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Any good almost disaster stories? #227770
06/10/2020 07:34 PM
06/10/2020 07:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,034
Charlotte, NC
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NCSailor Offline OP
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NCSailor  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,034
Charlotte, NC
Come on folks. Travel is shutdown but can’t we talk about something more interesting than meat?

I once had a boat break off the mooring at Setting Point. We were gone all day. Came back in the dinghy at 10pm and it was gone. Slept on the beach. Sunrise searched the anchorage. No boat. Then miles off in the distance we saw a mast. We buzzed out and the closer we got the more sure it looked like our boat. Well it was! The pennant sheared in half. We picked up a few fish traps but somehow did not hit the reef. I dove and cleared the fish traps. Got back on the boat for a 7am beer. Beam reach to JVD!

BVI Sponsors
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227771
06/10/2020 07:54 PM
06/10/2020 07:54 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,328
New Jersey, USA
DanS Offline
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DanS  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,328
New Jersey, USA
Nothing quite so dramatic. One time we were docked at the Bitter End, and dinghied over to the Fat Virgin. While we were there a pouring rain started, and of course we had left the hatches open.

I jumped in the dinghy, leaving my 3 companions to enjoy their lunch, and buzzed back to BEYC. Tried to strike a balance between getting there quickly and not being one of those jerks flying around too fast in a dinghy.

Tied up at the dinghy dock and ran to the boat. Arrived huffing and puffing, and ran around closing the hatches. I was in too much of a hurry, and caught a finger in one of the hatches, giving myself a nice gash.

As I said, not so dramatic, but it's all I got. grin

Dan cheers

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227775
06/10/2020 08:25 PM
06/10/2020 08:25 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 718
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Cleobeach Offline
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Cleobeach  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 718
So not a distaste story but an on the water story thru a child’s eye...... years back we were on a crewed motor charter in the USVIs and a friends hat blew off. The captain turned the boat around to find it, it was a logo hat from our company, but it was lost to the sea. Our son, who was 5 years old at the time, was SO concerned that it was in the ocean and kept revisiting the incident for a couple of years. I assured him it was an accident and a cotton hat wouldn’t last long in salt water.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: DanS] #227776
06/10/2020 08:39 PM
06/10/2020 08:39 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,690
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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GeorgeC1  Online Content
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,690
GA/NC
Clouds in the BVI have open hatch sensors. They can spin up from friendly puffy white clouds to full blown rain showers in minutes when they detect a open hatch. Some of the smarter clouds will hide behind ridge lines and once they have enticed you to leave the hatches open jump the ridge line and start pouring down rain even though all you saw were clear blue skies!
G

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227780
06/10/2020 10:40 PM
06/10/2020 10:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 659
Houston, Texas
louismcc Offline
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louismcc  Offline
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Posts: 659
Houston, Texas
Well there was the time I left my wife and sister-in-law on the dock at Leverick. We were travelling with our 2 young sons and needed to get water. It was about noon so there wasn't anyone on the docks. Not a problem. I explained to the s-in-l that I'd pull up close to the dock, she would step off, take the stern line and wrap it around a cleat. I didn't need it pretty, just wrap it well enough so it would hold until we got settled in. Told my wife to step off and secure a midships line to another cleat after the stern was secure.

So we head into the dock, both ladies step off but instead of wrapping, my s-in-l decided to just hold the line. Wind started blowing the bow off (in a mono) so my wife couldn't get her midships line secure. I'm shouting, I mean asking nicely, for my s-in-l to wrap the damn line but she doesn't. Finally told both of them to let go that they would be swimming soon since the wind had pushed the bow way off the dock. With an unsecured stern line there was no way I could pivot the bow back towards the dock.

So there I am, motoring off with my two young sons leaving 2/3 of my adult crew on the dock waving at us. We tooled around a bit while I gave them instructions in how to toss a line. My wife meanwhile went up the dock, got help, and we easily got secured on the next pass.

Last edited by louismcc; 06/10/2020 10:44 PM.

Louis from Houston
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227788
06/11/2020 07:34 AM
06/11/2020 07:34 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,213
Saint Thomas, USVI
CaptainJay Offline
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CaptainJay  Offline
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Posts: 1,213
Saint Thomas, USVI
Travel is not shut down. We are open for business in the USVI's. Come see us and create some new non-disaster stories. I try not to repeat most of the disaster stories that I have been privy to over the last twelve years.

Last edited by CaptainJay; 06/11/2020 07:36 AM.
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227791
06/11/2020 08:55 AM
06/11/2020 08:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 749
Middleburg, VA
cwoody Offline
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Posts: 749
Middleburg, VA
Disaster averted?
Sitting on a mooring in Anegada when a newbie came into the mooring field and ran aground (40 something mono). Engine at full speed forward, lots of sand churning up but and no movement.
We dinked over to help them kedge to deeper water. ( Had to explain how to kedge.)
Crew handed us a spare anchor with about 100 ft of road. Right as we dropped the anchor off the dingy, the boat freed itself and shot forward 90 degrees to kedge anchor line.
Crew had not secured his end of the anchor line and it popped right out of his hands and sank. They found a mooring ball and got secured.
We went back to original location. Took a couple of passes dragging our dingy anchor, but we were able to snag the lost anchor and line and return to it owner.
Rewarded with a fresh bottle of Pussers rum for our efforts.


Chuck W.
BVI Pics
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227792
06/11/2020 09:18 AM
06/11/2020 09:18 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 632
MD, USA
polaris Offline
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polaris  Offline
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Posts: 632
MD, USA
Know the difference between a fairy tale and a sailing story? A fairy story starts with "...once upon a time" and a sailing story starts with "...so there we were!"


Polaris
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227793
06/11/2020 09:23 AM
06/11/2020 09:23 AM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 97
Folsom Lake, CA
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Latadjust Offline
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Folsom Lake, CA
On one of our bareboat trips, just turning left out of Road Town to head for Marina Cay the first day, main and genoa set and drawing, the headstay parted at the turnbuckle (pin fell out). Genoa billows out, still drawing, hanging on by a thread, that thread being the furling line. The apparent wind was abaft the beam (barely), this putting forward pressure on the mast. On board were myself, my wife and our 10 year old son. I have Teresa take the helm and bear off some, I get all of us in pfd's, I drop the genoa off the furler and shove it down the fore hatch, use the halysrd as a temp headstay, drop the main and return to port. Somewhat harrowing, didn't want to wear the mast in our laps! The guys at the dock quickly repaired and reset everything and said "Ok, you're all set." By then it was late and we had enough excitement for one day. We headed for the pool.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227797
06/11/2020 09:34 AM
06/11/2020 09:34 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 79
Tampa Bay, Florida
SonOfTheSea Offline
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Posts: 79
Tampa Bay, Florida
So there we were, in Deadman’s Bay on an overnight anchor. We had been there all day enjoying the amazing beach and swimming, along with plenty of rum drinks. Around 3am, a windy storm was upon us and we got up to close hatches and realized we were dragging anchor. We were slowly moving towards two other boats behind us and had to pull the anchor up and try to reposition the boat in almost total darkness with wind and a heavy downpour. After some time trying to avoid other boats and figure out where to attempt to anchor, the storm finally passed and we began to see sunlight peeking over the horizon. We changed plans and just held the boat steady another half hour before having enough daylight to motor out and on to the Baths. Having almost no sleep and still half drunk (I wasn’t driving the boat fyi), I got seasick the entire way to the Baths. I remember kissing the ground after swimming for my life from the dinghy line to get to shore!

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: Latadjust] #227800
06/11/2020 10:49 AM
06/11/2020 10:49 AM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,328
New Jersey, USA
DanS Offline
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DanS  Offline
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New Jersey, USA
Quote
I have Teresa take the helm and bear off some, I get all of us in pfd's, I drop the genoa off the furler and shove it down the fore hatch, use the halyard as a temp headstay, drop the main and return to port.


Love the temp headstay. Awesome improvisation!

Dan cheers

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227810
06/11/2020 12:43 PM
06/11/2020 12:43 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 59
Los Gatos, CA
KevinM Offline
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KevinM  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 59
Los Gatos, CA
As a Moorings crew in the late 80s, we were required to monitor the VHF at all times in order to assist any
Moorings bareboaters. One evening, our Morgan 60' schooner (who remembers those?) 'Flying Ginny V' was on a mooring at
Cooper Island. Our charter guests were ashore having dinner, and the first mate and I were relaxing onboard, sundowners in-hand.

We saw a Go Vacations boat (who remembers THOSE?) come in and attempt to anchor in the fading light.
Of course they had trouble getting the hook set in the grass at Manchioneel Bay, and dragged their anchor
back and forth among other boats who'd anchored outside the mooring field.

While finishing our sundowners we hear this conversation on VHF:

Go Vacations #9: (Go Vacation boats had numbers, not names) Go Vacations base, this is Go Vacations #9. We can't
get our anchor to hold. We are at Cooper Island.

Go Vacations Base: You not allowed to anchor at Cooper Island. Remember your chart briefing. Please go find a mooring.

GoVac #9: There are no moorings left and the anchor won't hold. We want to come back
to the base. [ Go Vacations was based in Maya cove, across the Channel]

GoVac Base: It'll be dark soon. Leave immediately. Do not attempt to enter Maya cove at night,
We'll meet you off the entrance and guide you in.

With that, Go Vacations #9 motored off in the fading light. 30 minutes later we hear a ladies voice:

GoVac #9: Go vacation base! Go vacations base! There is a boat following us!

GoVac Base: Is he trying to board you?

GoVac #9: No, but he's been following us...real close behind us!

GoVac Base: OK, just keep going. We have your lights in sight.

<a few minutes later>

GoVac #9: Our boat won't move! It's just stopped!

GoVac Base: What do you mean "it stopped"? <much concern in is voice>

GoVac #9: The engine is on but the boat won't move.

GoVac Base: We are coming out to you! The chase boat is leaving now.

And that's all we heard...until the next morning. At 0800 we hear on the Moorings channel:

"Moorings, Moorings. This is Go Vacations Base."

<I'm thinking: Why would Go vacations base ever call the Moorings base?>

Moorings Base: <puzzled> GoVac base this is the Moorings. What can we do for you?

GoVac Base: It seems one of our charterers accidentally towed in one of your boats last night.

Moorings base: Say again...?

GoVac Base: It seems they snagged your charter's anchor lines. We have your boat here at Maya cove.

Moorings Base: ???!!! Umm. Yeah, call us on the phone!

The base later told me that the towed boat's anchor that was hanging down 30' had snagged the
bottom outside Maya Cove, stopping both boats dead in the water until the GV chase boat arrived to sort things out!

Later in the week we had our own "incident" with Go Vacations #9 at Bitter End. But that's another story!


Leaopard 47 Cat - Magic Carpet
Got the sun on my shoulders, and my toes in the sand...
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227813
06/11/2020 12:53 PM
06/11/2020 12:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 665
Washington DC
B
bailau Online content
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Posts: 665
Washington DC
That gets my vote...

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: KevinM] #227814
06/11/2020 01:00 PM
06/11/2020 01:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 257
California
Sunnykm Offline
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Sunnykm  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 257
California
Kevin, please give us the Bitter End story!

BTW "Got the sun on my shoulders, and my toes in the sand...woman left for some other man" eeek!

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: KevinM] #227815
06/11/2020 01:03 PM
06/11/2020 01:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 333
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Offline
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MrEZgoin  Offline
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Posts: 333
Redmond, WA
Originally Posted by KevinM
As a Moorings crew in the late 80s...


This has to be true because nobody could make such a thing up.

Originally Posted by KevinM

..Later in the week we had our own "incident" with Go Vacations #9 at Bitter End. But that's another story!


Do tell!


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227817
06/11/2020 01:41 PM
06/11/2020 01:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 41
Lindenhurst, NY
DavidS Offline
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DavidS  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 41
Lindenhurst, NY
Funny stuff; can't wait for more!


Dave Swenson
S/V Priscilla
60' Gaff Rigged 1888 Oyster Sloop
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227818
06/11/2020 01:41 PM
06/11/2020 01:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 57
Hillsborough, NC
OceanSong Offline
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OceanSong  Offline
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Posts: 57
Hillsborough, NC
August 2, 2019, me, my wife, and a family of four (parents with son 13 and daughter 11) left the Necker Island anchorage early afternoon heading to Anegada. We had checked the weather forecast the day before, earlier in the morning, and during lunch - all looked good. Just north of Necker we had full sail up on a nice beam reach in calm water making 7 - 8 knots. Less than 4nm from the entrance to Anegada we noticed some weather moving in from the east, but on radar it didn't look big. We thought we could get into Anegada before it hit. Very quickly we realized we should slow down, let it pass, and then head into the channel. We reefed down and slowed to a crawl. Then we realized another squall line was also moving in on Anegada. In less than 20 minutes we had sustained winds at 42+ knots and dozens of gusts in the 45 - 48 knot range with pouring rain, fog, and visibility of less than 80 feet. We saw a couple of gusts at 52 knots. We were getting very close to the first set of markers at the channel entrance and the seas were pretty settled, but started building quickly. We waited about 30 minutes, checked the radar and weather, then heard radio traffic of boats having trouble. We knew we couldn't stay there and headed back toward Virgin Gorda. We had seas up to 10 feet (maybe 12), driving rain, fog, and sustained winds between 35 - 42 knots for almost three more hours. The family had NO sailing experience, save the two days they had been with us. The kids had never been on a recreational boat before - never.

The family stayed in the salon and me and my wife managed the boat. We checked on them several times - doing OK. About midway through the storm, I told my wife I was worried someone might be getting very sick and perhaps very frightened. My wife took the helm and I went into the salon (42' catamaran) to assure them everything was going to be OK and we were safe, even if uncomfortable. I stepped into the salon and the kids were playing cards, the mom was listening to a podcast, and the dad was making coffee! When I asked if everyone was doing OK, I got thumbs up and the dad asked if he could bring us some hot coffee. When he stepped up to the helm station he said "wow, it looks rough out here, you guys should drink your coffee inside." We made it into North Sound and picked up a mooring ball at Leverick with sustained winds of 30+ knots in the dark. My wife and I were very tired. In no time, the wind had died down, we saw thousands of stars come out and the kids told me it had all been fun! I asked if they were frightened at any point. Their reply, "no, were you?"

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227823
06/11/2020 02:30 PM
06/11/2020 02:30 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 97
Folsom Lake, CA
L
Latadjust Offline
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Latadjust  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 97
Folsom Lake, CA
What a great thread!

And not one has started with "This is no s***,...." When you hear that at the beginning of a sea story, listener beware!

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227829
06/11/2020 03:22 PM
06/11/2020 03:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 50
R
Rush Offline
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 50
Not nearly as harrowing as many of these stories, but I learned several lessons in a short period of time on our second trip bareboating. My wife and I were proud of ourselves as we hosted a large crew and the week had been flawless – this was our last day. On our way from Jost to Norman, the typical rougher sail picked up as we entered the SFD. The dinghy was raised on our Moorings Cat, but I had not tightly secured it and it was swinging a decent amount. It nailed the corner of the grill and deflated – while stupid of me, no big deal, the Moorings folks met us at the Caves and quickly swapped it out for us.

We were then all excited to go for a swim and visit the caves. After jumping in and swimming halfway to the caves, we all got attached by sea lice, so immediately went back to the boat, feeling a little uncomfortable. We decided we need to head straight to Pirates Bight for drinks.

We got everyone aboard and started the engines, and I went back to raise the dinghy. I did a poor job of communicating and found that we were off the mooring ball before I could raise the dinghy fully. My wife was at the helm and the boat was moving slowly, but started to drift closer to the reefs near the end of Treasure Point. So then I communicated clearly and told her to give it throttle and get away from the reef. As she did the dinghy flipped a little, losing its contents, including our gas container that is holding on by the line. She stops as best she can and I dive in to save the fuel container. But of course with the momentum of the boat and me swimming with one hand and one on the fuel, it took me a while to get it in and I looked like an idiot. To make matters worse, my 13 year old daughter filmed me, which gave everyone else a laugh later, but I made her swear not to post on social media.

We recovered most of the lost contents in the dinghy and proceeded to a mooring ball. As we were slowing down, my wife was having issues controlling it and told me to take a look. We had failed to start the starboard engine which is what cause the “drifting” issues to begin with. Started it, grabbed a ball, repaired the torn fuel line, and on to happy hour a little more humble than I felt 2 hours before.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: SonOfTheSea] #227834
06/11/2020 07:11 PM
06/11/2020 07:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 494
OU Sooner
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ggffrr11 Offline
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OU Sooner
We were on a mooring ball (51' sloop) early one morning, years ago, at Cooper. One of the newbies got up and decided to start the engine to charge the batteries. It started and he slipped it into forward. The boat jump forward and started going in circles with the bow tied to the mooring ball pennant. By the time we shut it down, we had made "several 360's". There was a man standing in the cockpit of his sail boat next to us who said in a deep British accent: "You're going in circles!"

Last edited by ggffrr11; 06/11/2020 07:14 PM.
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227849
06/12/2020 08:37 AM
06/12/2020 08:37 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 632
MD, USA
polaris Offline
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polaris  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 632
MD, USA
Mike Beswick, waiting for you to post the story behind "Unchain My Yacht!"


Polaris
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: polaris] #227864
06/12/2020 10:59 AM
06/12/2020 10:59 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 198
SF Bay Area
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OneEyedJack Offline
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OneEyedJack  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 198
SF Bay Area
Bareboat charter in Maine with a couple we have sailed with many times. We were joined by two other boats. Maine has three hazards; lobster traps, fog and rocks. I took an introductory RADAR class on San Francisco Bay in anticipation of having to use it in the summer fog of Maine. When we boarded our boat, the dock hand told us to treat it well as they had just put about $20K into repairing the bottom and keel. All was going well for several days and we had some beautiful sailing in a gorgeous area. Lobsters could be bought for $5.00 each at marinas and cooked on your boat. One day I asked the male member of our sailing crew if he would like to do the navigation for the day to give him more experience. He agreed and set about reading the chart and putting waypoints into a handheld GPS. Where we were the weather was settled, but with intermittent fog rolling through.

The two other boats decided to visit a local boat building museum in which we were not interested, so we decided to meet them at our next anchorage. The fog wasn't too thick so I decided to shove off. We were motoring following the GPS waypoints and using the RADAR when the fog got very thick. We slowed the boat to about 3 kts. while dutifully following the GPS. We hear the faint sound of a bell then BANG!!! The boat came to a full stop within about 5 feet - we had grounded! The force of the quick stop threw some of the crew around. I was below and I thought we were going to sink for sure. We could see a day marker on a cliff nearby. My panic got me on the VHF to call in a "May Day" although I could not see any water coming into the boat. The Coast Guard answered back within seconds and asked about our situation and position. I explained and gave them our Lat/Lon. We were not stuck, so I maneuvered the boat into clearer water and orbited around a buoy that appeared out of the fog while the CG sent a boat to check on us.

While this was going on, our companions on the other two boats where returning to their boats after the museum tour and heard the VHF traffic using our boat name. They got going and started to motor to our position. One of the boats had a chart plotter. It took our companions about fifteen minutes to get to us. We told the CG that we would now travel together to our next anchorage following the boat with the chart plotter. The CG checked in with us via cell phone every fifteen minutes until we were safely at anchorage. I had the duty to radio our charter base to tell them what happened. The wanted us back the next morning to check the boat as it was to be chartered the next day. We motored in company back to the base where a diver was waiting for us. He reported that the keel was banged up, but without serious damage. The hull behind the mast step was pushed up a bit, however, but not leaking. We had left them a $750.00 cash damage deposit and we were certain we would never see that money again. The charter company said they would make the repairs and send us any deposit funds that were unused.

What we learned:
1. Always double check waypoint data. It turned out that my crew had entered the exact position of the rock and we motored right to it.
2. Always put a course line on the paper chart. Had we done this, the error in 1 would have been discovered.
3. As skipper, I was responsible for 1 and 2 above but did not do it.
4. Without water coming into the boat, I should have called a "Pan-Pan" instead of "May Day".
5. When there is an accident where people are frightened, expect them to not follow commands. The other couple had blank looks on their faces and were non-responsive.
6. A chart plotter is a very valuable piece of navigation equipment.

How did it end? About a month after our charter end, I received a check for $350.00 from the charter company - UNBELIEVABLE! The charter company was very honest.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227868
06/12/2020 11:11 AM
06/12/2020 11:11 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 442
Charlotte, NC
DEL Offline
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DEL  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 442
Charlotte, NC
A quickie from the 70's. We were sailing on a Moorings mono (either a Pearson 35 or Out Island 41) down the channel from the North Sound when a nasty squall came up and caused us to turn on the engine and douse the sails. As we approached Marina Cay, the storm subsided, but we lost power. So we raised our sails again and tacked around the reef to get behind Marina Cay. Despite very limited experience anchoring while under sail, we successfully anchored at Marina Cay for the night. We called the Moorings and they came out the next morning and discovered the propeller shaft had slipped out enough to lose power. Had it not been for a burr on the shaft, it would have come all the way out and they told us we would have sunk. This story always comes back to my mind whenever we hit a storm.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227884
06/12/2020 01:14 PM
06/12/2020 01:14 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16,197
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Manpot Offline
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Manpot  Offline
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Posts: 16,197
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
I'll let Mike respond to "Unchain my Yacht"....that was something!!

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227888
06/12/2020 01:52 PM
06/12/2020 01:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,690
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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GeorgeC1  Online Content
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About 7 or 8 years ago we were moored off Great dog at sunset getting ready for a night dive. Just as it’s almost completely dark a mono pulls in next to us with a couple on board. He waves to get my attention and asks if this is Marina Key and where is the restaurant as they have a 7 pm reservation! He said his chart plotter was inop. I swam over to his boat to show him on the chart where he needed to go. He showed me that the chart plotter would not power up by repeatedly punching the power button. I said push and hold it and amazingly it came right on! He still had no real idea of how to use it. I suggested he wait until we finished our dive and follow us over to Marina Key. He said he was fine now and left. He was not at Marina Key when we arrived later. No idea where he ended up!

At Sandy Isle one day a Moorings 51 power cat pulled up along side us in about 10 feet of water. They proceeded to drop about 12 feet of chain to anchor and jumped in the dinghy to head ashore. 30 minutes later the boat had dragged and the anchor was straight down as it drifted into deeper water. Looked for the crew but they were not on the beach. They were inland on the trail. Woke up a napping crew member who is very large and was not happy to have his nap interrupted. We jumped In our dinghy to retrieve the errant power cat which was now drifting freely a quarter of a mile away. We motored it’s back to Sandy Isle and as we were anchoring it the skipper showed up on the beach screaming his head off at us. Jumped in his dinghy and raced out still screaming at us. My large friend finished getting his anchor set and walked to the back as the skipper was tying off still yelling something about theft. My large friend calmly said, “Sir call me a thief one more time and you will be able to use the handicap facilities for the rest of your charter!”. To the skippers credit 20 minutes later he sent his wife over to our boat with a bottle of rum. I guess he was afraid to come himself!

I won’t tell the story about the WillyT and the married wives all off Toyota’s corporate yacht. It can’t be published without severe censorship!
G

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 06/12/2020 02:02 PM.
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227889
06/12/2020 02:15 PM
06/12/2020 02:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,328
New Jersey, USA
DanS Offline
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New Jersey, USA
All these stories make me think of some words I like very much from Cap'n Fatty Goodlander:

Quote
It is your fault, the captain’s at fault for everything that goes wrong.

Everything!

Sailors pack their own parachutes, so to speak.

If you are hit by a meteor from outer space, well, as far as I’m concerned, you should have been looking up, pal.

There are no excuses. Everything falls upon the skipper’s shoulders. Every. Single. Thing.


From his book, "How to Inexpensively and Safely Buy, Outfit, and Sail a Small Vessel Around the World".

Dan cheers

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227894
06/12/2020 03:48 PM
06/12/2020 03:48 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 59
Los Gatos, CA
KevinM Offline
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The rest of the Go Vacations #9 story:

As I posted in the earlier, this takes place in the late 80's when the First Mate (ONLY mate, as she always reminds me!) were working as a Moorings crew on a Morgan 60 schooner.

2 days later we were on a mooring at the Bitter End. We had picked up a mooring closer to Kilbride's in order to get some breeze coming through the cut between Saba Rock and Bitter End on this calm evening. The first mate preparing for dinner and our charter guests were enjoying boat drinks, watching the sunset behind Mosquito Island. As I was getting the BBQ going, I noticed a boat come motoring up the Sound. A little late for anyone be arriving, I thought to myself...wait, could it be?

Yes, it's Go Vacations #9!

They motor around a bit, finally deciding to pick up the mooring directly in front of us. But that one didn't have a
pennant attached. It probably had been removed by the BE staff since the mooring was out of position and fairly
close to ours. But the crew somehow manage to get a line tied to the mooring ball, and GoVac #9 settles back,
with its stern a boat length ahead our bow.

I should have said something right then, but as the breeze was light and steady I didn't think it'd be a problem.
Plus I didn't want to add to their stress levels given the misadventures described earlier in this thread. After dinner,
drinks and pleasant conversation our charter guests and us retired early, having spent the the day beating up to
North Sound from Marina Cay, and enjoying the amenities at the Bitter End.

Sometime after midnight, I hear a strange noise... it's not loud, but I get up to check things out, and mostly to see
where GoVac #9 is sitting. Coming on deck, I'm shocked to see their boat has slid back about 25'.

The stern and cockpit of GoVac #9 are *underneath* Flying Ginny's bowsprit!

The breeze is light, and boats are not pitching, so no need to panic...but something has to be done.
I grab their backstay and push it away from our sprit (that was the noise). Well, I guess I gotta get them up.

Now, the Morgan 60 schooner has a 5' or so bowsprit and platform. Standing on the end of our sprit,
I'm 10' above the water but right over GoVac's cockpit. I'm looking directly at the companionway hatch
and down into their darkened main cabin.

"Ahoy, Go Vacations #9!, anybody up?". No response. The crew is fast asleep, of course.
Again: "Ahoy GoVac #9!". After a bit I see the face of a young women appear in their companionway.

She rubs the sleep out of her eyes. She sees me. She screams.

"Eeeeek! Harry! Harry get up! Eeeek! There's a man on our boat!"

"No ma'am, it's OK. I'm on my boat and you've drifted into me", using the most comforting voice I can muster.

She disappears below, still screaming for Harry to get up.

"Hmmm, this not going well", I groan.

A few second later, Harry appears, blinking, in their companionway.
"Evenin' skipper," I greet, "seems we have a bit of a problem here."

Harry looks around, and sizing up the situation exclaims "You've dragged into us!"

"I don't usually drag upwind", I respond tartly.

I explained that the reason their mooring had the pennant removed was that Bitter End didn't want people to use it,
it likely had a problem and their mooring was dragging downwind and down current.

"What can do I do now? It's dark and besides, all the moorings are full."

"I can find one for you and help you get tied up."

So I jumped in the dinghy with a flashlight, crept through the mooring field at zero-dark-thirty, found an unoccupied
mooring way over by Biras Creek and came back. I led GoVac #9 over to it and handed the mooring pennant up to
arry on the bow.

After securing the mooring lines, Harry says to me "Thanks for helping us out."

Then he adds in a whisper: "It's kinda been a rough trip."

"No problem, glad to help. By the way, how long are you guys out for?"

"This is our last night..."

And from below, his lady yells, "THANK GOD! We are never doing this again!"


Well, that's not so much an 'almost disaster' story, I guess. Just one of the tales from the best job the First Mate and I ever had.

Last edited by KevinM; 06/12/2020 03:54 PM.

Leaopard 47 Cat - Magic Carpet
Got the sun on my shoulders, and my toes in the sand...
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227903
06/12/2020 06:51 PM
06/12/2020 06:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 333
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Offline
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Redmond, WA
7 years ago on a charter out of Raiatea, we were approaching the Bora Bora yacht club and an employee dinghied out to help us hook up. I was at the helm, so didn't see this but reconstructed from what my son later told me:

The Leopard 40 was set up with a bridle and a large snap hook. The mooring pendant was of very thick rope and the gate of the snap hook would not open wide enough to pass the this rope through, so the chap from the yacht club passed the snap hook through the eye of the pendant and clipped it back to the bridle rope. Tension pulled the connection below the surface, so I never saw what he had done.

The next morning, I found the snap hook, gate open, with just the tip hooked precariously on the strands of the eye of the mooring pendant. Being side-loaded, it had unclipped itself from the bridle and on it's way through and out of the eye it had caught on the mooring rope, that tenuous connection being the only thing that kept us from going adrift during the night.


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227910
06/12/2020 09:40 PM
06/12/2020 09:40 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,206
Somewhere out there
kneafseym Offline
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Somewhere out there
20+ years running charters and deliveries in the Caribbean I could drink free forever telling stories. There is always another story that would be impossible to make up. Bottom line we all were novices at some point and took our first charter. It is important to remember where we came from, so you can help others.


Mike
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: Manpot] #227915
06/13/2020 02:50 AM
06/13/2020 02:50 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,753
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Jeannius  Offline
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Originally Posted by Manpot
I'll let Mike respond to "Unchain my Yacht"....that was something!!

I thought you'd tell it better Mal yikes

Last edited by Jeannius; 06/13/2020 02:51 AM.
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227932
06/13/2020 11:32 AM
06/13/2020 11:32 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 198
SF Bay Area
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OneEyedJack Offline
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One more. A group of 4 guys on a 50' Moorings sloop for one of the guy's 40th birthday. The birthday boy and skipper was given the week long charter by his wife - sweet! The plan was to do a one-way from St. Vincent to Grenada. Everything was cool until one night near the end of the voyage when we moored at Union Island. The mooring buoys were all taken a much as we could see, then a boat-boy shows up and fishes a mooring pennant from below the water line. The pennant had an eye at the end through which we ran a 3/4" braded nylon dock line. The line was secured to the port and starboard bow cleats. That evening the trades were particularly stiff. We went to dinner ashore and can back to the boat relatively early to hit the sack. We had the bright idea of slipping our mooring line a few feet in case there was chaffing going on. Well, the wind was strong enough to push the boat against the mooring line hard enough so the line could not be slipped. Oh well, it will be OK. In the meantime the skipper had us prepare an anchor on deck in case we needed to deploy it rapidly. All is well and off to bed for everyone. For some reason we left the VHF on in the main cabin, which likely saved us. About 02:00 we hear the VHF light up with our boat name called out saying we were off our mooring. So now we had four grown men running around the deck in our underwear trying to get control of the boat. From the time we heard the radio transmission to the time we got the engine started we had blown through the mooring field missing five other yachts and out the entrance of the harbor missing the jetty. Were got back into the harbor and anchored in front of a working freighter, figuring we would move when there was some light. We now instituted anchor watches for the rest of the dark hours.

Post mortem is the 3/4" line had chaffed all the way through. We all kind of had the feeling that our mooring situation wasn't particularly satisfactory as evidenced by attempting to check for chaff and preparing the anchor. We could have easily checked the mooring line for chaff had we thought of turning on the motor and motoring up to the pennant to take the strain off. The boat that called us off the mooring was up wind of us and we later learned they were a couple doing a world cruise and they ALWAYS have an anchor watch. Had they not awaken us, we would have found ourselves on the rocks or on our way to South America. We decided to abandon the rest of the voyage since we were all very tired and really not well provisioned at this point. We turned the boat over to a Moorings skipper and flew to Grenada to rest on the beach.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: OneEyedJack] #227938
06/13/2020 12:26 PM
06/13/2020 12:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,887
VI,GA,AZ
sail445 Offline
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Probably the mooring line was barnacle encrusted or it was a steel cable.
Usually the pressure on your line to a pennant prevents any serious chafing.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227939
06/13/2020 12:28 PM
06/13/2020 12:28 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 349
Vail, CO
caribbeangirl13 Offline
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Vail, CO
Oh I have plenty...I'll start with stories from my youth...

I was around 6 and we were bringing our boat, Traumerei (42ft Al Mason sloop), which was also now our home, from Illinois, down the Mississippi. We were tied up to a wharf for the evening when this huge barge came by and the swell it left in its wake knocked Traumerei up against the wharf which in turn knocked open all of our kitchen cabinets. My mom must have seen it coming because she was flying down the companionway stairs to secure the cabinets when glasses started flying everywhere. She was cut pretty badly on her hand which in turn made me start to scream bloody murder. In the end we had a big mess on our hands, glass was banished from the boat (except for 2 rocks glasses for my parent's happy hour drinks) and the cabinets were always secured, even when we were on the dock. A few butterfly bandages later and she was as good as new.

Same trip but we had just exited the Mississippi and were in the Gulf. My parents had hired a local “professional” to help us navigate the buoy system and many sandbars that were in the area. This was long before GPS. It was getting dark and the “professional” that they hired had them going one route and my mom kept looking at the chart, going down below and doing some plotting, coming back up and scanning the horizon when she finally said to my stepdad, “I think we are supposed to be over there.” My stepdad questioned the “professional” and he sloughed it off and said we were fine. A couple minutes later after looking, plotting and scanning again my mom said, “I really think we are supposed to be over there.” At this point the “professional” says to my mom that we are fine and my mom says to Willard (my stepdad), “I really don’t think so.” So my stepdad says to the “professional,” “I’m turning this goddamn boat around and going where my wife thinks we should be. The “professional” then says, “I’ve been sailing these waters my whole life, I know what I’m…” BAM we hit a sandbar so hard I’m surprised none of us went overboard. I was sitting in the companionway and it knocked me down the stairs and onto the cabin sole. Traumerei listed to port so bad that water was pouring over the side and making its way into the cockpit and soaking the cabin. Everyone scrambled to get the sails down, and I was told to get on the radio and call for a mayday. I quickly put the cabin door hatch in and sat on that damn radio calling Mayday for what seemed like hours before the Coastguard finally responded. At that point we realized we were on a sandbar, the tide was continuing to go out, so we were now basically on our side but no water was coming in through the keel and we were relatively safe. The Coastguard informed us they would not be coming because we were not in danger of sinking. My mom argued with them and first said, “I have a 7 year old daughter who I would really like to see turn 8 years old.” So the Coastguard offered to come and get me and my mom off the boat. My mom then said that she couldn’t leave the boat because her husband was blind. The Coastguard then said she should have told them that in the first place and they came out, plucked me off the boat, waited for the tide to rise a bit and towed Traumerei off. Man did I love that Coastguard boat! Hot chocolate with marshmallows, cookies and warm blankets…heaven. We went straight to port and hauled out the boat to check for damaged. Believe it or not there wasn't any. The "professional" all of a sudden had a family emergency that he had to go back home for. Hmmmm.

Now about 7 we were still making our way to the Caribbean but now in Florida. We had hired Chris Doyle to help us on the voyage. It ended up being quite the eventful trip as we had engine issues and some rigging issues so stopped in St. Thomas to get the engine fixed and new rigging. Set out from St. Thomas to Grenada and in the middle of the passage lost our steering. Ended up losing our rudder and had to steer by sail. Chris, my mom and my stepdad ended up making a rudder type steering system that hung over the stern of Traumerei. Once we got close to Grenada we took the sails down and used the engine (it was miraculously working at this point)
and our jury rigged rudder to limp into port. That trip I learned all about how to sew a sail because as many of you know, steering a boat by sail is very sloppy! Chris Doyle wrote a great article about this experience in Captain’s Compass a few years ago. Quite an interesting read. Link to the Chris Doyle article: http://doyleguides.com/the-traumerei-delivery-sailing-without-a-rudder/


I was probably about 10 years old and we were anchored in Charlotte Amalie. Engine was not working (pretty common event on Traumerei) and we were on our way back to Grenada to have it looked at so we were lifting anchor under sail. Main is up, pretty good breeze blowing, oh and I was the windlass as we didn't have a windlass back in those days. I was struggling to get the anchor up so my stepdad, frustrated with me, thinking I'm being a wimp goes at it and he can't get it up. It is off the bottom so we are basically sailing it around the harbor. Obviously, something is wrong so my stepdad tells me to go take the wheel and yells for my mom to come up. I'm freaking out, trying to sail through a crowded anchorage without hitting another boat while they try to get the anchor untangled with whatever is on it. Luckily, our friend Champy saw me at the wheel and mom and dad on deck and came over to lend a hand. It ended up being a huge coral head which Champy managed to get untangled from the anchor.

I have lots more stories but those are for another day.


s/v Ripple

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Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: sail445] #227940
06/13/2020 01:18 PM
06/13/2020 01:18 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 198
SF Bay Area
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OneEyedJack Offline
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OneEyedJack  Offline
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SF Bay Area
Originally Posted by sail445
Probably the mooring line was barnacle encrusted or it was a steel cable.
Usually the pressure on your line to a pennant prevents any serious chafing.


Actually, it was line-on-line. There was enough boat movement to turn the joint into a slow, dull razor blade.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #227950
06/13/2020 05:43 PM
06/13/2020 05:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,034
Charlotte, NC
N
NCSailor Offline OP
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NCSailor  Offline OP
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Charlotte, NC
Love the stories. keep them coming! I have a few more for down the road.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: OneEyedJack] #227960
06/13/2020 08:41 PM
06/13/2020 08:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,690
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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GeorgeC1  Online Content
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Posts: 5,690
GA/NC
This is why you always want to use two lines to tie to a mooring on both monohulls and cats. It insures that no sawing action will occur on the pennant loop.
G

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #228049
06/16/2020 07:52 AM
06/16/2020 07:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 51
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cyclingdoc Offline
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Maybe the crew that lost the boat in Cane Garden Bay a few months ago can add the near disaster story.

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #228051
06/16/2020 08:09 AM
06/16/2020 08:09 AM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 108
Virgin Gorda, BVI
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VirginGordaResident Offline
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Virgin Gorda, BVI
This one isn't related to the islands but is still a good sailing tale nonetheless. And it comes with a video bonus!

Basically though, some friends and I were sailing in Northern Michigan and we swamped a 24' Pearson Ensign. We had to float to shore, radio for help and then be towed back to base... Several broken phones and some scared women later we made it home, got the boat back above the waterline by stuffing children's lifejackets underneath the bench seats, bailed her out and she was good as new with a fresh wash to boot!

Video here: Swamping a 24' Sailboat

Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: NCSailor] #228057
06/16/2020 09:34 AM
06/16/2020 09:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 333
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Offline
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Redmond, WA
My scariest moment in the BVI occurred on our last cruise before Irma. My wife and I were moored at Saba Rock and it was a period of very light winds and calm seas and I was taking advantage by taking my paddleboard for a leisurely paddle around Eustacia sound circling just inside the reef.

There were no waves breaking over the reef, the highest bits of coral were just poking out of the surface on my left as I made my clockwise tour in about 2 feet of water.

At some point I noticed that the reef was no longer visible. I realized that I was crossing the reef cut between the two BEYC buoys.
I immediately turned my head to the right and the blood froze in my veins to see the motorized barge that serviced ONB construction headed almost directly at me, on a course to cross just in front of me.

With no time to ponder the unbelievably bad timing, I had to make a split second decision whether to make a panic 180 turn or speed up and cross ahead of the barge. I quickly chose the latter option ( quite possibly the wrong decision in hindsight ) and as I started paddling furiously the realization sank in that I was now paddling for my life and if I should fall I would be run over, dragged across the flat barnacle-encrusted bottom of the barge and towards the propellers.

Not daring to turn my head to look for fear of upsetting my balance, I kept paddling hard as the roar of the engines grew louder behind me. I was filled with a mixture of horror and relief when the shadow of the vessel passed over me from the low afternoon sun. The engines never slowed and no horn sounded - I don't think anyone on board ever knew I was there.


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Any good almost disaster stories? [Re: MrEZgoin] #228070
06/16/2020 11:41 AM
06/16/2020 11:41 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,287
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
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toast  Offline
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Bucks County, Pa.
that was a scary one indeed!


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
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