Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We ran aground...or rather, a ROCK

Whoo hoo!  Still afloat!

When things go "bump" on a boat it's usually not a good thing. I might go so far as to say it's never a good thing.

It's a really, really bad thing when they go bump, bump, BUMP and your boat lurches forward, then up, then to the side, and then back down again.

For those of you who love the "adventure" (aka us making mistakes) side of our journey, here's another one for the books...

This post is almost hard to write, because we made such a critical mistake, such a naive mistake, such a stupid mistake - that it is actually embarrassing.  What is more sobering than the sheer embarrassment of it all was the possibility that we could have lost our boat.  I mean, we haven't even made it to the Ocean yet!

As you know, we have been traversing the Erie Canal.  Today we actually entered the Mohawk River, which signals the end of the canal and will eventually dump us into the Hudson River.  As I wrote earlier, there has been a tremendous amount of debris in the waterway.  The fact that we are now in a natural river coupled with the torrential rain we saw last night made the debris (logs, trees...etc) that much worse.

Scott was at the helm and we were just enjoying this absolutely gorgeous day and the beautiful scenery the Mohawk River has to offer.  What happened next happened so fast I'm not sure I can describe it accurately or do it any justice.  I was looking down at my computer, loading more photos when all of a sudden the boat came to a lurching stop and listed about 30 degrees to starboard (right).  We had hit something, and this was no log.  Scott starts yelling, "Oh my God, oh my God" and then the boat goes UP...yes UP and then back down to starboard again - this time literally throwing me across the cockpit (I am happy to report both the computer and the camera are fine!).

Then, it was over.  Smooth water.  We had hit something, hard, and gone up and over it.  Insane.

The whole thing lasted maybe 3 or 4 seconds.  And every.single.second was terrifying.

Scott kept saying, "Oh my God, honey...are you okay?  I am so sorry, I am so sorry...are you okay?"

"I'm fine" I told him, heading down below, "I'm going to check the bilges (the areas of the boat where water would go if it got into the boat)".  I was certain we punctured our hull.

Thankfully, they were (and still are) bone dry.  No hole.  Phew.

What had happend was this:  Scott saw a red buoy up ahead (from our direction, you are supposed to pass these buoys to the left side of your boat, right side of the buoy) - to the right of that buoy (where we needed to be) he saw tons of debris....tree trunks, huge branches...etc.  So Scott decided to cut the corner a little to avoid damage to the prop.

In the words of his favorite screen siren, "BIG mistake. BIG.....HUGE."

Instead, we hit a freaking gigantic underwater rock.  The whole thing was totally and utterly surreal. I was physically shaking for at least two hours after the incident while adrenaline surged through my system, and we're still suffering from the "hangover" of doing something so stupid.

In retrospect I am pretty sure we went up and over the cement block that anchors the buoy down, or perhaps there really was a huge submerged rock that we went over?   We'll never know.  But whatever it was, it was solid.  And if we had gone over it in a fin keel boat, we almost certainly would have ripped the keel off.  We were going 6 knots.  How much do we love our full keel boat?  A LOT.

The thought is sickening.

We made a big mistake.  And we're better for it.  I will say this, however: it was the ONE chance Scott has taken.  He knew he was taking a risk, but he had calculated it.  Typically, he is 100% by the book and makes no exceptions.  It absolutely could have been me at the helm.  We are human.

Needless to say, we won't be (knowingly) taking any more navigational chances.  But I'm sure we'll mess up a whole lot more, so don't you fret!  We are learning, and that's the name of the game.

On the plus side - seriously, how gorgeous is where we are tied up right now?!

PS.  We are hauling the boat out when we get our mast stepped.  Rest assured we'll let you know the damage to the hull!


Philippe said...

Wow, I hope the damages (*cross fingers for none*) will be minimal. Now, that 1st pic of the boat docked and the fall foliage, awesome!

Les & Diana said...

Close call! Glad you are ok. As you learn so do we. Bottom line! In rivers and canals buoys need to be kept at a distance. Your assessment that you. Hit the bouy's mooring is the most likely cause of the collision.

Many boats passing through Green Turtle Bay sustained prop damage on the Mississippi or theIllinos. They do a big business lifting boats and changing/repairing props.

Check out today's blog for a prop story related to our visit at the IVY Club. We dodged a bullet - Pure luck!

The fall colors are awesome. We are getting color in KY but nothing matches the colors of the northern hardwoods.

TT said...

Wow, I'm glad nothing worse happened to Rasmus! We did a similar thing this summer in Sardinia, ran over a stone, but this one wasn't on the chart. Luckily it was warm and fresh water so we could dive in to check the damage straight away and luckily there was only one big scratch, not big enough to create a hole through but still big.. Hallberg Rassy's are strong like that and the hull is massively built with plenty of fiberglass layers - I have seen so many boats lately that are half the thickness in the hull so we should be happy to have such strong and reliable boats..

Brett Anderson said...

Watch out for those bumps in the road! They say there are 2 types of sailors: Those who have run aground and those that will. You and I are now of the former type! I'm a bit more careful about shortcuts when I am flying as hitting something going 600 mph hurts a bit more. Glad you two and Rasmus are OK.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Capital Region! Will you be stopping at lock 8 in Rotterdam? The Canalway trail is adjacent to the lock and makes for a good stop to take a walk if you needing to stretch your legs. I drive past every day on my way to work, I will look for you ;)namaste! -Marie

Erick said...

Been there! At least you are lucky enough to not get stuck on said rock. Here was the damage when I rammed into my rock, not too bad and I am glad for my full keel as well:

Matt said...

Brett beat me to the punch, glad the two of you got yours out of the way early and without any major probs other than what probably will only be some scratches. Glad the three of you (Rasmus too) are ok!

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

At least the lesson was learned without being too painful! Glad to hear it wasn't worse. Yes, we are human and we do make mistakes.

Lisa Hanneman said...

Eek! I can imagine Scott's face when it happened. All wide eyed and freaked out... Aww. Glad you're all safe. Miss you like crazy town.

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