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  #1  
Old 10-04-2008
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Bumpin' the nasty in the Patapsco River

Went out with my middle boy, age 17, for a cruise on the Patapsco River out of White Rocks. We motored out and raised sail, but the wind wasn't much and I wanted to show him the Francis Scott Key buoy just inside the FSK Bridge, so we hoisted the iron genny.

All went well, we looped around Fort Carroll just to show it to him, and headed under the bridge and took a photo (unfortunately, the sun was in his face):



And then we motored back under the bridge for home.

It was kind of boring, doing the motorsail thing straight into the wind. I had him take the tiller once while I adjusted the traveler, but otherwise it was just dull sailing.

Until we were getting close to the White Rocks on a 180 deg heading, with the channel marker into the creek in sight, and suddenly we both noticed a vibration in the boat. No, not a vibration... more like a "bumping"... BUMPING?! We're bouncing along the bottom, a half-mile offshore?!

And just as I push the tiller over to head away from the distant shoreline, we run straight into a mudbank at full throttle and with sails trimmed -- maybe 7-8 kts. It was like running headlong into a mattress leaning up against a wall -- THUMP!!! and a very quick stop. We both shot forward in the cockpit, me crashing into both the shifter and the throttle and killing the engine.

Luckily I could tell we were still afloat and not hard aground, so I started up the engine again and with a judicious application of FORWARD and REVERSE -- like getting out of a snowbank in a '71 Pontiac LeMans (with which I have GREAT experience!) -- we got off and headed out to deeper water, i.e. towards the White Rocks, and thence to home.

As far as I can tell, no harm done. It was a soft hit, no grinding or crashing, just the quick stop of a big mudbank. I'll have her hauled to see if any damage occurred, but from the sound of things I don't think there's any damage.

Still -- another fun family outing. These things never happen when I go out with anyone but my immediate family. Am I less cautious with them, or is it just Poseidon having his fun?
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Old 10-04-2008
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Posideon is just messing with your head.
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Old 10-04-2008
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I had my new to me boat for 8 minutes. Ran Aground. Got unstuck. 4 minutes later. Ground.

heh

It's the Chesapeake... and I love it.

Dad and I tried to sail off once... when we ran aground on the Magothy. MISTAKE. That's the only time we had to call a powerboat buddy at the marina. I had to walk 40 feet away from the boat.. throw the anchor so that we could winch ourselves off with the help of the powerboat. Funny. I was never in water above my waist.

In our defence.. that was Dad's first year living out here.

I'm starting to think that grounding is my preferred method of anchoring. No silly lines to pull in.. no stinky anchor locker (nowfreed up for beer).... lot's of advantages...

(ps I'd imagine this wouldn't work up by SD....probably rip the keel off or something... stupid rocks..)
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Old 10-04-2008
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Yeah...chesapeake is nice soft mud in most parts... buzzards bay and most of new england has rocks in the mud...if there's any mud at all.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 10-04-2008
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Kick up center boards AND kick up rudders coupled with ONLY 18inches of draft and you would think I SHOULD have no run aground stories.

Not true.

Not on the boat so don't have my chart to look at but seems to me you should have had water where you were off Fort Carroll. I've never sailed there but there is a lot of commercial traffic in the area. I cross the JFK on the way to my client and always think of sailing up there, haven't yet. I'll mind the charts if I do.

C2 - beer in the anchor locker explains your concern when I asked you to drop anchor for the first time ever.
How much ice does your locker hold?
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Old 10-04-2008
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After I removed the metal hook things and the rope bits, I get about 5 cases in there with enough ice to keep it cold.

Problem is, the little closet up front get's real cold and starts to sweat in the forward V-Berth.... I'll need to insulate that and while I'm at it, add an indoor access panel for grabbing a beer when you wake up.

Winter Project?
Full on insulation and keg /CO2 mounts with internal plumbing to be able to pour a cold one while at the helm...nav station...pit...
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Old 10-05-2008
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The several times we have bumped the bottom or run aground on friends boats in the South River area, the bottom has usually been muddy or sandy. The Chessy is so flat and skinny that I believe that the old adage holds true: "If you haven't run aground then you haven't left the dock much."
Each time we have bumped we probably only left a little bottom paint which the crabs will attempt to clean up for us. I doubt that your bottom is damaged much Mr. Schrumpf but I do have reservations about eating a diminishing crop of crabs from a bay that is being filled with silt from so many rivers that drain pollutants from so far inland, not to mention all the bottom paint being left there by groundings.
I am quite saddened by the state of the Chessy estuary and the commercial interests that scour it. They used to get oysters, which cleaned the water and now the crab is all the rage. What is next?
LI Sound, near where I live is not filling in as quickly but there are no lobsters in the western Sound anymore.
On a lighter note, can't we get the lighthouses in the Chessy to offer beer, ice and some food to distressed boaters?
Enjoy your longer sailing season all of you down there.
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Old 10-05-2008
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What depth did the chart show?
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Old 10-05-2008
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When we left our old marina on Biscayne Bay for a three month extended cruise up the ICW to Chesapeake Bay we, you guessed it, ran aground in the entrance channel!!!
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On our new-to-us boat last season, the first two or three times we went out, once with me at the helm, once with the Admiral: Ran aground on this little island that's in the middle of a lagoon we pass through on the way out and in. You'd be at 8 feet of depth and then none. A small powerboat hauled us off the first time, a pair of rubber dinghys pushed us off the second time.

We now give that !#$!$! island w-i-d-e berth.

Jim
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