Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 23-03-2014, 11:52   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Richmond, VA
Boat: 1975 Dufour 31
Posts: 273
Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

So I'm going to share a little story with you of something I did wrong while out sailing last Thursday that could have very likely caused my death. Here in Virginia we have had a rough winter, and a few days have been favorable. I decided to go out on a lovely day and anchor overnight and head back the next day, no rush cool calm and collective. The weather was a high of mid 60's both days, and the wind was favorable.

I headed out solo and stated my northern trek up the Chesapeake bay heading from Hampton to Poquoson where I would anchor. I had jacklines set up and had just purchased an inflatable offshore PFD with built in harness, as I was not going to go solo without a harness, no matter what the weather was like. I arrived at the channel at around 4:00pm an dropped the sails, turned on the motor and began to travel down the channel, towards the anchorage. A large barge was heading up the channel, so I steered clear out of the channel and all of a sudden came to a stop. I had gotten my propeller wrapped up in a fishing net that was not properly marked, and quite long.

Now here comes the part where I was stupid. I have unlimited towing with Boat US. Rather than calling them, I tried to use a boat hook to lift the net up and cut it, however I only got one side cut free. I then decided to inflate my dinghy and try to cut it away that way and examine the propeller to see if I could somehow untangle it. I brought the dinghy around and tied it up to the stern cleats. I climbed down and tried to cut the net free.

What I did Wrong:
I decided to be lazy with tying the dinghy up to the stern, it was loose, and the sailboat was bouncing on the waves. As I was climbing onto the ladder to get back into the sailboat to call the tow boat (which I should have done all along), the dinghy drifted, I slipped and fell into the water. The water had to have been 45-50 degrees, if not colder. I immediately activated my inflatable PFD and had luckly hooked my harness into the boat incase I had fallen in (This is what I did right). The sad part was that the boat was bouncing on the waves with considerable force.

I was in the cold water for 30-45 minutes before I was able to pull myself up on the ladder, which took all my remaining strength. I could not get into the dinghy which I tried do to the PFD getting in my way, and I wasn't taking that off. One of the major problems was I couldn't feel my feet or my hands, and on the ladder this was a major problem. I then stripped down naked, dried off and wrapped up into 2 sleeping bags to warm up. Gradually I did, called towboat US and was cut free and towed to docking.

What I'm glad I did:
Before getting into the dinghy I had called my cousin and told him of the situation. I have faith that he would have hopefully called the coast guard, but by then it would have been too late.

I'm glad I had worn my inflatable PFD and harness.

What I wish I had:
I wish I would have had a portable VHF radio clipped to my harness, I would have called the coast guard and hopefully would have been rescued without being in the water for that long.

Conclusion:
I know what I did was wrong. After taking so many solo sailing precautions by using jacklines and a harness, I was lazy in tying up the dingy. I also should have never done this alone. I should have called towboat US, especially since I have unlimited towing. I'm lucky to be alive. I did have a mild case of hypothermia, but luckily my army training kicked in, an I was able to treat myself appropriately.
__________________

__________________
1975 Dufour 31 Sloop
SV Catharsis Blog
AirBoyzT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 12:03   #2
Registered User
 
krafthaus's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Saskatoon, Canada & Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Lagoon 420
Posts: 409
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Thanks for sharing. That's a while to be in the water at that temperature. I'd say you were getting short on time. Glad you had a good outcome!
__________________

__________________
Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is you know - it's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is...really is, is freedom. ~Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow
krafthaus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 17:20   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Richmond, VA
Boat: 1975 Dufour 31
Posts: 273
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

I have my own stupidity to blame.
__________________
1975 Dufour 31 Sloop
SV Catharsis Blog
AirBoyzT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 17:27   #4
Senior Cruiser
 
hpeer's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Boat: Murray 33-Chouette & Pape Steelmaid-44-Safara-both steel cutters
Posts: 3,896
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Good story, thanks for sharing.
__________________
hpeer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 17:31   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Wandering around North America
Boat: Defever 43 - Gray Hawk
Posts: 602
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

It can happen so quick. We've all done numerous bone-headed stunts over the years - fortunately most of them work out OK. Thanks for sharing this one as a reminder. I'd say you were damn lucky to get yourself out of that water after that long. Your training likely helped with the mental part of keeping going. You must have been tempted to just give up.
__________________
R.J.(Bob) Evans
M/V Gray Hawk, 43 Defever Offshore Cruiser
http://www.bobandmarilyn.ca
bobofthenorth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 18:53   #6
Registered User
 
Mike Vogdes's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Jersey Shore
Boat: Watkins 29'
Posts: 212
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Yes you are lucky to be alive, I'm glad the outcome has become a learning experience for you. You must be in pretty good shape which would make all the difference in a situation like this. In my younger years I could see myself trying to cut away the net but nowadays I think I would be on the radio to Boat US right out of the gate.
__________________
~~~ ><(((((*> ~~~
Mike Vogdes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 19:11   #7
Registered User
 
Blue Crab's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hurricane Highway
Boat: Cal 29
Posts: 3,882
pirate Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Good story. THX
__________________
Blue Crab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 19:58   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 262
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

WOW! You are lucky to be able to tell us this story, and "we" are lucky that you are able to tell us this story as a reminder of our mortality.
__________________

Ballenxj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 20:25   #9
Registered User
 
nimblemotors's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sacramento, California
Boat: Solar 40ft Cat :)
Posts: 1,557
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Thanks for the story and good to hear it ended ok.
It concerns me that a fishing net can disable a boat and it can't be fixed easily.
Scoobert has the same thing happen if I recall, he called Boat US right off.
__________________
JackB
MiniMPPT Solar Controller
nimblemotors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 21:00   #10
Registered User
 
Tx J's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Texas
Boat: Newport 28 & Robalo 20
Posts: 363
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

The only thing worse after losing propulsion would have been if you drifted in front of the oncoming barge.
With water temperatures like that you're danged lucky to have survived long enough to get out.
__________________
Tx J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 21:24   #11
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 10,655
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

AirBoyzT,

Perhaps it was stupid to be careless with tying up the dinghy, and in not letting it slip from under you. Maybe not, though, it's such a human thing to do, and people aren't perfect. One can get a little over the top blaming oneself. Frankly, I admire that you wanted to and attempted to deal with the situation yourself. And your recovery from the hypothermia was excellent.

Maybe you underestimated your own ability to mess up, though. The problem is, self confidence is good. Relying on tow services tends to diminish your own verve for handling situations that arise.

Look at all you gained from this experience:
New respect for winter-cold waters;
Lesson about tying dinghy to boat;
Lesson about shifting from dinghy to boat;
Possibility of waterproof hand held vhf as a safety device for singlehanding;
all in all, a good one. Any landing you walk away from is a good one.

Good on ya for starting the thread, though. It is an especially thoughtful thing to do, putting up what you think are mistakes for internet scrutiny. Many are not so brave.

Good job, mate.

Ann
__________________
Ann, with Jim, aboard US s/v Insatiable II, in Oz, very long term cruisers
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 21:51   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Richmond, VA
Boat: 1975 Dufour 31
Posts: 273
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Vogdes View Post
Yes you are lucky to be alive, I'm glad the outcome has become a learning experience for you. You must be in pretty good shape which would make all the difference in a situation like this. In my younger years I could see myself trying to cut away the net but nowadays I think I would be on the radio to Boat US right out of the gate.
I'm actually quite out of shape and overweight now. This is a wake up call, somehow I managed to gain the strength. I guess the moral is never give up, I kept telling myself I wasn't going to die.

I'm not afraid of internet scrutiny, people can call me what I am, I was an idiot, I just hope this will find people who will use it in the back of their mind for dealing with the same situation.
__________________
1975 Dufour 31 Sloop
SV Catharsis Blog
AirBoyzT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 21:53   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
Kenomac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Adriatic Sea
Boat: Oyster 53 Cutter
Posts: 8,506
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Stuff happens. Don't feel bad, I'd have done the same as you; with the only difference being... I would have been in a wet suit. Probably wouldn't have thought to call the tow service until afterwards.
__________________
Kenomac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 22:56   #14
Resin Head
 
minaret's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Seattle WA
Boat: Nauticat
Posts: 7,198
Images: 52
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Get a line cutter. I use Spurs.



Spurs: Line & Net Cutter Systems
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	153
Size:	14.9 KB
ID:	78025  
__________________
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
minaret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-03-2014, 23:23   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Richmond, VA
Boat: 1975 Dufour 31
Posts: 273
Re: Why I'm lucky to be alive. I was stupid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minaret View Post
Get a line cutter. I use Spurs.



Spurs: Line & Net Cutter Systems
Those are awesome! Which one did you get?
__________________

__________________
1975 Dufour 31 Sloop
SV Catharsis Blog
AirBoyzT is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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
In the VI's, how lucky do I have to be to get lucky? ty.gregory Off Topic Forum 191 15-04-2011 07:44
Stupid, Stupid Laws Factor Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 24 28-04-2010 21:51
A REALLY Stupid Thing Done While Doing a Stupid Thing Dick Pluta The Sailor's Confessional 31 28-04-2010 19:00



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:18.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.