We had an interesting event happen with one of the sister ships, the Philippine Sea, another guided missile cruiser. We were sailing south on the way to St. Augustine, coming up on the St. John's River Inlet, about 4 miles off the Florida
coast, with my wife at the helm
, doing a nice 7 to 8 knots on a starboard tack. So, we're about 7 or 8 miles north of the inlet when we hear the usual notice, "Warship 58 proceeding out the St. John's Inlet to sea", etc. So, we figure we're still an hour away and 58 will quite likely be well away from us by the time we get there.
We get about 3 miles from the inlet when my wife calls me up, saying "that looks like that Navy ship, still in the inlet, and it doesn't look like they're moving". I'm thinking, "aw, come on, that's no place to be farting around. There's lots of traffic, some shallow water
, and the tide's about to shift, too." So, I take a look through the glasses and sure enough, that ship's moving awful slow in a pretty narrow inlet.
My wife wonders if we should do something different and I say, not really, we're under sail, starboard tack, maybe bear off a bit, and obviously, keep your eye on 'em. They're not talking, but hardly moving.
So, we keep on going south and are now about a mile from the inlet and the Navy ship is still in the inlet. Then, they start moving a bit quicker, but seem to be crabbing their way out. Then, we hear; "Warship 58 to sailing catamaran
proceeding southbound. We are proceeding out of the inlet, but have lost
. Repeat, WE HAVE LOST
ALL STEERING! Recommend you take evasive action. We are trying to make the anchorage outside the inlet. Please stand by."
Well, that certainly got our attention! So, we end up doing a 360 and come up about 500 yards aft of the ship, which is now past the outer markers and going slowly, with an anchor
hanging down ready to splash. They called back after we passed their stern, "Thank you, catamaran
. We still have no steering
and will advise you if we need to do further maneuvers toward you." We watch them for the next little while and they did end up anchoring
It does make you wonder, though, whether anyone thought to check things out before they left the pier.