After reading the blog, "Marooned" by Bob Manning, and taking note of deploying the swim ladder upon anchoring, I was reminded of a article that I used to read in Flying Magazine, in my other life as a flight instructor, called "I learned about flying from that", Along that line, I will share one of my mistakes that may save someone else money.
I was returning to Iowa in a sailboat that I had purchased in Chestertown, Md, We were motor sailing up the Detroit River, wing on wing, with gusty wind almost directlly aft. Both the main and jib were full out and I had a stopper on the main, which ment it would take some distance to get stopped or turn around.
I noticed that we were being overtaken by a large tanker and in order to give him as much room as possible, I opted to go to the outside of the channel marker, It appeared as if there were miles of water in that direction and that tanker looked so big.....Very soon I could see a sand bar between me and the channel , by the time it took to start a U turn we were aground.. In Canada, I determined later, After trying unsucessfully to motor back off, I put in a call to the Coast Guard for an assist..
They are very helpful, but after determing that I was in no immedate danger they put out a call for anyone to assist me. TOW BOAT US, answered my call and while waiting for them I notice that the waves, which were about three feet high were hitting the port side of the boat and had apparently washed the sand out from under the boat and it was slowley moving back towards the channel. Brainstorm...Fire up the engine and help. A short burst of throttle and the boat moved forward about ten feet an promptly fell off on the port side with the waves nearly coming over the rail.
Everything, on the starboard side of the cabin, pots,pans suitcases,books, fell to the sole with a large clatter. At that point, I looked up to see another large ship passing up the river leaving at least a four to five foot wake ,Looked Really Big, Waves heading right for our port side. As soon as the first wave hit it came right into the cockpit, but partially uprighted the boat which was then hit by the second wave which knocked the boat to full starboard side down, Everthing stored on the port side the clattered to the sole. The next wave hit and the boat righted itself. I quietly shut the engine down and waited for the tow boat.
Lessons Learned. #1. Never sail on the wrong side of a channel marker, #2, If you are going to go aground, Buy the Towboat US insurance ahead of time. My tow only came to $550.00, But they are equiped to take your credit card. I hope someone will learn from my big mistake.