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Thread: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

  1. #1
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    Default Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Just heard on my local NPR station that a sailor was rescued by the Coast Guard from his swamped boat off Port Townsend, described as a 19' home-built sailboat. They towed it into the Hudson marina.

    Was a Forumite involved?
    Gerard>
    Langley, WA

    Don't believe Republican lies.

  2. #2
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    Link to video here. Boat is a double ended yawl.

    http://www.dvidshub.net/video/331138...h#.U1P2dXi9LCQ

    Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/2014/0...port-townsend/

    Looks like the Coast Guard pulled James McMullen off Rowan six miles north of Port Townsend. He's fine, per Katie. Boat is with him. CG towed it in to Point Hudson. I haven't chatted with him, but if you look at the Coast Guard video, it offers a few hints to the situation. Mizzen was up, main mast and everything else was lashed down. I think a passerby called the CG. The story that says Rowan capsized, too. I look forward to hearing the story.

    James was making a crossing from Keystone to Port Townsend. When he left the wind was 18-25 from the south, and it was working in concert with the outgoing ebb. Looks like the wind gathered pretty quickly (20-ish --> 35+ with gusts over 40) and he must have gotten shoved out into the straights. I've had the same thing happen to me, but never on such a peppy day.



    Check out the sailflow screencap of that area midday yesterday.



    20+ in our little boats is fine. In my experience, when you reach 30-40+, it's time to lay down on the bottom of the boat and shudder a bit.

    Glad to hear that he's alright.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    I basically copied what McMullen, Yeadon and Hvalsoe use because it worked so well.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Thought the boat looked familiar. I watched the video and it doesn't appear to be swamped. So it might be a case of bad conditions and exhaustion, if he was rowing against a strong wind and current.

    Glad he's okay. That CG rescue craft is a techno-beast.

  5. #5
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    Glad to hear he is OK. That is the main thing.

    Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Good news that he's ok. Looking forward to hearing 'the rest of the story'.

    Yesterday at Depoe Bay I entertained, for a brief moment, the idea of rowing a Welsford 'Mollyhawk' out the notch and around the buoy. The CG likely would have stopped me if they saw, as conditions were quite rough. That, and the fact that my stamina isn't all the way back after my little dance with cancer, move me to nip the notion in the bud all by myself.

    So... James... take heart! With age DOES come wisdom. Or.... at least the touch of timidity that PASSES for wisdom <G>
    Last edited by David G; 04-20-2014 at 12:13 PM.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    The first hand account will be interesting. The news report indicates that another vessel called it in and that things may have been under control by the time the patrol boat arrived. Even so, a warm ride home at that point would be welcome, as long as they were there. Glad both boat and James are well.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Kind of makes a guy think it is better to stay home than to go out for a bashing in snotty conditions! I am just guessing that the boat acquired some damage beating up alongside of the CG vessel. But I'm glad that James is ok.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    "My kingdom for an outboard in a well". I'd stick a smiley here but it won't work, so please assume the smiley. I'm glad you're well and sorry that your boat is banged up.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 04-20-2014 at 01:02 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Rowan sure took a beating while alongside. Glad to hear James is OK. This is a tough time of year to be out on the Salish, squalls come up pretty fast.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    I'm curious to hear if this was actually a rescue of simply a case of some overly concerned citizen. At the beach I regularly surfed, every spring the new lifeguards were constantly warning people that conditions were too dangerous to go out in the water. We simply ignored them and had a great time surfing. You take a pleasure boater who gets unexpectedly caught in rough conditions that they aren't comfortable with in their large trawler and they're going to think someone in a small open boat is moments away from certain death.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Glad you're OK, James. That is the sort of weather I would like a 30' cabin cruiser for.
    Last edited by JimD; 04-20-2014 at 01:06 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    holy crap! Glad James is ok. Very interested to here the report.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Glad you're OK, James. Will love to hear your telling of this adventure.
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

    Grieving love unsaid. | Tomorrow will fail someday. | Tell them today, OK?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Very good that James is OK, and that Rowan has also survived this event. That he is well is truly what counts above anything else. This is another reminder to us all (I’ve had a couple myself) that wind over tide is not to be trifled with on this coast.

    Bad situation; good result! Cheers to our respective Coast guard personnel, once again. / Jim

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Wow. Glad to hear that he is well. Looking forward to more details. I watched the video before reading the rest of the thread and looked for things like the push-pull tiller, etc., that would have confirmed my suspicions that this boat looks really familiar.
    Last edited by Brian Palmer; 04-20-2014 at 03:25 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Very happy to hear that both James and Rowan made it back to shore safe.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    A while ago a (very lucky) few people sailed a Matinicus peapod out into Rockland Harbor on a blustery northwest day. The sailing looks so inviting when those winds come along but it can be sharp and hard and gusty. They capsized mid-jibe and fortunately were

    1) seen by someone ashore who had a fast motorboat, understood the trouble they were in and got out there pronto and

    2) were near enough a substantial buoy to tie onto it as they tried to recover. Otherwise they may have been blown onto the granite breakwater or past it into Penobscot Bay. Things can go wrong fast and they were lucky to have others come to their aid. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    "I'm curious to hear if this was actually a rescue of simply a case of some overly concerned citizen" ... It's not this. / Jim

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Wow! I remember James arguing that the way to deal with capsize was to not let it happen. I wonder if an equipment failure caused a sudden crisis.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    He looked pretty spent when he was helped aboard , and sort of knowing James , the fact that he didn't stay on deck to tell the coasties how to tie his boat off leads me to believe he was one beat up puppy and happy to be aboard the C/G craft.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    On the other hand, Paul, he took down and stowed the mizzen before stepping up into the CG boat. Looks like the main was already tidily stowed. So he was doing pretty well, considering a capsize. Remarkably well, from where I sit.

    Glad they went and got him though, regardless. That was a tight spot.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    On the other hand, Paul, he took down and stowed the mizzen before stepping up into the CG boat. Looks like the main was already tidily stowed. So he was doing pretty well, considering a capsize. Remarkably well, from where I sit.

    Glad they went and got him though, regardless. That was a tight spot.

    I saw that to, I don't know James well , but I'm sticking with my statement.

    But sure, for being in the water , righting his boat , stowing what he stowed, ya , he's a tough dude, I don't think I couldn't have pulled that off at almost 60 year old.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Like many here, I admire the boats that James builds and the way that he uses them. I really glad he's okay and look forward to him reporting on the episode.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    The coasties did a good job. I'm glad James is OK. Those sponsons are polyurethane filled and so not rock hard , there's a chance the boat is not too badly damaged.
    Last edited by Hwyl; 04-20-2014 at 05:10 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Glad that James is OK and that Rowan is OK, too, that's number 1.

    I too, look forward to hearing the story.

    I'll also look forward to hearing the lessons learned when James has had some time to reflect on what happened
    Alex

    “A man in an open shirt, sat gazing out to sea; A young man, a hale man, and I wished that I were he and that the things that I loved were as they used to be”
    - Geoffrey Holdsworth

    http://www.alexzimmerman.ca

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Glad that James is returning home safely to family. I too look forward to the recap.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Well, the James got his ass handed to him by the Straits yesterday. A combination of bad timing, bad luck, and an unexpectedly bad turn in the weather left me in a position where I simply got overwhelmed. Totally outside of my envelope. Clobbered. Sobered. Terrified. Worn out.

    The crossing started out a bit peppy, with two reefs in. . .but nothing like I haven't done before plenty of times. I was happy and content for the whole first half of the crossing. . . .

    And then the wind practically doubled on me over a very short period. And the sea state became absolutely frightening. I was down to my third reef and still making some minimal progress when a truly ferocious gust hit me. I feathered the sails completely and tried to steer up, but to no avail, as a particularly big wave peaked and dropped out from under me just at that moment. I watched with horror as I found myself inexorably knocked down, masts in the water and swamped. The first try of righting her I simply got knocked down again by another gust, but on the second try I managed to get the mizzen sheeted in tight and the boat head to the waves, dropped the foresail, and started bailing with the bucket. At some point later, a 45' Coast Guard Patrol boat appeared and offered me a tow back to Port Townsend, which I most happily accepted. The seas had gotten so bad right at the gut nearing Point Wilson that even this 45 footer was occasionally taking green water over the bow all the way back to the windshield. Rowan, dancing on a Nantucket sleigh ride at the end of the tow rope somehow managed to pull through all this just fine.

    Some good points:
    the boat and her flotation compartments worked as designed. On her side she floated level, masts across the water, with no indication that she was going to go turtle and completely capsize. Climbing up over the stern quarter and working my way forward to stand on the CB worked just fine. Once righted, the water level inside the boat was below the centerboard slot so I was able to bail. I kept my oars, my anchor, my rig, my bucket and virtually all the rest of my gear except a couple of fenders which weren't tied down and my extra coil of rope for the clothesline moor which slipped out of its ties. I was wearing proper clothing and my lifejacket. The hatches stayed nearly watertight with no significant water shipped. Nothing broke in the knockdown.

    Some bad points:
    I somehow got myself outside the envelope for my little open boat in these horrible conditions. I was too set on making Port Townsend when I probably should have just hove to and rode it out, maybe aimed for the lee behind Smith Island or something. My VHF radio was clipped to a thwart instead of to my lifejacket, and somehow, when scrambling in, I must have kicked it loose, so I lost it. I still had my flares, but without a radio, I would have had a much harder time attracting attention. Luckily, a big container ship passing through had spotted me and called it in. My bilge pump is too slow, I need to mount a bigger capacity one. I did have to expend a considerable amount of strength and energy to recover--something definitely to be considered about as I get older and perhaps less fit.


    Possible hope for weathering future "events":
    I was able to get my foremast down and stowed and was drifting down, head to wind with mizzen set and my anchor rode streaming over the bow as a drogue while I bailed. I had the water bailed out all the way down to the floorboards by the time the Coasties showed up and offered a tow. I do hope and think that if there had been no rescue available that I had managed to knock the situation down from dire survival mode to merely miserably uncomfortable, and maybe could have steered with oars to fetch up at Smith Island or even Lopez if I'd had to. Even in those steep and nasty waves, once I was able to keep Rowan head to them with mizzen and drogue she rode over them like a duck, even while making sternway at what the Coasties estimated was about 4 kts. I am going to make and carry a proper sea anchor.

    All in all, I think I'm actually fairly satisfied with how well my boat did in these conditions for which she is really not suited. I'm not sure what kind of boat would have done much better given my self-imposed constraint of sail and oar and the compromises that demands. . but you better believe I will be thinking about that very thoroughly!

    Damage to James:
    Sore arms and shoulders, bruised shins, bruised ego, emotional exhaustion.
    Damage to Rowan:
    Rudder lost during tow, broken boomkin, scrapes and dings on the gunwales
    Last edited by James McMullen; 04-20-2014 at 08:43 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Well done, James.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Thank you James. Nice write up for those of us who are not nearly as experienced sailors. Glad both you and Rowan survived in reasonably good condition.
    Bill R

    There was supposed to be an earth shattering KABOOM!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Thanks for the summary. Glad you made it out OK. I look forward to the build of a new rudder, creation of a sea anchor, and more adventures.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    A true and scary test for man and boat. Glad that you're back on terra-firma. As scared as you were, it was experience and seamanship that got you through. Congrats on your survival.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Sobering video and review. Thanks. Glad you and Rowan are okay.


    Steven

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    Well done James and carry on, I say.
    Chuck Hancock

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Small boat rescue off Port Townsend

    So is the boat home or still over on the Peninsular?

    How is Katie taking this?

    Did the Coastie treat you to coffee?

    Glad you're still with us James!

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