So there we were...a beautiful Saturday afternoon. A group of guys on my boat
left Port Townsend for a day in Admiralty Bay to end at Fort Flagler mooring
field to meet families for camping. Its my boat
and the first group to sail with me. ONe experienced crewman sees my anchor
lashed to the pulpit without a chain attached and asks if I want to secure the chain to it. "No", we wont need that. So we cast off and things went great, stiff breeze, sun, good crew and no worries in sight. After a few hours of tacking back and forth we headed for the channel between Marrowstone Is and Indian Is. This is a very narrow, windy, shallow and fast flowing channel. The entrance is clearly marked with buoys and charts
clearly indicate that outside the channel it's only a few feet deep.
In previous passages I have enjoyed the challenge and impending doom of sailing my ketch
through this maze without engine
power, no margin for error and my wife reading off the depth sounder
as we go, practically feeling our way thru. So, naturally, I felt confident.
As we sailed up to the channel buoy I turned into the wind
and commanded to drop sail. I didn't want to risk my crew by grandstanding the channel so decided to motor
. My wife was on-board and I told her to flip the battery
switch to 'start'. She yells, 'Mark! Its broken!'
. As the boat sat motionless and inevitably beginning to drift toward the channel marker and into a grounding condition, I jumped below to see for myself. Sure enough, our portable Honda generator
had tipped over during a heel and snapped the battery
switch in the OFF position.
I informed the crew to immediately raise the jib
and main and get us moving away from our direction of drift. Thankfully I had a couple of experienced sailors on board and they did superbly while I moved the companionway
, raised the sole, grabbed a wrench and disconnected the starter cable from the main switch and hotwired the cable to the battery while smashing the throttle cable with my foot. It started after an agonizing eternity!
I jumped up to cockpit
and got engine
and prop controlled, told crew to leave the sails
up as we headed into the channel. We sailed through the channel which was gratifying but we also left the engine running.
I guess I'll go shackle up my anchor
and chain now. Then I'll write some more blunders.