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Old 12-03-2016, 18:20   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Cruising the world
Boat: Peterson Islander 40
Posts: 56
Tall tales but true

It was early evening, the summer of 78/79 and we were motoring against an outgoing tide heading to Herald Island where our mooring lay waiting. The wind had all but disappeared with the setting sun as it often does on Auckland Harbour. It had been a long three years building 'Slocoach,' and now that she was almost completely finished, the time had come to thank and repay all those who had assisted, one way or another, by taking them for a Sunday sail. It had been a beautiful sunny day with a pleasant SW wind, but now as it was getting dark I was eager to offload my wonderful crew and relax. By the time we made it to Greenhithe Public Wharf where my crew's cars were parked it was after nine o'clock. We said our goodbyes then I pulled away from the wharf.

Our mooring was just around the corner, not ten minutes away. I had work the following day, so I was in a hurry to get to it as soon as possible, clean the boat up and get to bed. In my haste I rounded the point to closely and at six knots slid easily into the thick mangrove type mud. Slocoach was a double-ended Tahiti Ketch (yes an old clunker) which I built by using foam-sandwich fiberglass. The plans came from the magazine 'Popular Mechanics.'

The keel was long and wide, and as she grounded she must have ridden up at least six inches in the soft mud before coming to a stop. I didn't even attempt to go astern knowing it would be completely futile. We were stuck fast. Instead, I just just shut the engine down, went forward and threw my heavy anchor out as far as I could, checked the tide table and went to bed.

Of course I didn't sleep well and after a few hours I woke up. It was still dark and I was still half asleep. I jumped out of my bunk and all hell broke loose. Over she went, down and down. Lockers went flying open. Pots and pans were clattering, and still she kept going down. When she finally stopped she was almost on her beam-ends.

I picked myself up and with difficulty made it out into the cockpit. I could hear the clicking of the crabs as I looked around. We were completely high and dry. The mast was at an alarming angle. I then realized what had happened. Her long wide keel was so stuck in the mud, that as the water receded on the falling tide, and as there hadn't been any movement on board, she had sat there bold upright perfectly balanced like a bird on a wire... Until I jumped out of bed.
Now she could have fallen towards the shore, which would have eased the distance she would have gone down on the sloping mud bank. But oh no 'Murphy' had to be there to make sure she didn't!


PS Later that year I sailed Slocoach across the Tasman Sea, from Auckland to Sydney using a plastic sextant for navigation.
She howls like a Banshee
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Old 12-03-2016, 18:48   #2
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Boat: 47' Steel Roberts Cutter
Posts: 244
Re: Tall tales but true

Similar thing happened to me, 10 minutes after leaving a marina on the tarpon river. Ran up on an unmarked rock in front of a fuel dock. I had operated the boat exactly 10 minutes in my life (our maiden voyage in her). She wouldn't budge under kedge to a halyard, or passing tow, or even 400 hp sea-tow. So we settled in- literally 100 yards from the beach bar behind the fuel dock. Had supper and played some board games with the kids, awaiting the tide. When I crossed the salon about 3 hours later, we fell over with an almighty crash. I heard the gasping from the spectators in the bar ashore! Several dinghies came out to check out if we were ok, which can we were, but it was a wee bit embarrassing! Then of course a thunderstorm opened up on us, and all the sky-ward facing port lights began to leak. And I discovered all the parts of the boat that only drain when it's level.

we got off at 2 am the following morning, and high-tailed it out of there before anyone saw more of us!

...I wish I could say that was the last time I've been aground.

...but I can't! 😁

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Old 12-03-2016, 19:12   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Channel Islands, CA
Boat: 1962 Columbia 29 MK 1 #37
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Re: Tall tales but true

Score two more for the clunkers!!
1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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