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Old 03-02-2010, 15:02   #1
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First Grounding

My first sailboat was a cape dory 25. My girlfriend and I headed over to the beach and anchored the boat and went ashore. We stayed for a couple of hours and then headed back to the boat. The wind was blowing about 15 to 18kts and the tide runs about 2kts where we were. What I wanted to happed was to just have her jog the boat up over the anchor as I put the line down into the locker. The wind and tide were comming from the same directions so this shouldn't of been a problem. Well, we started out and came up over the anchor and I hauled it up on deck. We were making headway and I didn't really care too much. It takes several minutes to put the line away and she yells up to me "what do I do, we're in four feet of water?" I said make a turn into deeper water and she turns the boat not into where other boats are anchored, but out into the bay. I look up and all I see is lyme green water and we're making about 4 to 5 knts because the wind and tide are behind us now. So, we slide up on the bar, shut the engine down, and I rig to boom out over the side of the boat. I got her all rigged and explained what needed to happen, but then I got the good idea at the time of getting in the kayak instead of climbing out onto the boom. So, I get in position in the kayak and she opens up the engine wide open and I pull down on the boom and she starts sliding. We only had to go about twenty feet and then she slipped off the bar and we're off. Now the problem is I'm in a kayak on the end of the boom with the engine wide open. I lose the kayak, so now I'm being dragged through the water and she says, "what do I do now!" My colorful experssion that can't be said here, but basically, how about stopping the boat! I climbed aboard and everybody on the beach started cheering. Or they could of been laughing. Ether way, we were on our way.


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Old 03-02-2010, 15:28   #2
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At least you put on extra show for the crowd. Most just go aground and start the shouting, and everyone has seen that one already!

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Old 03-02-2010, 15:37   #3
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I climbed aboard and everybody on the beach started cheering. Or they could of been laughing. Ether way, we were on our way.
Being on your way is it's own reward. Giving a good show for the crowd can't be bad either. I would say you did more than pretty good. Being lucky still counts! We will see how you do on the next grounding.

I've escaped under my own devices five times so far, though the last one a good while ago. So long as you don't go aground at full speed there is a chance you can twist off in sand or a soft bottom. Not panicking helps a lot too. Avoidance strategies really are better than escape plans but some times the circumstances conspire against you. Looking good still matters. I never had an audience in any of mine. I doubt it would have helped.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 03-02-2010, 15:45   #4
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Originally Posted by ddsailor25 View Post
What I wanted to happed was to just have her jog the boat up over the anchor as I put the line down into the locker.
What were you thinking?!!!

Everyone knows that the girlfriend is supposed to put the line down into the locker.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:03   #5
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Good story DD. Sounds like you had a plan and carried it out quickly before things got worse. A little girlfriend training might be in order. Don't sweat it, I touched the bottom the very first time I ever moved my boat.

It was tied up on the seller's mooring in Hillsmere Creek. The seller sharply cautioned me that there were two sandbars with a narrow slot very close to the channel marker. He said that they'd been on the "dredge list" for two years.

Since I only had to move the boat over to the next river to get it home, I asked the seller if he wouldn't mind motoring home with me to guide me out.

When a break in the autumn weather finally came, we slipped the mooring with me on the tiller and headed outbound. The owner insisted that I make directly for the green channel marker. When we were nearly at the point of collision, he insisted that I leave the green marker to port. My brain knew that this was wrong, I asked if he was sure and he insisted. I decided that this was "his" water and that he knew better than I, but I backed off the throttle until we had very little way on.

Sure enough, the depth finder rapidly went "5, 4, 3, 2.5, beeeeeeeeep!" Thud!
Luckily the tide, the current and the wind were all blowing into the creek. A minute or so with the engine in reverse hopped us off of the bar, and we made our escape to the correct side of the daymark with the depth finder reading 3 feet the whole time.

I heard him mutter to himself "Damn, that's right, shoulda been on the other side of the marker."

Now it might seem like I'm blaming the seller but I'm not. At that point I owned the boat and it was my responsibility. I vowed that I'd never sit quietly again (especially on my own boat) when I see something so blatantly wrong.
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:32   #6
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Thanks for your responses and yes I'm sure it won't be my last grounding. As long as it's a soft one I won't overly worry about it. Our boat now is bigger and not sure if I could get her off a bar that way anyways. I would probably have to rig up the pram with a block and tackle or just toss the anchor and have a beer depending on the tide.
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:25   #7
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Good story - you both did well and crew and boat all survived to tell the tale - thanks for posting!

west coast Ireland family sailing
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