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Old 11-07-2012, 15:57   #1
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Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

We had been in Dartmouth for three glorious days (God, what a ravishingly beautiful place). For the first time ever, we had a berth on the town quay rather than on one of the big ship moorings where they usually put us. The weather had been somewhat stormy, but we felt a break in it, and although I had bought tickets to the theater that night for the whole crew, we decided to take off to Plymouth, our next planned stop.

We had a tremendously difficult exit -- we were in the last berth with our stern practically jammed against the bridge. Ahead of us was a raft of two boats. The tide rips there . . . I lay awake at night worrying how I would get out of that berth without smashing the rafted up boat ahead.

So I decided to have a crewman get in the dinghy and tie on to a stern cleat, and pull the stern out using the 25hp dinghy engine, while I used the bow thruster to pull the bow out. Other crew stood by to cast off all the lines. In the event, the crewman in the dingy flubbed the maneuver and didn't pull anybody's stern out, but we got past the rafted up boats without a hitch. Hard left rudder with simultaneous application of right bow thruster kicked the stern right out, and I got past with no problem.

But just as I was motoring around the rafted up boat to get into the main channel, we suddenly stopped. What the h*ll? I thought something was wrong with the transmission. "I've got no drive!", I shouted, and tried putting in neutral, then shifting into gear again. No luck. Suddenly it occurred to -- we're bloody well aground!!! It was low tide.

I sent someone to the quayside with a long line to hold our stern off the boat next to us, in case we floated and started to yaw. And waited. The harbormaster came by and said -- "So you found our sand bar, did ye? Don't worry -- you're on the high crown of it. You'll float off presently."

And 45 minutes later, we did, and proceeded to sea after picking up our dinghy.

I had just been saying at dinner the night before -- "I don't want to jinx anything, shouldn't be saying this, but I've never even touched the ground in this boat in 10,000 miles of sailing and God knows how many entrances-exits from unknown ports."

We sailed out and found the worst sea conditions I have ever seen in my life. My 83 year old father was on board, and confirmed - the worst sea I've ever seen, he said. Although the wind was light at that moment, around Start Point, the storm the previous night with 64 knots winds still had the water churned up -- 30 - 35 foot breaking waves, in a horrible confused sea pattern. At one point I seriously worried that we might get rolled. We were laid down almost on our beam ends, and I thought all the crockery would be smashed. Two passengers were violently ill and terrified, alternately puking and praying.

We aborted Plymouth and put right into Salcombe, anything to get out of that sea.

All in all, a terrible decision to put to sea! And now I can no longer say that I have never even touched the bottom in my boat!
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:01   #2
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

Welcome to the club.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:02   #3
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

sounds like a painless way to have lost your virginity, mine was a 6 hour event
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:05   #4
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

Great story. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:24   #5
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

Nice anchoring with your keel while you got your dinghy secured.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:31   #6
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

So ... you've never heard the superstition about putting to sea when you have tickets to the theatre then?

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Old 11-07-2012, 16:32   #7
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

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So ... you've never heard the superstition about putting to sea when you have tickets to the theatre then?



. . .
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:43   #8
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

What took so long.
Oh well.
Off like a prom dress.
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:55   #9
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Does plowing mud and nearly stoping count?
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Old 11-07-2012, 16:55   #10
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

I don't think I've ever had bottom paint or barnacles on the bottom of the keel for too very long. Good story, glad it ended with no major harm to boat or crew.
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Old 11-07-2012, 17:17   #11
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

You're safe and the boats uninjured unless there is a bit thinner bottom paint. It ended well.
I just help my friend haul out his Excalibur 36 that slipped its mooring and has a gouged rudder, bent rudder post, some large holes in her keel and gouges and scrapes above and below the waterline at the stem and along both sides.
kind regards,
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Old 11-07-2012, 18:32   #12
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

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Welcome to the club.

+1

You got off easy.
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Old 11-07-2012, 19:27   #13
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

I can't count the times Ive sild, scraped, bumped. and stuck myself!! LOL it's part of sailing in shallow waters or I should say anchoring or docking in shallow waters ! Its gonna happen! much better to do it in the Mud then in the rocks ! Ive been lucky that way only mud and sand so far !! If ya carry some kedge anchors and spare line ya can get off most anything soft !!! just my 2 cents
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Old 11-07-2012, 19:32   #14
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

congratulations, dockhead-you are now a sailor!!!! hoooyaaaahhh----party time!!!!
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Old 11-07-2012, 21:07   #15
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Re: Lost my Grounding Virginity :(

congratulations it especially sucks when you have 36 passengers on board your boat and need to use the spinnaker halyard to haul the keel out of the water thanks coast guard for scaring away paying customers
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