Friday, February 20, 2009

Other Boats' Stories

It has now been 8 days since we spent any money. Except for the beer I am buying at the Green Parrot Bar as I write this.

This is article is just for fun.

Reading my last blog the crew of Douce Folie V who have became fast and good friends of the crew of Meredith wrote this:

As sailors, we do understand the fact that you report on problems and difficulties. This is sometimes the only stories we can tell.... Recently, our grandson had been hospitalized for a pneumonia, Andrée's mother too for a heart attack, our condo is taking water by the roof and our dinghy engine died.....
Here in Florida (Hollywood) we are still having cold fronts and windy weather.

Benoit and Andree we hear you. We get cold fronts all the time here in Nassau. But they are warmer here.

The landlubbers just aren't on board. Good luck getting home good friends. We think we will brave Cuba next.


You should talk to the skipper of Freja (not the Freja we started our journey with Ben, a different one). He ran aground in Marsh Harbour on a falling tide. Noting his dilemma (you know the old waterline about 6 inches above the water) we went to console him. He was really in his cups. Another boater tried to help by using his dinghy to pull on a halyard to try to heel Freja over.

Freja's skipper handed the halyard over to the dinhyman and the dinghy took off. Sadly the skipper had not cleated the bitter end of the halyard to anything.

Yup. The halyard pulled right out of the mast. No spares either.


The cake is awarded to the crew of Isla, a Pearson 42 with 7 foot draft and a 65 foot mast. We are not sure what these people are but they are not quitters.

Before getting to Bahamas they hit not one but TWO bridges in Florida with the mast of Isla. Each hit took out the entire masthead works - antennas, anenometers, masthead light, the whole works. Now the only problem here is that each bridge has a scale on it telling the boaters how much clearance is available.

Deciding to only travel only at low tide to avoid further repeats of the bridge ringing Isla then found itself stuck hard aground - in the middle of a bridge which had opened for it. The bridge of course could not close. For a very long time.

We encountered these people when responding to a plea for help. They had been hard aground about 5 miles south of Great Sale Cay. They had run their boat into a huge, I mean enormous, charted HAZARD zone. They were right in the middle of the thing and had missed an entire high tide while waiting for a friend to come to their aid with a trawler to haul them off.

Over the course of an hour we heard that:

  1. They were following friends who had a lot of experience and the friends ran them aground,
  2. The wife who normally watched the depth meter had gone to make supper and no one checked,
  3. The alarm on the depth sounder worked but it did not ring the alarm buzzer loud enough,
  4. The gps had failed and gave wonky readings,
  5. The skipper had left the helm on autopilot while crossing the shallow bank to take some pictures and was no near the instruments or chart when the grounding occurred.
Enroute to give aid as the tide was rising for their second time the following questions were asked and answered (remember we have gained a good deal of experience in being aground):

Have you dumped your water to raise your water line? No. We do not carry any water.

Have you moved all your heavy movables off the boat, eg. chain anchors, clothes, everything? No. It will not do any good.

Have you got your anchor out to kedge off? No. This no was adamant.

Meredith slowed her pace as there was obviously no need to hurry. These were very nice people and we wish them no harm but their whole strategy for getting off was getting a boat with a big enough motor.

Two nights later as we set the hook in Settlement Point off New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay we noticed that Isla was anchored just off our port bow.

We moved.

You will never hear that story about Meredith in these pages. Somebody else's maybe...

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