My apologies to those who have read this story elsewhere, but here is one experience I had.
So imagine you're out sailing with a couple new to the sailing experience. You are sailing a Tanzer 26 out on the pond off of The University of British Columbia
area. You plan to sail into the dark evening and see the city lights. As you are sailing, without any warning such as a thunk or tell tail noise
, the boat begins to fill up with water
. The couple you are with becomes alarmed but you tell them no big deal, we'll pump out with the electric bilge pump
. You turn it on and "no go;" the battery
is flat. So you say, don't worry we'll use the manual bilge pump
. So you begin to pump and pump, only to have the handle snap in two.
Imagine being out on the pond in the dark, with a boat with no VHF
, filling up with water
and a panicky couple on your hands. This story occured in 1985 when many boats didn't have VHF
So you announce that at the fill rate of the boat, you feel you have enough time to get back to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club before you actually sink. Needless to say, the couple is nervous; why do these things seem to always happen with new people aboard? So you point the bow towards the yacht club, and with a hope and prayer, and crossed fingers, you sail as quickly as you can.
My estimate is good and we tie up to the slip at the club, but the water is still coming in; about two and a half feet of water through out the entire boat. The lines at the jetty are what's keeping you afloat. The night watchman comes on board with his flash light and I explain the problem to him - water, water, everywhere - but you can't locate the problem.
As the night watch man searches the boat, the female of the couple lets out a loud yell and says she sees light shining through the hull
. I come out quickly and sure enough, at the rudder
, you can see light shining through. On the Tanzer 26 the rudder
is on the outside off the transom. Now here's what we think happened.
About a year earlier, my buddy and I had been out sailing with his wife. They were learning
and taking fixes from the lights around. The only problem with this plan is they were reading the lights wrong and our "fix" was mythical; we weren't even close to where we thought we were. My buddy walks forward and as he does, I hear "Oh, Oh!" and "WHAM!" we hit a submerged rock. I fly forward and hit the traveller, thus opening a sizable cut above my eye.
So we pull into a RVYC out post and call out "Doctor." Normally at RVYC if you yell doctor, a third of the people poke their head
out to see why they are needed. A chap responds with a suturing kit like I have never seen. He has everything except Novocaine, but he says: "don't worry, your drunk enough you won't feel a thing." He's wrong, but I still get stitched up.
Approximately a week latter we lifted the boat to see what damage occurred to the boat and are happy to find very little damage, easy to fix. What we didn't know is that this bang must have also affected the rudder. The thorough hull
bolts that hold the rudder onto the transom had become ever so slightly loosened.
A year latter in the said above night sail with the new couple, the bolts became really loose, the nuts fell off and the bolts went to the briny depths of the ocean. There were four open holes through the under water protion of the transom.
A great "whew! from my buddy (we shared the boat) and I; and a vow from the female companion of the visiting couple to never sail again. More bolts were put in, a VHF added, and life was good till our next adventure.