge crane lifted the sailboat onto a flatbed truck. One official estimated the salvage effort could cost Grimm more than $10,000.
"I have no idea," Grimm said of what it might cost. "I know I'll have to pay it."He and his 19-year-old grandson were sailing the boat to the Chesapeake Bay from St. Petersburg where they had purchased and refurbished the vessel with a new motor, winch and other accessories.
Because the hull is made of a lightweight concrete, Grimm said he had not yet found an insurance company willing to sell him a policy for the boat. "This will put my retirement off for at least two years," said Grimm, a manager at an Ohio plant that manufactures things like small metal parts for automobiles.
Though officials said the buoys marking Ponce de Leon Inlet are lit with red and green lights, Grimm said he did not see them and thought he was still in deep water when his boat hit sand.
"There was no moon, it was pitch black," Grimm said. "I didn't know I was running aground until I heard a scrunch."
Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said about five boats have suffered similar fates at Ponce Inlet in the past six years. "I don't know where we rank but it's up there," he said of how dangerous the inlet is. "It definitely requires local knowledge."
Grimm said he and his grandson had encountered "atrocious waves" on Friday.
While Grimm has been sailing for 45 years, most of his time on the water has been spent in the Great Lakes. "The ocean seemed a little easier because the waves are bigger and longer," he said.
Derrick Scheer, Grimm's grandson, said they had left the St. Lucie area about 30 hours before the accident. "I had set the course," said Scheer, adding he believes the waves pushed them off track.
Shortly after they ran aground they called a commercial boat towing business to come get them but the company declined, Grimm said
After a boat of that size is in the breaking surf it's difficult to get out, Petersohn said. "You are just at the ocean's mercy there," he said.
Karen and Jim Atkins of Orlando met Grimm and his grandson while walking the beach Saturday and volunteered to give them transportation and a place to stay. "Anybody that sails can sympathize," Karen Atkins said. "(Grimm) said his wife was worried about him the day he left port."
Grimm said he has 12 children, ages 21 to 39. "I think I have 28 grandchildren," Grimm added after taking a few moments to count. "That's why I wanted a bigger boat. There was never enough room for everyone who wanted to come."
He still owns a 27-foot boat which he had planned to sell to help him pay for his new one, he said.
Now, if he can, he'll sell what's left of his 41-foot boat for a few thousand dollars. "I can salvage some parts," he said.
On Sunday the company hired to haul the boat away began cutting through metal on the boat. "Don't cut my mast," Grimm said mostly to himself as a screeching sound erupted and sparks flew.
He hadn't decided if he was going rename the boat that was dubbed Paws by the previous owners.
"I guess I'd call it Dreambreaker now," Grimm said.