My worst grounding to date.
I won't put all the details here, I've got those on my website. I will say it makes for interesting reading. I will cut and paste a few of the passages. Most of the problem was due to a weak point in the keel structure allowing the keel to rotate back and flex the bottom enough to break it. The plywood bulkheads were weak. After the fact I fixed the problem permanently by installing FRP bulkheads.
for the entire story go to my website here:
go 3/4 down the page and look for the heading:
Gulf crossing Mobile to south Florida
the complete story immediately follows that. It took my feet many months to get back to normal from being constantly wet for more than 30 hours.
It starts with "I'm still Alive!"
here are a couple excerpts
Sitting on the boat making so many typing mistakes due to the rocking. I’m listening to water gurgling under a false cabin floor I’ve jury rigged to keep my feet dry. I’m also listening to the putting of a rented gas dewatering pump up on the dock. This is the first day in a long time, I’ve felt like I could take the time to write. I should get a full nights sleep, I’ve been working on about a total of maybe 8 hours of very broken sleep in the last 6 days or so. I’m sitting here tied up to the dock in St Petersburg Florida, Tierra Verde Marina. Actually the boat is tied up not me. I’ve got lots of things to ponder. What will my next boat be like? I know for sure it will have some sort of pilot house feature, forward looking windows, steering and controls inside protected from the weather. One thing I’m not pondering is how much water a 50 year old sailor in fair shape can bail in a 30 hour period to keep his boat from sinking. I was never worried about my life, most of the time just in 4 feet of water and not too far from shore.
My next boat will have better engine access and fewer sharp edges. More handholds, The radio has some fibers embedded in the front plastic from my stocking cap, probably just as many in my forehead. There are too many hooks and sharp latches and all kinds of places to get hurt while hurtling across a cabin. Cabins should be smaller so you can’t get going to fast before stopping. Proper engine access is not on your back feet above your head, back into a metal bracket so you can just about see the distributor, and having to remove it completely just to set the points. Just about everything I’ve attempted to do on this engine has been almost as difficult.
Any way back to the bailing question, my research shows that a healthy 50 year old can bail about 200,000 pounds of water in a 29 hour period. I did it. I’m also discovering why most people have just about no use for the Coast Guard. At first all I wanted was some info, where is a marina with a mobile lift. They took over the situation, paid no attention to what I asked for or wanted. I was happy to receive the help bailing but latter when we spent hours and they took me where I didn’t need to go, wouldn’t be able to leave, never informed me of what they where doing, then left me to sink at the dock, I was not very happy. Both times they could have taken me to a place that would have been able to better help my situation, it would have been less total miles for them, but to go by the book, they went out of the way to leave me in a rather terrible situation. Right now if my boat goes down, it’ll be in 30 feet of water. Could they have taken me to a part of the dock that was shallower? No that’s not their concern, or ground me on the shallows next to the marina, nope, got to be tied to the dock.
It’s hard to imagine the scene, 12 inches of water sloshing in a violently rocking boat, a 5 gal pail was easy to fill but it seemed like only 30% of the time some of it would end up out of the boat, often it would just end up being sloshed against the side of the companionway and pour right back in. I’m sliding around with the water, tilting, sliding, etc, climbing out to dump it was out of the question, had to be done faster than that. A rhythm was impossible to find. A 6 inch drain in the cockpit will be very necessary in a future boat.
Hopefully that gives you a taste enough to make you want to read and learn more from my mistakes and adventures. Someday I will write a book. I'm still in the adventure process, living the stuff that will be in that book or now probably series of books. At least I've learned I have to document it while It's still fresh. Enjoy.