Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-10-2007, 16:06   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Queensland, Australia
Boat: Piver Loadstar 12.5 metres
Posts: 274
It was a dark and starless night--

It was a dark and starless night with very little wind. We had sailed until dark to find an anchorage, and in the tropics night comes quickly. The moon was not due to rise for hours and thick cloud obstructed the stars.

We moved towards the shore watching the depth sounder, the chartplotter showing us a hundred metres or more from the shore. Throttling back on the motor, (we had already furled our sails as darkness fell and the wind died)--we slowly crept forwards in the blackness. I slacked off the clutch on the anchor windlass and had my wife stand ready to let it off completely when we reached three fathoms of water chart datum.

OK--let it go--

Nothing happened. Of all the times for an anchor chain to kink! This was the first time it had ever happened. I put the motor into slow astern and released the anchor which disappeared below the hull--we were still moving forwards it seemed. I could not see any lights on land, so I shone the hand held torch ahead of us.

About twenty feet in front of us was an imposing cliff face--a solid rock wall!

I have no idea how long it took me to get back into the wheelhouse and open the throttle to back us out of there. My wife claims she could have reached out with a boathook and pushed against it by the time the boat stopped and began to back away. The sounder still showed deep water--and we dragged the unset anchor as we backed away another two hundred metres or so.

We set two more anchors. Next day after watching all night we found out what went wrong. Somehow the chartplotter had gone off its calibration--we had removed the c-map cartridge and de-powered it for a while earlier. It was in fact about one hundred metres or more out. The GPS position was exact--except the indicator of the boat position shown on the electronic chart was not in that same GPS position.

In the light of day we put ourselves in a known position and adjusted the plotter charts to the correct GPS datum. No further problems.

What was fortunate for us is that in the entire area we had chosen the only place where there was no debris or boulders below the cliff face, or wave cut platform on which to founder. Deep water reached right to the cliff wall. Anywhere else the water became very shallow over rocks. Almost certainly the hull would have been damaged. As it was--a few seconds more might have seen us holed and sinking.

Moral--anchor securely well before dark--or keep sailing with caution. And check your electronic charts occasionally--
Mike Banks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-10-2007, 19:12   #2
Senior Cruiser
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,169
Aloha Mike,
Very scary. Good Halloween story!! Could you share with us where this occurred?
Kind Regards,
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-10-2007, 19:40   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Queensland, Australia
Boat: Piver Loadstar 12.5 metres
Posts: 274
It was off the coast of Gloucester Island. This is one of the Whitsunday group.

If you want a haloween story I have a better one--See "Unidintified Lights--"
Mike Banks is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Things That Go Bump in the Night Hud3 General Sailing Forum 8 22-10-2007 08:33
Hi all newbie to forum as of last night forsailbyowner Meets & Greets 3 23-09-2007 00:09
Your site has been down all night seafox Forum Tech Support & Site Help 2 29-04-2007 13:54
First offshore at night GrayGoose General Sailing Forum 5 28-03-2005 08:31
'Twas the night before Christmas John Drake General Sailing Forum 2 17-12-2004 18:33

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:52.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.