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Old 02-09-2013, 15:55   #1
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It Started as a Great Day

Woke up one morning a couple of months ago and saw that it was going to be a GREAT day for some sailing. Nice clear skies, bright and sunny, around 80 degrees with a gentle soft breeze between 10-15kts. So my fiancé and I ran to the store, bought some ice to fill our cooler with, grabbed some soda and sandwich stuff and headed back down to the boat. Put some gas in the tank, fired up the old Atomic 4, cast off the lines and headed out under the bridge to the harbor. We cleared the bridge, raised the sails and off we went. Got the sails in trim and were coasting along across a harbor that was practically glass. This is when the first problem happened. While trimming the sails, my starboard jib sheet jammed in my winch. No big deal right? I've got enough spare line onboard to replace it, no problem! Except for problem two. I decided that, well hell, the day is so nice, and I'm going to be staying on this tack for awhile, it's really not that urgent to cut the sheet out of the winch and replace it yet. Hindsight right? Well anyway, we're sailing along nice and easy and now I make mistake number three. I decided to trust my really old depth sounder. Mistake three was actually a compound error since we weren't leaving the harbor, I didn't bother to plug in the GPS and use my charts. I'm pretty sure everyone can guess what's coming next, right? Yup, we smacked straight into the sandbar outside the main shipping channel. Thank god for full keels, right? When we hit, at first it was just a minor brush. I thought, eh, must have been a little debris in the water. The sounder says I've got 9 feet under me and I only draw about 5.5. So the first contact was brushing. The next, not so much. We hit hard. The boat heeled to probably 50-60 degrees onto our port side. I literally jumped down the companionway, fired up the engine, told my fiancé to put her full astern and rushed to the mast. Of course, at this point I made mistake four. I was so concerned about dropping the main, I was nearly thrown overboard when a wave grabbed the boat, lifted her up and dropped her back onto the sandbar. Got the main down and dropped the genoa (should have fixed that jib sheet!) maneuvered myself back to the cockpit, took back the tiller and used the wave action to get her off the bar, though still in the shallows, and had to turn her broadside on to the waves in this "trough" in the bar where I had just, and I do mean just enough water to move and got her into the channel. At this point, we decided we would be much better off just heading back to the marina. But the adventure didn't end there. Oh no! That would be WAY too easy. Lol. So we head back. Of course, where our marina is the current is WICKED, usually running around 3kts or so. Our slip is on the outside of the marina butting right up against a drawbridge. Which in addition to the normal current, causes an eddy to swirl off the bridge. Now, when the tide is heading out, you CANNONT pull into your slip unless you just have the urge to bang your boat into the dock and put your ground tackle into the power box. Usually not the best idea. Lol. I'm not sure how many people here have ever tried backing a 50 year old Alberg before, but she's a pig backing. Add in the current and the eddy, yeaaaaaaaahhhh. I damn near put her into my neighbors boat. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor (and considering the luck I'd had so far today) we headed over to the face dock and tied up there till the tide changed. Fortunately for me, that old Alberg is built like a tank. The only damage she sustained from this entire adventure was a small scuff in the bottom paint. Oh well, you live, you learn right? I know I've definitely learned from it! Even if the lesson did require a bit of this:
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Old 02-09-2013, 16:05   #2
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Re: It Started as a Great Day

Sounds like my first day out on our CT41 ketch. We started the engine in the slip, but it died before we even left (good thing #1). Switched fuel tanks, called our mechanic and got a lesson in how to bleed the system. Headed out and my husband decided to fool with the strange little black knobs on the steering wheel that we didn't know what they did. So then we lost steering (could go in a really big circle, but not tight turns). Thank God (good thing #2), he got it back together again. We headed for the fuel dock where they were going to clean the tanks, and when we got there, a really nice stranger backed the boat in for us because we had no clue (good thing #3....or #4 if you count that we had hardly any fuel in the tanks, so didn't have to pay much to have it hauled away.) So we got the fuel tanks cleaned and filled with fresh, clean, fuel and headed back home about sunset. Beautiful sail. But the boat slowly came to a halt while I wondered what was wrong with the depth sounder (reading only 3 feet!). Thank God for soft ground and full keel (good thing #5). It was a beautiful evening, low tide, so we waited for the tide to lift us off and motored on in.

In hindsight, like yours, a wonderful day with lessons learned and no harm done........
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Old 02-09-2013, 16:18   #3
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Re: It Started as a Great Day

I was skippering a chartered catamaran for a bunch of clients one time and ran over a sandbar in an area of San Diego Harbor, a bay that I thought I knew inside and out. I felt one of the hulls grab a little bit, we skittered sideways, and our wake had sand in it. Tide was outbound.

The gods of the sea decided to be merciful and let pass on that one. Got off the bar, wiped the sweat off my forehead, cursed myself for not checking charts in a harbor "I knew". Turns out it's pretty hard to know every inch of 19 square miles.

Regarding the bound op jib sheet, and I'm being an arm chair admiral here:

Grab some line, rolling hitch to the sheet ahead of the winch, cleat the tail end off, then let up on the winch. Clear it, get it wrapped properly, uncleat spare line and untie rolling hitch.
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Old 02-09-2013, 16:24   #4
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Re: It Started as a Great Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post

Regarding the bound op jib sheet, and I'm being an arm chair admiral here:

Grab some line, rolling hitch to the sheet ahead of the winch, cleat the tail end off, then let up on the winch. Clear it, get it wrapped properly, uncleat spare line and untie rolling hitch.

Those of use who used to own smaller boats would suggest this right away and could be done by hand on those smaller boats.

Going aground? Who hasn't???
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Old 02-09-2013, 16:30   #5
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Re: It Started as a Great Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
I was skippering a chartered catamaran for a bunch of clients one time and ran over a sandbar in an area of San Diego Harbor, a bay that I thought I knew inside and out. I felt one of the hulls grab a little bit, we skittered sideways, and our wake had sand in it. Tide was outbound.

The gods of the sea decided to be merciful and let pass on that one. Got off the bar, wiped the sweat off my forehead, cursed myself for not checking charts in a harbor "I knew". Turns out it's pretty hard to know every inch of 19 square miles.

Regarding the bound op jib sheet, and I'm being an arm chair admiral here:

Grab some line, rolling hitch to the sheet ahead of the winch, cleat the tail end off, then let up on the winch. Clear it, get it wrapped properly, uncleat spare line and untie rolling hitch.
Self tailing two speed winch. The line doubled back on itself and jammed. Tried freeing it, but ended up having to cut it out.
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