View Full Version : Curses!

10-19-2002, 02:32 PM
Guess what I did this afternoon - big clue - half an hour after high water on a spring tide.

Right - I put her aground! On soft mud, in a river, but she is pretty firmly "parked" none the less and, whilst the weather is OK now, it is forecast to be vile tomorrow, so I am off down the river at midnight to try to sort it out.

Air temperature 28deg F (-2C). I should really know better.

Dave Fleming
10-19-2002, 02:42 PM
Be Safe out there ACB, lets be very careful, ya folla? ;)

10-19-2002, 02:58 PM
As one of the world's leading cowards, I am having kittens about this plan already. But we have light airs and a full moon.

Joe (SoCal)
10-19-2002, 03:16 PM
The full Moon is gonna be key for you good thing its that time of the month for ya smile.gif

10-19-2002, 03:59 PM
Well at least it landed in a "soft place"

Best of luck

10-19-2002, 04:55 PM
Midnight approaches -- Hope the night tide is high enough to do the trick!

10-19-2002, 05:27 PM
Never, ever sail, motor...move..breath heavy in "uncharted" waters on an out going tide...sit put..don't touch that anchor till the tide is inbound..if you hit, you're only hung up for a few minutes an no one is going to notice... :D ... Live Quote from Pharoah, That Manificent Egyptian Sailor..."SO LET IT BE WRITTEN (in the WBF)..SO LET IT BE DONE". :D

Jack Heinlen
10-19-2002, 05:49 PM
I wager Andrew is just now in the thick of it. Here's hoping for high water for you ACB. Brr. Get a load of the temp. Ah well, rowing a kedge out will warm him up, if it comes to that.


Mr. Know It All
10-19-2002, 11:01 PM
There's a beautiful clear full moon on Lake Erie tonight. Here's hopeing yours is too.
Kevin in Ohio

[ 10-20-2002, 12:03 AM: Message edited by: Mr. Know It All ]

Scott Rosen
10-20-2002, 09:18 AM
The best way to get out of mud is to await the high tide. Then run your main halyard to a motor boat off your beam. Have the motor boat slowly and carefully work away from your beam, causing your boat to heel, lifting your keel out of the mud and decreasing your effective draft. You will have your motor on so you can work your way to deeper water as your keel frees up.

I works like a charm.

10-20-2002, 09:31 AM
Sounds reasonable, Scott. Where did you read about that method?

Andrew, you up yet. How'd it go.


10-20-2002, 12:15 PM
All's well that ends well! In the unlikely event that any other member of this forum is as stupid as I, the following notes may be of interest!

1. If you drive very carefully down an unfamiliar and icy English country by-road at 11.30 pm. a police car is very likely to pull you over for driving so carefully that you must just have left the pub (closing time 11.00 pm!) with a skinful - exotic explanations concerning grounded boats may be met with initial scepticism!

2. If you try to row a dinghy wearing a North Face down jacket under oilskins and a PFD, two consequences arise. Firstly, you practically melt, and secondly you cannot turn your head to look over your shoulder to see where you are going!

3. A coal stove is a very good thing to have on a boat!

The tide was bigger at night (they often are) so she came off easily, using the kedge that I had laid out before leaving her. Not wanting to try conclusions at the top of a spring tide in the dark, I left her lying to the shortened kedge warp, it being very quiet, lit the stove and turned in, then sailed home this morning, before the weather brewed up. Then I had to recover the car - luckily some friends gave me a lift.

Moral - no matter how well you think you know a river estuary, don't let yourself be distracted!

The immediate cause of the grounding was, as usual, trying to cheat the ebb by beating up one side of the channel - just as I decided to go about, her heel caught the mud, and that was that - she lost way going into the tack, her head blew off and she charged the bank.

I seldom go in for expensive modern racing yacht jewellery, but last year I bought a big Lewmar snatch block, which normally sits at the stemhead and takes the boom staysail sheet, for which it is grossly oversized, but which can handle the kedge warp from almost anywhere on the boat - this proved a good investment, as I could lead the warp to the windlass easily.

Jack Heinlen
10-20-2002, 12:34 PM
Ah yes...set the kedge before regrouping, and while it's still daylight! Good thinking!

Fun story ACB!

I especially like the skeptical cop. All you need!... to be detained on a rising tide--a slight looseness in the bowel--and bad weather on the horizon.

The sailing home part sounds first rate also.


Dave Fleming
10-20-2002, 12:41 PM
ACB, all's well that ends well, thank goodness!
Nice hot shower at home a single malt and a nap, perhaps?

10-20-2002, 12:51 PM
Thanks everybody - now off for a long hot bath and, indeed, a single malt! Lucky I have a nice, forgiving, old boat.

The kedge is a 35lb CQR with some half inch chain and 30 fathoms of warp - it lives in chocks on the foredeck with the warp stopped down in a coil on top of it and the dinghy lives upside down on the coachroof, so laying out a kedge can be done quite fast. I understand that there are people who keep a deflated inflatable and their kedge and warp in a cockpit locker - they cannot do the sort of sailing that I do!

Amazing how good recovering from a sailing screwup makes you feel! Still better not to do it in the first place!

Scott Rosen
10-20-2002, 02:02 PM
Glad you made it home okay. It must have been a cozy night on board, with the stove lit and the weather below freezing.

Norm, I learned that trick from a salvage guy. I have had a chance to try it, and it works great. I'm not going to say whether I was on the giving end or the receiving end. ;)

Joe (SoCal)
10-20-2002, 02:55 PM
ACB, it actually sounds like a kinda fun adventure roughing it to save your boat I like I like it more with a coal stove for sure. Had some strange things happen on Friday with the tide in the Hudson. The tide was going out and around Worlds End (The deepest part) by West Point there were a hundred different types of currents. Some were whirlpools big ones and little tiny ones the size of a quarter. There were pools of flat water surrounded by waves, some actual small waves rushing agents the outgoing tide freaky looking stuff. Sailing through this was actually fun my little craft was spun this way and that almost like the tiller was controlled by a spirit. I can see now why there is so much superstition around sailors. I can see that the Hudson has a lot to teach me about how water works. Anyway ACB Im glad you made it back and learned more things Im still learning everytime I go out smile.gif

John B
10-20-2002, 05:33 PM
I remember standing at a boatyard many years ago making the obligatory sniggering sort of comment about someone who had hit the bricks. The man I was talking to was a great singlehanded sailor... phenomenal number of sea miles under him and vast coastal experience. In a very quiet way( unusual for him) he reprimanded me with a comment along the lines of.."he wouldn't have gone aground if he hadn't been out sailing".
Never forgot that.

I had a man in a launch try to get me off the sand by the halyard trick when we first went sailing. he gently applied power until the spreader broke and he bent that mast in half. Amazing just how resiliant spruce is really.It bent like a bow before it went.

10-20-2002, 05:38 PM
Our local marina has a tide sill, and they regularly use the halyard to masthead trick to get people over it - but because they do this all the time they are duly cautious about it.

My sister, when speaking on the phone, just said, "How many years have you been sailing now, Andrew?"

This never happened with the old whirling neon echosounder!

Ian G Wright
10-21-2002, 09:31 AM
I feel for you Andrew,,,,,,,,, and I'm resisting the urge to post a "Places wot I 'av run aground on" thread or to mention that I am the last and final winner of the 'Thirslet Spitoon' an actual running aground prize,,,,,,,
Ruby and sprogs home ok?


10-21-2002, 12:53 PM
The trouble with Great Lakes sailing is when (not if) you go aground there's no tide to help you get free.
"When the distance between your waterline and the bottom of your keel is more than the depth of the water, most assuredly you are aground."

10-21-2002, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by Ian G Wright:
I feel for you Andrew,,,,,,,,, and I'm resisting the urge to post a "Places wot I 'av run aground on" thread or to mention that I am the last and final winner of the 'Thirslet Spitoon' an actual running aground prize,,,,,,,
Ruby and sprogs home ok?

IanWMight make quite a good thread, Ian. I'll start...

Only proper dryings out, after grounding early on the ebb count, of course. Mere scrapings of the bottom followed by getting off do not qualify!

KAY - Cocum hills, Mersea Island, November 1970 (walked ashore in the dark; bad idea!)

ARABIS - Thistlet Spit, July 1972 (fine and warm, but better if I had not done it TWICE, once en route to Heybridge Basin and once on the way back!)

BAROQUE - Barents Island, Spitzbergen, August 1974 (not my boat!)

MYTICA - Walton on Naze; Halliday Rock Flats, October 1975 (that was the nastiest!) immediately under the WFYC club house windows, June 1976, off Flint Island, August 1977,

MYTICA - River Deben - August 1981 under DYC clubhouse windows.

MIRELLE - River Deben, OGA race, July 1991 opposite the Rocks. River Orwell, August 2002, below Suffolk Yacht Harbour. And, er, now.....

Ruby and sprogs back next Saturday, Heathrow, 12.25.

Alan D. Hyde
10-21-2002, 01:55 PM
ACB, I'm happy to hear that they, and Mirelle are well.


10-21-2002, 02:11 PM
Andrew, Ian, are we supposed to keep count?


Ian G Wright
10-21-2002, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by NormMessinger:
Andrew, Ian, are we supposed to keep count?

--NormOnly if you like counting Norm,,,,,,,,,,, smile.gif

Running aground No 1

When Patience was new and I knew no better I started my first OGA race on the north side of the river, and a very good start it was too. I raced in those days. Half the fleet chose the north shore also and were at least 50 yards behind. I was happy.
Five mins later when the Thirslet Spit reached up and grabbed Patiences keel I was less happy. When 'my' half of the fleet shouted "'Es on!" and tacked to the south shore 'happy' was not even close.
Ten hours later at the prize giving I got the 'Thirslet Spittoon'

Running aground, the latest,,,,,,

,,,,,and this season I was examined for my Yachtmaster ticket by the Senior Yachtmaster Instuctor Examiner in the whole country.
He was late and there was 1/2 an hour of the ebb left to run. "wait a bit" sez I. "Not enough water in the Creek." I sez. "Oh go on" said Tom, for it was of Mr Cunliffe that I speak, "Go for it!",,,,,,, so we did.
When we ran aground five mins later I calculated that we should float off at 1110. Tom thought 1115. At 1140 we got off with the help of the wash from a police rib. We telepathically agreed not to mention it,,,,,,
I passed the exam,,,,,,,


martin schulz
10-22-2002, 03:46 AM
Hmm Andrew - I figured from previous posts that MIRELLE is not very much bigger than my litte "english" boat. Two questions

1. I still don't have a nice stove. What kind do you have and is it affordable?
2. I am planning on sailing to Brest 2004 next year (or the year after). A Friend advised me to get over to the english southcoast instead of trying to make my way down on the french coast. He said that sailing along the french coast, especially getting into harbours is a pretty nasty thing, whereas the english south-coast has a nice harbour almost every 20miles. Also I do have to visit Brixham, which is the place of birth of my boat.
- so, is it complicated to navigate there (mind you I sail in the Baltic - no tide, almost no current)? Could we meet, maybe and sail a bit together?

10-22-2002, 05:20 AM
Martin - I'll come back on the stoves question after a bit of reseach....how big is your boat and what space do you have available?

Yes, I would most definitely hold the English South Coast not the French North Coast, as far as the Isle of Wight.

My suggestion for a route, starting from the Kiel Canal, would be either through the canals down to Vlissingen (I am 99% sure that this is possible, but maybe the mast must be lowered) then from Vlissingen to Ostende then Dover, or through the Frisian Islands as far as Den Helder, then Ijmuiden, then Dover.

From Dover, you have the most difficult part, with no good havens for quite a distance, the tide runs against you for 8 hours out of the 12 and the prevaling wind is SW. But Dover is now "yacht-friendly" (it used not to be!)

If you get a fair wind you can get down to the Solent in one hop. Otherwise you can tuck behind Dungeness for a tide, and get into Brighton Marina, then make the Solent.

From the Solent you can make Brixham in one, but maybe its better to stop at Portland (also now yacht-friendly) then Brixham. From Brixham cross to Brest.

10-22-2002, 05:56 AM
Martin, my stove is a Shipmate Skippy, made in the USA and imported, but alas they are out of business. I will be replacing it with one of these, after making enquiries on this very website:


If this is too big, there is a nice small stove made by Colin Frake at Faversham; small floor area, 3" flue, you cannot get a pan on it, but it will take a coffee pot.

martin schulz
10-22-2002, 06:22 AM

Yep - I had a look at one of those. They look pretty nice (if you can get one of those without the old bugger). But, unfortunately it is quite small, but not slim enough. I saw a coal/wood burning stove in a small ship that had only about 10x10 inch, but was 24 inch high.

10-22-2002, 06:38 AM
Martin - I am just wondering. The Danish "Lange" stove company made a perfect stove of just those dimensions, a really superb quality one, but I find they are out of business and their works is now a museum. There might be many in your part of the world and maybe you could find one.

Otherwise Colin Frake's "Faversham" stove will fit that space comfortably:

Colin Frake
Standard Quay
Kent ME13 7BB
Telephone and fax: 00 44 1795 531493

Colin is a marine blacksmith and block maker; right now he is quite busy renewing the blocks on HMS VICTORY!