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View Poll Results: Oops, I made this mistake . . .
Didn't pay attention to the weather forecast 87 27.10%
Ran aground - had to wait on the tide 80 24.92%
Ran aground - got off by myself 191 59.50%
Ran aground - had to be pulled off 70 21.81%
Hit the dock 113 35.20%
Hit something else (another boat, etc.) 58 18.07%
Anchor didn't hold, drifted into something 44 13.71%
Boat sank at the dock 10 3.12%
Boat sank, not at the dock 8 2.49%
Had a fire 24 7.48%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 321. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 19-05-2008, 17:07   #181
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We actually made the baltimore sun with the collision

so for a while I carried around the new cllpping. But it's true, I would have had trouble believing if it hadn't been me. Freighter stories always end with small boat being turned into plywood or just never being seen again.
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Old 21-05-2008, 03:51   #182
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I am wondering if the freighter had a bow bulb and the water movement over it was what saved the boat,
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Old 21-05-2008, 04:38   #183
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bow bulb

Absolutely! It did have one and that's why it pushed so much water ahead of it. it was also empty, and riding high. I always thought that the bulb being nearer the surface helped us. Don't actually know if it was true.

The freighter office said that they had shut the engines down before we hit, but, of course couldn't manuever in the bay with all the other boats swarming around.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:40   #184
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Anyone who has traveled the East Coast ICW has most likely run aground, and we checked all three categories. The running into the dock incident was the result of the shift cable failing, no way to stop except to hit the dock. Had the in-laws on board for a sail, and showed considerable poise and skill in returning to the mooring under sail.
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Old 06-06-2008, 13:25   #185
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Maiden Voyage foul-up

Hi folks,

So it's summer of 2006, and I purchased my first sailboat. I'd learned to sail with the Navy several years back, and I'd gone out on several boats with my dad and some friends, but I never owned one and I'd always wanted to. So I decided to take the plunge. My better half (girlfriend at the time) seemed a bit leery at first, but she decided to take sailing lessons. She loved it, and became really excited about having a boat. We lived in Portsmouth, NH at the time, and found Icefire, our Sabre 28, in Yarmouth ME, about 60 - 70 nm north. I had acquired a mooring at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and just needed to bring the boat down the coast. Given the distance, and wanting to make the trip in a day, I planned to leave early in the morning (I was thinking underway at 0700 or so - it was early July, so that gave me another 12 hours +/- until darkness in that area of the world - at 5 kts, that's plenty of time, right?) and be willing to just motor if the wind wasn't favorable. Thus, I asked the boatyard to commission the boat and make sure the tanks were topped off. I bought NOAA charts of the entire route (and studied them) as well as CMAP charts for the boat's chartplotter. I felt ready, so the night before, I loaded the dinghy atop the truck and packed up as much as was feasible.

The plan started to fall apart almost immediately. Of course, even though we got up early, SWMBO and I didn't get out of the house until well past my planned underway time. And of course we had to stop for more munchies. So we got to the boatyard at ~10. Then I put the dinghy in and paddled her over to the boat, and we got things situated aboard. And then we waited, because her parents really wanted to come on the cool first cruise, and who were we to disappoint? While we were waiting, I noticed that the GPS wasn't getting a fix, and the unit thought it was still 2004 (apparently the last time that the previous owner had taken her out). This puzzled me, because GPS receives date/time info from the sattelites themselves, and I spent some time rifling through the manual trying to figure out how to reset it. I was annoyed at it, but not worried, because I had good charts and I know visual navigation rules. So after a few minutes, I said "screw it" and went to check out other things on the boat....but I didn't check the gas tank (I assumed the boatyard topped it off when they did the water, like I asked).

Well, the in-laws finally arrived, and we got underway just after noon. The first bit of calamity occured not 1/4 mile from the dock, going down the river. We approached another small marina on the north side of the river, and I noticed a green buoy maybe 20 feet from the end of the pier. Now, I know it's "red right returning" in the states, but that green guy seemed just too close to the dock to actually be a channel marker......but it was. As we approached the dock, we stopped quickly, the keel in silt. Well, great, the the tide was going out, and so were other boats, and there we sat (meanwhile, my girlfriend and her parents were looking at me, the professional naval officer, with no small amount of amusement and consternation). Fortunately, skulling the rudder and jockeying the throttle on the motor ahead and backwards got us clear, and I got back into the channel where I was supposed to be, feeling a bit chastened and embarrassed. But that's ok, we got down-river and out to Penobscot Bay, and once again all was good.

Except that there was almost no wind, except in spurts. And while I and SWMBO had some sailing experience, her Mom had none, and her dad had very little. Tacking just wasn't going well in the light air, so after an hour or two of trying to make decent way under sail, I restarted the engine and motored us past Portland and Peaks Island, heading south to Portsmouth.

So once more life was good. A few hours later (about 1730), we're nearing Biddeford, Maine, and I start thinking about the timeline. I knew there was no way we could make Portsmouth before dark, but I'd been studying the navigation aids around Portsmouth a lot in preparation for getting my submarine underway from the shipyard in the fall, and I knew the Piscataqua river well. The approaches, though, I didn't feel good about, and with the GPS out, I was hesitant to continue. I thought about pulling into the harbor at Biddeford for the night. I saw a yacht club on the chart plotter; it wouldn't have been hard. I took a minute to try to get the GPS working. Sure enough, in a few minutes, I found out how to reset the unit, and soon we had a good fix and the chartplotter was showing our track nicely. Feeling more confident, I decided to press, figuring that at worst we'd make Kennebunk by nightfall and we could stop there if we wanted to, or just push on to Portsmouth. Even if we lingered outside the river mouth until morning, it would be better than stopping, right?

We rounded the point passing south of Biddeford, and lo and behold, we encountered actual wind: a good 12-15 kt westerly that promised good close-reaching or close-hauled sailing for a while. So we hoisted sail once again.

Now, this was the first time for any of us on this particular boat, and the Sabre 28 likes to heel (I've since comes to appreciate that Icefire likes to go to 25-30 degrees and just sit there). It had been some time for me since I'd heeled over that far, SWMBO's only experience was in 420s and had thoughts of capsizing, and her folks didin't know what to think. The sudden heel to 25 degrees or so freaked us all out (even the dog). Everyone started screaming, so I dumped the mainsheet and turned up, and we lowered the sails and returned to motor (having decided to just get there and get used sailing the boat later).

15 minutes later, the engine died.

Yep, you guessed it. Out of gas. Apparently, the tank WASN'T topped off before we left, afterall.

So now what? Well, looking at the chartplotter, I found the phone number to Biddeford Pool yacht club. A quick cell phone call later, they agreed to let us tie up at their sole remaining mooring buoy for the night. I told the guy on the phone (who was on his way out the door to go home) that we were out of gas, and could he have someone come out to help us? The answer was, of course, no but the channel's easy and you ought to be able to sail right to the mooring, then take the dinghy to get gas.

So, I unrolled the genoa and gybed back toward Biddeford. On a broad reach on genoa alone, we made 5 knots back to the channel entrance, and I was feeling good again. But the sun was setting, and as I turned into the channel, I realised that we were turning dead into the wind, so we'd have to tack our way into the mooring area. We'd not had much luck with tacking well earlier, but we did ok for a while. But as the light faded, I began to think it'd probably be better to head out the channel and figure out a different plan. We were tending to lose control of the boat at the end of tacks as we lost hull speed, and I knew there was a big rocky island to the north, maybe a quarter of a mile away.

At some point, I realised it would be a hell of a lot easier to tack if I'd just raise the main and furl the genoa, with the mainsheet traveller right behind me and no winches to screw around with So after a tack, I had SWMBO and her dad raise the mainsail. Well naturally, no sooner did we do that than we completely lost it through the next tack. The genoa was luffing like mad, we were making almost no way, and the main was now only hurting matters because I had no steerageway, but the wind and current were setting us north to the rocks. Looking at the chartplotter, I realised we were in big trouble and were going to hit the rocks.....soon. SWMBO and her dad were still up forward, so I shouted "Drop the anchor!"

"How????" was the response. Oh, crap!

By the time I rushed up to the bow and released the anchor, we were maybe 50 ft from the rocky island, literally, and it was way too late. We slide into a crevice between two rocks and started getting pummeled by waves.

So now everyone was really REALLY scared. I made MAYDAY calls on CH 13, 16, 9 and received no response. So we broke out our trusty Boat-US cards and called for towing help. "Sure," they said, "we'd love to help. Our towboat is in Portland. He can leave right now." Crap! It took us 2.5 hrs or so for us to get there from Portland, and towboats don't go fast, so that wasn't going to work. The BoatUS operator connected us to the Maine Marine Patrol, who asked if we'd be willing to pay any costs of assistance. Naturally, we said "Hell yes!".

For about the next 20 minutes, we sat against the rocks, being knocked about. SWMBO's dad and I managed to pull us off the worst of them by hauling in the anchor line as much as we could. We were hopeful we might be able to extricate ourselves completely, but the rudder and keel wedged between a couple of rocks, and we'd gotten as far out as we could.

Finally the Marine Patrol showed up. When they arrived, I conveniently removed my Navy ball cap and hid it, then helped them make up their lines to us. In short order, they had us off the rocks and heading to the Yacht Club pier. They had to cut our anchor line, but another boat of theirs stayed behind to retrieve the anchor itself.

When we got to the yacht club, the manager showed up (smelling of alcohol), and asked who the hell we were and generally behaved like an ass. He gave us 5 gallons of gas, but made it clear that he didn't want us there. The Marine Patrol officer told him that we were to remain at his pier, and gave us his card for help in the morning getting a tow to a local boat yard for haulout and inspection. Well, no sooner did he leave than the manager told us we could use the mooring, but we couldn't stay at the pier, nevermind what Law Enforcement just said, or that we were a vessel that was just in distress. I coudl have, and probably should have pressed the issue, but I was in no mood for a pissing contest. I quickly tested the rudder and made sure the engine would start, and then we cast off.

Well, quickly we realised we had problems still, because although I had the wheel hard right, we were turning left! We were doing donuts in the water just off the dock, and the manager started yelling at us! After making it clear that we couldn't steer, he had his boys get into a boat and tow us to the mooring. We actually spent a rather nice night on the boat once we were moored, amazingly.

The next morning, I hopped in the water to survey the rudder, hoping that there was an easy fix to the problem so we could maneuver ourselves to the boat yard. I'd checked the bilge many times throughout the ordeal and the rest of the night, and we hadn't taken ANY water onboard, so I was hopeful that we may have escaped really serious damage.

My hopes seemed confirmed when I found a lobster pot buoy wedged between the rudder and the hull. No wonder we were having trouble with helm control during those last few tacks! We'd snagged a buoy!

The buoy removed, I clambered up the boarding ladder, full of high hopes. But as I turned the wheel and observed the rudder post, I realised that it wasn't turning all the way.

So we went ashore on the yacht club's launch and got picked up by SWMBO's brother, and arranged for the boat to be towed and hauled.

It turns out that the rudder stock had bent and twisted , so that the rudder could not turn to starboard without contacting the hull. The seals held, though. The rudder had to be replaced, some denting in the keel re-shaped, and the bottom paint redone, but that was it. I'll tell you, Progressive did a great job helping us out with the bill. I'd literally had a policy with them for 2 weeks, and they didn't give me any problems with an $8,000 claim.

The really annoying part of the whole thing is that we'd been delayed for a month getting the rudder fixed from some problems that the pre-buy survey found, and now we were replacing it! Oh well....

I have subsequently taken Icefire out on several more successful journeys, but SWMBO hasn't come out that much because we were living apart for almost a year. We just went out last weekend, though, and she commented that she felt really confident before this incident, but not so much since it. So she's going to take some more classes to get back into the swing of things, and we're going to cruise around the Chesapeake as much as we can, now that we're in Annapolis.

So all's well that ends well, I guess. I was really impressed with how tough Sabre made the boat. I know how bad it is to be caught on the rocks in wave action. A lesser boat may have broken apart!

Anyway, I learned a lot of lessons (all of which I already knew from my professional life):

1) Always check the status of all systems and tanks before getting underway.

2) Always carry a backup fuel tank.

3) Don't try to continue with a plan that's already going wrong

4) If you think you should stop for the night, do it! Don't try to push through because you think you can!

5) Be blatent about your need for help, and call for help early. I'll bet I could have gotten the Marine Patrol of someone to run me out a gallon of gas if I loitered outside the channel and called for it.

and finally.....


That's it. My worst moment onboard my sailboat.

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Old 06-06-2008, 13:40   #186
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Maiden Voyage

Wow! that is one great story. All the perfect ingredients, engine only when you don't need it, wind when you can't use it and people behaving badly. sounds like your inlaws were great. The Chesapeake is a great place to sail, almost all groundings are mud and very few rocks on shore.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:39   #187
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I'm not sure how to classify this, but here goes. I kept my Stiletto 30 catamaran at a predominantly Powerboat yachtclub in the DC area. A female friend much younger than me (no romance implied) brought another cute young friend along to go sailing.

Since I had the slip next to the yachtclub barge, there were ALWAYS witnesses to my approaches and departures, announced by "Hey everybody, Sandy is parking his tennis court" which prompted much levity and mirth, on my tab of course.

Busy with trying to keep the elderly 2-stroke 9.9 going, I heard splashes behind me, accompanied by much commotion, and perhaps more L and M than in the past. Most of my friends at the yacht club were busy pulling two of their less staid companions out of the water, laughing and pointing and yelling incomprehensibly at me, and I was utterly at a loss to grasp the situation until I turned around to consult my guests, who were disrobing to tiny bikini mode. I immediately understood why the two old farts at the dock fell in, but I have found no satisfactory explanation for running aground. It might have been a microburst.
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Old 09-06-2008, 13:49   #188
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A very detailed account of what happens on the first sail. Better to get the first one under your belt quick and move on. The curse only lasts for the first trip so you learned all your lessons well and now have a list of things you could never do again. While our very first sail went really well our first overnight didn't do as well. Less dramatic but just as embarrassing. We were lucky in that we had the whole club cruising fleet to witness it so everyone can tell the story except the juicy parts that happened on the water.

The bay is a great place to sail. Running aground is more of a natural thing here. You often get yourself off because you usually don't get aground that hard. It can be a regular thing though. While I have been towed I have only grounded 5 times and extracted myself each time with the last time requiring about 45 minutes. So long as you don't do it at full speed it's pretty forgiving.

Should you make it all the way to the south end you could get a good welcome at the Seaford Yacht Club. We don't have moorings but we have a T head and while we don't have gas we would drive you to where you could haul some back. If it were Saturday you get invited to the happy hour / potluck too. We have even pulled a few in. if you came without problems it would be just fine too.
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Old 18-06-2008, 07:41   #189
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I learned to sail in 1991. Sailed Flying Scotts until 2002 (no motor). In 2002 I bought a MacGregor 26X. Only had it a couple of days and had just been out for an afternoon of sailing. Everything up to this point had gone very well, but when I went to start the engine to motor back to the dock it wouldn't turn over. Seems the DAC (Last letter is captain you can figure the rest out) had left the engine in gear when it was shutdown. After searching for an hour trying to find a blown fuse or anything else that could be causing the motor not to turn over, I decided to sail back to the dock. I had done this with the Flying Scott many times and didnít think it would be all that hard to do with the new boat. As I approached the dock, at about 20 yards out I dropped the main sail expecting the boat to slow quickly. I didnít realize how much inertia the boat would have. It carried me past the dock. Not by allot but enough to miss it completely. The wind was from the northwest at 20 gusting to 25. The approach to the dock was east to west. I thought this isnít so bad the wind will blow me back into the dock. It did but again I wasnít thinking about the inertia. Despite my best efforts we slammed into the dock and put a nice size gouge in the hull.
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Old 22-06-2008, 21:48   #190
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Famous last words of a redneck - "Hey Ya'll! Watch this."

Saturday we had a twilight race and I wasn't able to sail but I did want to get out on the water. So I convinced my partner and a buddy to try out a sail.

When we got the boat it had a Spinnaker but it looks asymetric. We flew it with a pole until we found another sailbag with a proper symetrical. Well now I have this asymetric and I am itching to see how we could rig it up and fly it.

We still had 15kts from the southwest remaining from Friday's weather system so we decide will leave the engine running, make a strop for the tack attached to the forestay fitting, haul the head and fly this thing with no pole and gybe it around the front.

We headed down channel where it opens up a bit, waited for two ships to go by and pulled it up. It filled cleanly and started pulling hard - really hard. We idle the engine and reckon we re doing 5+ kts. Then we looked to port and a 3rd ship was coming down the channel. The we looked to starboard and two ferry boats were coming. The bowman, an Aussie buddy, says,"She'll be right! Go ahead and cross her bow!" I figure its dubious at best but I am not holding the tiller.

My partner first starts shouting to lower the sail but at this point me and the bowman haven't quite sorted out how this could be achieved. Our job was to get it up and filled! The strop is long and we have it rigged to the pole downhaul through a block on the forestay fitting. This we figured would be cool because we could launch from the mast and then haul the tack down to make it taut.

Unfortunately the downhaul is a bit long and we run out of haul with the spinnaker made at the head - in other words it's a bit loose!

Any change of heading causes wild swings in the tack and the spinnaker but dead downwind is the worst and the kite collapses and fills with resounding pops!

At this point my partner at the helm starts to turn the boat. When we got to a starboard reach the sail is really starting to strain but it is a bit more stable. I sheet out as much as I dare but we are finally no longer on a collision course with a ship - good news!

The ship and ferries all ease past and we finally have clear water to run downwind. At about 20 degress off DDW it is pretty stable and pulls like a monster. The aft end of the boat is doing figure 8s but it is a hell of a ride. We keep shouting to "drive under the sail" and he keeps saying "I'm trying"

We do a couple of gybes to see if we could and satisfy ourselves that with a few adjustments this could be fun. The helmsman continues to disagree.

We finally develop a plan to get the thing down and with a combination of releasing the tack downhaul and the halyard we get it on deck and stuffed in the hole.

I was only an hour of sailing but it was a frightfully fun.

Lesson to self - Fly really big sails for the first time in light airs - LOL.
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Old 22-06-2008, 22:04   #191
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Lesson to self - Fly really big sails for the first time in light airs - LOL.
And I would add, not in a restricted shipping lane.

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Old 23-06-2008, 06:35   #192
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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
And I would add, not in a restricted shipping lane.
Party pooper

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Old 23-06-2008, 06:54   #193
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Going from Jacksonville around to Ft. Myers via ICW and Key West. 34' Morgan shallow keel. ICW hadn't been dredged or marked for several years. On ground just below St. Augustine at creek inlet, in Indian River Lagoon, above Vero Beach, and off Point Sable all because of no markers, ignoring tide tables. Got myself off each time but took some work. Get-there-itis and a blonde waiting, of course.
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Old 29-06-2008, 23:40   #194
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Old 30-06-2008, 21:06   #195
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I apologize, I did not know that this is an old Maritime joke not only us
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