SeaKnots

HELP SAVE OTHERS, By sharing tales of YOUR DUMB MISTAKES

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.

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Big mistakes? Like not keeping an eye on your anchor rode and getting it wrapped around your prop shaft while trying to set the hook? Then failing to put a float on the rode to help you find the $300 of ground tackle prior to cutting it loose? Then spending the next 2 1/2 hours on a backup anchor diving under the boat cutting the rode off the shaft. All the time fighting power boat wakes and a fairly good rip tide. Nope I don't have any stories like that to tell. I can tell you I never anchor any more without full view of the rode. I also don't pick piss poor spots to anchor when we decide a little impromptu liason in the cabin is in order.
Mike
Mike , Thanks for your input. I spent about six weeks in your area,in early 07, Lessons at J-World Annapolis and then on the East Shore, Spent five days and nights on the Bay. Worton Creek, Rock Hall, St. Michaels. Really a great sailing area, Cleaner water than here in Iowa on the Mississippi River
Gary, I saw the picture of you hanging on a ball in Annapolis. It's always a great place to visit. Worton Creek is one of our favorite anchorages. We drop the hook just outside the creek opposite the red mark. It provides one of the best vantage points on the northern bay for sunsets.
Mike
Gary,

I read your story and started to snicker, not at you, but with you. I think there are 2 types of sailors, those sailors who run aground, and those that WILL. My story happened in the early 80's, probally not applicable today as most of us use chartplotters. Meg and I purchased our first sailboat with a REAL cabin, lol, a 1972 21 foot venture. It was the first night spent on our (new to my Wife and I) 1972 venture 21. We set out at dusk with a pre cooked meal for dinner, and to spend our first night on a boat. The venture was the first boat we owned that had a table to eat at and a bunk to sleep in (wow).

By the time we were out in the bay, it was total blackness, no moon, not even sure exactly where we were (long before gps, did not have a loran either). This was a very basic boat, not even a depth finder. I tossed out an anchor and the rode ran for a while, so I guessed we were in plenty of water.

We sat down in our tiny little comfy dinette and enjoyed our first meal on a boat. The noise of waves lapping the hull lulled us to sleep. I awoke around 6:00 AM and noticed the boat was not rocking, and waves were not a lapping. Slid open the companion way hatch, and was not prepared for what I was about to see. The boat was high and dry, the anchor rode was completely visible right up to the anchor that was smartly dug into the mud. We were around 200 feet from any water. We were both glad we cranked up the center board before we retired (not sure if it would have retracted on it's own).

Clammers were driving by, laughing and enjoying the moment, we were not however. Nothing to do but wait for the tide to come up. I made 1 big mistake. It looked so ridiculous seeing the anchor and rode, so I pulled it and stowed the anchor.

As the tide came in it just kept pushing us further up on the sandbar, and could not float her off. Tossed out the anchor reset it and waited for more water to come, finally a couple hours we were afloat again and sailed off the bar.

Take Care,
Louie and Meg
Louie, I'm one of the sailors that has run aground, many times. I have this habit of doing so on the first day I own a boat. So far I'm 3 for 4. Nothing like getting a feel for her the first day out :) Actually all unique and different circumstances but happened just the same.
Mike
I've heard there are actually 3 kinds of sailors! Those that have run aground, those that are about to run aground and those that are liars! Lol!
The first story that comes to mind, complete with charts, is here: http://skolnick.org/wp/?p=120 .

I've since come up with a nice little rig to save my back while using a 55# anchor as a kedge...
Dave; I spent two nights in Swan Creek and also several in Worton Creek. The boat I purchased was at Worton Creek Marina. Very nice people there at the marina and actually all along the East Shore. Had a great time while there. I enjoyed your story of your adventure on Swan Creek. Smoothe sailin,
Thanks Gary,

I am intrigued by the description of your voyage home. Sounds like a great adventure.

I've had generally great experiences everywhere on the Chesapeake, on both shores.

sail fast, dave
S/V Auspicious
On my first single trip, by no wind I decided to start the engine.
Giving power, the cable from the accelerator torr.
No luck, because entering an marina under sails is forbidden in the Adriatic sea.
After the shock, I entered the port by running down to the engine, giving full power manually on the engine, running up again and tried to keep the right direction. Believe me, it is hard to park in a small box by this technique.
Next time, when something like this is happening, I'll try the same by pulling the boat by the Dingi becase I am sure that this is more stress less.
Wow, you're a better man than I am. Not sure Iw ould have tried that trick.
Mike
I think I would have tried radioing the marina to warn them and coming in under sail, but I wasn't there and don't know the details. Sounds like you had a good handle on things.

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