I was impressed by the speed and depth
of the CG response. Its nice to know they are watching our backs. The other lesson is a repeat--if you call for help, you are going to be under heavy pressure to abandon your boat when that help arrives.
It will be good if someone posts the crew's story after the lawyers are finished--its a tough decision as to when to call for rescue
Last week we were coming down the Florida
coast in a cold and strong northerly when the bilge pump
started running almost continuously. Went through the drill of trying to figure out the source--was it the keel bolts
?--was it the rudder seals
I had just replaced?? Figured out it must be coming from the stern, so climbed into the lazarette and found water sloshing. The most likely source had to be the vent to the propane tanks
., where the hose had come off the through-hull fitting. The fitting was above the waterline, but close enough to it that the waves were hitting it.
The vent fitting was behind the propane
locker, so I could see exactly what was happeing, and I wasn't going to try to remove the locker in that seaway. The first fix attempt was to hang upside down over the transom, jam a rag covered with silicon into the outside clamshell over the through-hull, then hammer a pine plug
in to keep it in place. Then bail out the lazarette. That solved
the problem, but I got soaking wet and my polypro top got covered in silicone during the battle.
The things running through my mind were:
where is the closest port--St Augustine 30 miles to weather
, or Canaveral 60 miles away.
what do I do if the bilge pump
fails or fails to keep up--there is a high volume powered backup, a manual (which I just replaced), and the engine raw water pump
What are my resources--just me and a seasick wife.
What is the weather forecast--improving conditions.
How/when to call for help--we were within VHF
range of the CG.
Fortunately, I didn't have to go past the first fix attempt, but I would have probably issued a pan-pan if the water kept rising, and a mayday when it started to reach to the top of the batteries under the sole.