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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
10,086 Posts
That is a sad story indeed. Who knows what really happened and why it happened, and whether it will be covered by insurance.

In the absence of details, its easy to throw stones, but living in this glass house I am not in a position to do so. After all, I had a similar thing happen to me roughly 15 years ago except that I did not lose the boat. I had been cruising in the southern part of the Bay for the first time and had planned to duck into the Great Wicomico River. I had just gotten a new handheld chart plotter. It was my first chart plotter and I was using it for the first time. I had originally planned to duck into Mill Creek at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River and laid out a route to do that on the chart plotter. But the weather had turned really ugly during the trip down and so I decided to duck into Reedville instead since it looked like Mill Creek would not be well protected from the driving wind and wave action.

Before entering the river I had looked at my paper chart to better understand what to expect and decided that Reedville looked pretty easy to get into, Before leaving Annapolis a week before, I had seen a notice to mariners that there were changes to a couple marks that year. They did not seem consequential (cans and nuns changed to day markers and one or two added or removed) I did not have the changes marked on my paper chart since I had not planned to go into Reedville and also did not have the NTM onboard to check them.

I entered the river in a mix of drizzle punctuated with short bursts of some serious driving rain. That made for a very dark night with crummy visibility. Shortly before the turn towards Reedville, I was hit by a bout of denser rain, and tossed the paper chart into the cabin to keep it protected, and so was now counting on the handheld zoomed out just enough to find the next mark while still seeing the depths around me. Slowly, I passed what I thought was the split in the river and I wend my way into what I thought was .Cockrell Creek into Reedsville.

Out in the Bay, I had memorized the generalities of the passage up Cockrell Creek with a hard turn to port, around a point, then a hard turn to starboard around a point, and then a turn to port before getting to the fat spot where I wanted to anchor., While the distances all seemed much longer than I expected, I wrote that off to going slowly against an adverse current. Sure enough there was a turn to port, then a turn to starboard and then a turn back to port. The marks matched the chart plotter and the depths on the depth sounder matched the depths on the chart plotter, so all seemed about right, But then the rain stopped and I could see a bridge across the river maybe a half mile up ahead,

"Holy smokes, a bridge? what bridge is that? I don't remember seeing a bridge."

So I stopped the boat and dove into the cabin to grab the chart. Sure enough, it became quickly evident that I had missed the turn into to Cockrell Creek and had gone up the Great Wicomico several miles further than I should have. Other than an extra hour motoring in the rain and a further delayed dinner, there was no harm and no foul. But there sure could have been.

As we all know- If its going to happen, it is going to happen out there.....

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