Sailed on Barnegat Bay for many years and have grounded in the bay and adjoining rivers many times Markers are not all that accurate because of shifting shoaling Remediatin was simple on first boat Jump over and push it off .
Also hit Seal Rock off Naragansett bay in the fog and rain on one N Eng cruise Just a small bump but scarey since you could not see 10 feet in the fog
A true skipper ... we had the guys up the mast, telling us which way to go, as there were sand banks all over, and the chart was way out. We were on our way to Linga Linga, Mozambique, and the tide was quiet strong, yet we were not going anywhere!
We had indeed grounded and no amount of maneuvering our 44' was changing that !
And so spent the time knee boarding, snorkelling and swimming making out it was a planned event!
I became a true skipper my FIRST time out. I was singlehanding out of Ventura California, and had gotten as far as Santa Barbara when the shackle on my main halyard snapped open, leaing me without a main. On no instruments, and in the dark, I made for the Santa Barbara marina, when suddenly the boat was at an unnatural angle, and I wasn't going anywhere. I grounded hard enough that I lost my rudder and bent the prop and the prop shaft, and broke the shaft support strut. Soon after, I got a new boat... lol
San Diego, Bimini and the funniest was at key Chappel in Belize. i sent crew to point out shallows while entering the bay, I was at the wheel of my gulfstar 50 and the crewman, pointed to the right, so i went there. After we went aground, he informed me that he had pointed to a sandbar, DUH, I already knew that. He was facing ahead, the diesel was going and there was no way to hear him. We, at that time, did not have a radio and were relying on hand signals, which were supposed to be where to go, not what to avoid. 3 hours later we pulled into the harbor. it was a neat place. I took the dinghy out to set the anchor also. The outboard did jnot catch until I was about 200 yeards downwind. it was an interesting day finished with a great dinner.
Last year I was helping move a Tayana 42 Cutter. We were looking for a spot to clear out of the Cacios Bank (5' 10" draft) cruising this long bar looking for a "hole" since we could see beautiful deep water on the other side. The water is so clear it can be 15 feet deep and it looks like 3 so you rely on your gauge and the changing color of the water. Seeing a "hole" I went foreward to watch, I could see the water rise about 2 feet so I knew if the dept gage said 8 with a 2 foot rise we were fine. He replies 7 feet which still would be enough but close. I tell him to go ahead, then he tells me the gauge says 3 feet. I know the bottom didn't just raise 4 feet and as Im telling him to tack turn stop etc we manage to grind to a halt. Coming in another day with another friend (52 foot Transpac boat) we were getting towed in (engine problems) and sure enough even though we waited for high tide we ran right into the bar at the entrance of the canal. With the Tow boat churning the water up and me hanging waist deep in the water off the end of the boom and my friend working the rudder back and forth we managed to get in. Sailing a new performance catamaran to the Miami boat show we managed to smack the daggerboards very well. Well enough to require returning with a grinder and fiberglass. On many occasions I have come up in shallow water with my powerboat. Fortunatly I can raise the engine up hop out and push her to deeper water.
Of coourse! We sail off NJ our home bay is Great Bay where 8' is considered deep. Our boat draws 5'. Every time we transit the cut that connects out lagoon to Big Creek we anticipate a bump. Run aground? sure. If you sail NJ waters you almost expect it. Only one time have we required an assist but thats another story.
The day after Xmas, 2006, Claudia and I started out on our first trip on our own boat. We left Seagate Marina, a few miles north of Beaufort NC. We were off on a new adventure and had decided to go to the Bahamas or at least as far south as necessary for the butter to melt! We had done quite a bit of sailing on a friend's boat in the Caribbean, logging several hundred miles. In addition, we had taken a couple of ASA sailing courses and sailed a trailerable boat on an inland lake. Finally, we had sailed our boat, "Now or Never!" a Pearson 323 from near Savannah to Seagate, non-stop on the outside--84 hours! OK, we had a friend with us to share watches. We were ready! A good friend of ours, a licensed Captain had told us, "Anyone who says he hasn't gone aground hasn't gone anywhere!" or something to that effect. Well, we believed him, but hoped we could break the record. It was warm for the 26th of December and the sun was shining. We didn't have a chartplotter but we did have a handheld GPS interfaced with Maptech charts on the laptop. Of course, we didn't have the laptop turned on! I figured we'd turn it on when we got close to Beaufort. How can you go wrong in what was essentially a canal a few hundred feet wide. Besides, the channel is marked with buoys, right? Everything was hunky dory. Just stay in the middle. Forty five minutes into the trip I decided it was time to turn on the laptop so we could find our way around Beaufort. "Here, Sweetie, take the wheel." "OK, what do I do?" "Just stay in the middle and follow the buoys." "I don't see any buoys!" "Just stay in the middle." Well, just north of Beaufort, the waterway widens quite a bit and there is a long distance between buoys. Of course, the channel is close to the Western shore and not in the middle. Forty-five minutes into our great adventure and we are hard aground! Fortunately, on the good advice of a friend, we had Towboat US. Pulling us free was a snap and the Towboat US captain led us all the way to Beaufort and gave us good instructions to get us headed toward Morehead City and points south. I wish I could say that that was the last time we ran aground, but, alas, any sailor knows the truth.
I have found with a good autopilot following a course under power is so much easier especially when working to sail between bouys, simply watch the bouys and being able to adjust in 1 degree increments means you can rely more on navigating than steering. Of course anything narrow you need to take the helm, but when you have miles to go . . .
Great post! I am glad everyone was ok. Did your stomach tighten up when you heard, "I don't see any bouys"?
I heard a similar story where the channel veered off, the captain stayed in the middle of the channel not realizing and then they came to a complete stop. They too had just picked up a new boat, but they weren't able to bring home their new toy. They ended up in the hospital with numerous injuries, stitches and soon after plastic surgery. Did you make it to the Bahamas?