Spring Break Salvage - Sail Magazine

Spring Break Salvage

As soon as he did, we all worked furiously to plug the leaks and pump the boat dry. A crowd of about 40 people had gathered, and gave us a round of applause when we were done. The Bahamian government also rewarded us with some Kalik Gold, the local beer. It was a spring break none of us is likely to forget.This past March, seven friends from the College of Charleston and I went sailing for
Author:
Publish date:
SpringBreakSalvage.interior1

As soon as he did, we all worked furiously to plug the leaks and pump the boat dry. A crowd of about 40 people had gathered, and gave us a round of applause when we were done. The Bahamian government also rewarded us with some Kalik Gold, the local beer. It was a spring break none of us is likely to forget.

This past March, seven friends from the College of Charleston and I went sailing for a week in the Bahamas aboard the 44-foot Ted Brew-designed sloop Tardis for our spring break. Our captain, Conor Smith, now in his junior year, was far and away the most experienced sailor. Also aboard were Gabriel Turner, Mike Illig, Bo Crouch, Diane Sobiescyzck, Kyle Barnell and Wesley Fairey.

The cruise was uneventful until the last day when Conor, Bo, Mike and I were out surveying the narrow channel leading to Alice Town on Bimini Island in preparation for our upcoming midnight departure to cross the Gulf Stream back to Florida.

As we were plotting waypoints, we saw a 50-foot sloop run aground. The skipper, who had his parents, wife and a little dog aboard, had followed the wrong passage and was carried onto a sandbar by the breaking waves. A few minutes later, he sent out a Mayday. He then inflated his liferaft and everyone, including the dog, abandoned ship.

After standing by to make sure everybody made it safely ashore, we docked Tardis and set out in our dinghy to see what we could do to save the stranded sloop. Speed was of the essence because of the breaking waves. It was only a matter of time before the boat would be battered to pieces.

SpringBreakSalvage.interior2

As soon as we got there, Conor swam to the boat, attached a line to the bow, and then swam the other end to a nearby tow vessel. Unfortunately, the towboat’s engine wasn’t powerful enough to pull the boat free. Gabriel then jumped in the water to attach another line, which he swam out to a twin-engine powerboat that was standing by. When that line broke, he swam over another one, while we stood by in Tardis’s dinghy with a first-aid kit and Tardis’s safety gear in case anyone was injured.

Finally, on our fifth attempt, we were able to tow the sloop to deeper water by running a line from the bow to one boat and a halyard from the masthead to the other. By now the boat was filling with water and in danger of sinking, but the Bahamian in charge of the twin-engine towboat did a masterful job of bringing the sloop in and laying it up alongside the dock.

Related

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more