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post #5 of Old 07-02-2007 Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Michigan
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Stupid boat trick # 2. My boat, but a charterer on board. Could be titled "Took the class, but common sense cannot be taught".

Family chartered my boat a couple of years ago. They had taken ASA courses, but were still green. They were supposed to stay in the bay, but asked to leave for a couple of days. They at least asked, and were told fine, but anything over 15 kts. stay tied to the dock. Fair enough.

Three days, no wind. Their one week of sailing was not going well, but they did motor to some nice sites. Day 4, winds SSW at 10-12, forecast for 20-25 in the afternoon. They were excited and got out sailing in the morning. Not too eventful, having a good time, winds beginning to build. And build. Finally decided that the winds were getting a little too strong so they dropped sail and began motoring. So far, so good.

Now, winds from SSW have a fetch of about 90 miles in the bay they were in. Waves are building and building. Daughter decides she wants to go swimming, and they are on vacation, so why not. Waves in the neighborhood of 6' at this time. They motor over to a beach where they THOUGHT they saw a 70' yacht anchored earlier. Now, there are charts aboard, but they were never touched. Why confuse things with facts when you think you saw a big boat anchored over there earlier. Got into about 20' of water and threw the anchor out.

Now, here if where it gets really interesting. The area they were in had three shelves. One at 50', then a 150' shelf of 20', and then 2' and stone.

So, they throw out the anchor and it is not setting. Did I mention 6' seas and building? It drags, and drags. They then decide that this is not going to work so attempt to pull up the anchor. Wife cannot handle it (why do men send their wives to handle the anchor while they hold the wheel?) so husband puts engine in neutral and starts forward to help her. Now remember, she is on the bow and the waves are over 6' at this point and it is shallow. She is getting beaten up pretty badly. However, taking the boat out of gear loses all control and the boat settles back. First thing that floats away is the rudder as they back into the shallows. Next they land on the keel. This is one time that a wing really comes in handy. Remember that anchor hanging off the bow? It keeps the boat feathered into the wind and she settles on her wing and keeps moving back. Perfectly balanced! UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN. The entire rig shudders each time a wave lifts her and lets her down. For four hours this goes on.

Now, fortunately, this has a happy ending. Nobody was killed, and the boat floats today. Imagine if they had somehow set that anchor and the little girl went over the side. If she got back to the boat and tried the stern ladder she would most likely have been killed by the stern crashing down on her. The whole rig could have come crashing down on them with all that stress. The boat could have falled off her wing and one of them caught under 12,000 lbs of boat in 2' of water. And lots of other scenarios.

A great team of people got the boat off safely. It was so shallow that the tug could not get any closer than 200' in those seas. They continued to build during their work. They got a bridle on the boat and pulled each time the waves lifted our boat. Slowly but surely they got her off and towed to a marina. Minus a rudder and with a much smaller keel ( remember the stones on the bottom, they acted as a grinder on the keel), and a few gouges in the glasswork. Three months later, and lots of surveys, she has a new rudder and keel, glasswork fixed, boat sound.

Oh, after the charterers were saved by the salvage guys, they talked to the charter company. They wanted to know how long it would take to put a new keel on so they could continue their vacation. After all , they had three days left of their vacation.

Common sense cannot be taught, you have to figure it out! Some never do.

Last edited by tommyt; 07-02-2007 at 10:48 PM.
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