Midwest Puddle Pirate
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Gardner, KS
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Rep Power: 12
O'day 302 lost keel
One of our club members lost his boat this weekend. Fortunately it happened right in front of the club, and someone saw the boat go over. Myself and two others raced out in one of our pontoon boats and pulled 4 people out of the water. No one was hurt.
Here's what happened as far as I know. I haven't examined the boat, and likely never will be able to.
A father and his 3 adult sons went out for a sail on a beautiful Saturday. Winds were 10-15 mph. They were sailing about 100 yards off the east shore, across from our club, about a mile across the lake, and it was just before dusk. The boat started taking on water. The water ingress was slow at first, and the crew assumed that they had lost a hose for the head. One of the crew went below, threw the 3 life jackets that were already laying out up into the cockpit, and started bailing with a bucket. The engine was started and the crew turned into the wind to drop the sails. The water started coming faster, and the situation was looking bad. Then the boat shuddered a bit, and the water started coming in like a geyser. The sails were still up, and the boat was knocked over almost immediately. The crew who was below swam out of the companionway and grabbed a floating life jacket. One of the crew grabbed the horseshoe. I had just pulled my dinner off the grill when someone yelled that a keelboat just went over. I saw the entire bottom of the boat, but it took a bit for me to react. I guess I wasn't really sure I was seeing what I was seeing. The engine started smoking badly, which was my first clue that this was a really bad situation. Someone called 911, someone else got on the vhf to the coast guard, and 3 of us headed for the docks. When we arrived on the scene 5-10 minutes after the boat went over, most of the boat was underwater. The mast is in the mud, and there is a small amount of air trapped in the hull keeping it afloat just breaking the surface of the water. According to one of the crew, there is a large hole (4-6 inches) torn in the hull at the back of the keel joint. My guess is that the boat had corroded keel bolts. The aft bolt was likely the only one in relatively good condition. When the forward bolts let go, the aft bolt took a piece of the boat with it as the keel came off.
This morning one of our club members tied a couple of white plastic barrels to the wreck. There was a lot of traffic on the lake today, there was no sense in having to do another rescue.
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John USYacht 27 "Cora Lee"