Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 47 Old 06-26-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

The owner has been taking lessons with the captain in Kemah, bought the boat in Antigua a few months ago through a broker/business partner of the captain. The owner is an acquaintance and he, the captain and I worked on the boat on the hard for one week before bringing it to St. Thomas to meet up with wives and children.

He made us tread water in a pool in Texas, and I told my wife then and this time that I thought he was doing it just to see the ladies in their bikinis. Yup, thatís kind of a sick MOB drill.
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

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The captain lives in Galveston and teaches sailing in Kemah, Texas. His NauticalEd page states: Level 0 Crew Rank Chief Instructor. Other credentials: Master Captains License STCW. Endorsements US Sailing instructor., Rescue Diver.
In the first place, a Master Captains License (I assume he means an MMC with a master's endorsement as the USCG does not issue any captain licences) is a certification that can be had by anyone who pays their money, takes the license prep course and passes a very basic, mostly multiple choice test. It signifies that the person holding it can do that, not to experience, or actual knowledge. The STCW is only an international convention certifying that the holder has taken the class, which includes such things as basic first aid, how to don a survival suit and climb into a liferaft from the water.
I'm not going to comment on the captain, as there are way too many questions to be answered before anyone could judge his qualifications to deliver a big cat from the VI to Texas, but I will put in my 2 cents worth for anyone seeking a good delivery captain.
All reputable yacht brokers have a stable of the very best and most qualified captains. They have guys who can operate a 35 foot go fast boat, or sailing monohulls and cats of any size or even megayachts, and get the job done with no damage to the vessel or anything else. They have captains that can teach a novice owner how to operate their new boat and all the systems, or guys qualified to do a transoceanic delivery.
The good captains have a pool of the very best crew they know, so with this captain or team, an owner has the best, taking care of his vessel.
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post #13 of 47 Old 06-26-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

The Virgin Islands National Park Rangers had received calls from witnesses ashore and dispatched a vessel to intercept us, but the captain got us out of there before they arrived. We have just heard from them......
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

SMFH

Just glad that you survived. Anyone on the bow could have been thrown overboard.
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post #15 of 47 Old 06-27-2018
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

RE the captain asking everyone to jump in the water he may have been thinking of lightening ship.

I have assisted in a few groundings over the years and cats are really difficult to get off compared to fin keel monohulls.

With cats get the crew off drop the dink in th water and run the anchor out into the dink with all the chain. Ideally someone should check to see if the props and rudders are clear before using the engines. [ I recently saw a charter cat that had run onto a reef 20 mins into their week and in their attempts to get off wrecked the props and rudders. no chance of getting his deposit back. ]
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

Just goes to show what a mess can happen when the wrong capatain is leading.
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post #17 of 47 Old 06-27-2018
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

WOW - I have taught sailing for the last 5 years for both ASA and US/Sailing. During that time I have NEVER ordered anyone into the water, and while I have run aground it has always been (semi-)intentional. When I run aground, I teach how to get refloated without damaging the vessel. I have only taken the free NauticEd classes (out of professional curiosity), but Grant at NauticEd keeps pestering me via email to enroll so that I can get my NauticEd certification. As a former education professional/corporate trainer, I feel that there are many things that online learning and simulation cannot do, and teaching sailing is one of them. I have done a few deliveries too, but I have nothing dramatic to report about them.

I have not sailed in the VI, so I've been looking at a chart of the area. If you left from Trunk Bay moorings and ran aground minutes later, you must have hit Johnson Reef which is marked by: Y C "JA", Y "JB" FL Y 6s, Y C "JC", Y "JD" FL Y 2.5s, Y C "JE", and G "1JR" FL G 4s. All of these ATONs are within a half of a mile of each other, so that's a good indication that there is something to look out for in that location.

Was there a chart of the area aboard? Had anyone looked at it?

Either way, this sounds like a case of gross negligence.

On the plus side, the NauticEd website ( at Sailing Schools in the USA) states that they have a NEW Lagoon 450F! So maybe they will trade vessels to make this situation go away.
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

Unfortunately or fortunately the owner retains the right to fire a ďcaptainĒ at his discretion at any point in time. The unfortunate part is the owner will be held liable for damages. Remember he hired the captain with no gun to his head so the captain is merely his agent. The fortunate part is he can sue the captain. The unfortunate part is the captain is likely judgment proof.
Due to insurance I once had to hire a captain. He was unskilled in running sailboats . I ran the boat and made the decisions.
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

Now before we all get our knickers in a twist I would like to point out that SVEM joined SailNet a day ago, and he's posted here a total of 5 times, all in this thread. (BTW - @SVEM Welcome to SailNet!)

Can we please get some more information on this incident from another source?
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post #20 of 47 Old 06-27-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Running Aground on Johnsonís Reef, St. Johnís, USVI

My wife and I fly back to Houston today. We sail out of Kemah and I am ASA certified 101-105, my wife through 104. Of course, you may inquire with the U.S. Park Rangers of the Virgin Islands National Park and Coral Reef Monument in St. Johnís,usvi, or ask some of the captains in red hook...it has been chatter for a week.
We are not nearly as devastated as the reef, but we are devastated and heartbroken by this whole experience. I am an Eagle Scout, I have traveled over 35 countries, and this is among the worst experiences of my life. I came to this forum for feedback, for help, for information. We should be on that vessel with a competent captain somewhere north of Cuba by now, but we are effectively shipwrecked. I want to sail more than ever now.
I have not finished recalling the whole of the event, and will continue once we have settled back into Houston.
My apologies for not naming the vessel captain or owner, nor other sources or contacts, but this is all true and I expect that all those details will come out.
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