Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mayday! Mayday!

Well, not quite a Mayday, but I did have to call the Coast Guard.

On our radio.

I kid you not!

It happened after our guests departed from their weekend visit aboard The Knotty Cat.

Clockwise from top left: Bob, Hans, John, and Sean.

Hans was motoring them to shore in the dinghy so they could high-tail it back home after one very hot and overly Wilburish sail with us.

They say they had a good time(?).

We were in the St. Mary's area and since storms were predicted for the evening we decided to stay put as we were in a pretty secure anchorage.

Here is Hans checking out the ominous line of weather as it was approaching.

Wilbur checked it out as well.

Luckily this storm passed right over us and we only had a bit of rain. We weren't so lucky come ONE AM because that's when all hell broke loose.

It only took one whistling whoosh of wind to rush through our cabin and Hans and I were above board in a heart beat. We had the engines running and electronics powered up just as a huge thunder and lightning storm hit.

Before it was over we had dragged a couple of hundred feet on our anchor and watched everything within a few feet of us disappear in a haze of pounding rain and wind.

I can only liken it to being above the clouds while in flight; we were that blind to our surroundings.
Since we dragged parallel to the shore and weren't in danger of running aground (or into another boat) we didn't have to power the boat over the anchor and just let it reset itself.

And like most summer storms it was over rather quickly.

What storm?

A few days later we had forecasts of horrendous storms and possible wind gusts of 50 to 60 knots. We were docked at Harrington Harbor South (a place that's become a bad luck symbol to us but that's another story) and wanted to get to St. Michael's so we set out anyway.

We found ourselves motoring along with practically no wind and pretty flat waters but since the Weather Channel wouldn't shut the hell up about the storms I wouldn't let Hans put up any sails.

And then it hit.

"13 knots." Hans announced calmly, then, "20 knots! 25 knots! 35 knots! Oh My God 42 knots!" Only now he was shouting, and I was watching a sloop that for some odd reason had both its main and jib up. We then stared in horror as the sloop heeled sharply and tried to head into the wind. The jib flapped madly as the crew tried to furl it and then their main sail ripped to shreds.

Just like that.

To add insult to injury they ran aground and after trying unsuccessfully to radio them I finally called the Coast Guard.

We were in no position to help them and it was all Hans could do to stay in the channel.

Of course it was only after I gave the Coast Guard the exact location of the 'boat in distress' , along with our boat name and our phone number (for future torment I'm sure!) that we noticed they'd managed to free themselves and start to motor towards land.

I wonder how one explains to the little woman that a few thousand dollars will be needed to replace the main sail. Hmmmm.


  1. I love all the drama! I knew sea life would be exciting, but as an "armchair traveler" I don't have to be part of the danger. Keep the updates coming!

  2. Wow! So glad ya'll weren't in trouble! Sad to hear about the others, but glad they made it back safely. Beautiful picture of the boats with the rainbow overhead!

  3. Oh, it seems like the drama never ends that's for sure!
    I felt badly for those sailors but they're damned lucky they didn't dump! They really had no business getting caught with full sails. The sky had been getting blacker by the minute but they just kept meandering along.