Saturday, May 23, 2015

Don't sail and be stupid

In recognition of the annual slaughter of pleasureboaters that always occurs this weekend in the US, I submit these photos taken 2 years ago, when an idiot in a brand new two-masted sailboat sailed directly under my bow and had his boat smashed to shit, necessitating rescue and salvage.

EDIT: One of the senior captains in my company reminded me that I should mention exactly how the owner of this sailboat turned the derp up to 11: At the time this happened, we were not moving. In fact, we were moored securely to a bog floating mooring ball, itself about half the size of the sailboat. It's not like he misjudged my speed. Ever run into a parked car while jogging? That's pretty much how it went down.


Borepatch said...


John said...

The year was most likely 1982. I was doing my two weeks of Active Reserves on the USS Emory S. Land (AS-39), a subtender based in Norfolk. We were coming back from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as my two weeks coincided with one of the rare times the ship left port. My Navy background is steam enginerooms.

We got a distress call from a sailboat and I went up on deck and watched the encounter. I had not thought about it in many years until I read your post on the sailboat colliding with and anchored ship.

I cannot tell you the size of the sailboat other then it was big enough to have two masts. The sailboat asked that we position the ship so that the sailboat would be in our lee and then the sailboat could put up a storm rig. (as best as I remember)

After a long maneuvering time (single screw large ship) the sailboat was in our lee. It was fairly windy, and the subtender has a huge sail area. Of course, within a few minutes, we drifted into the sailboat. The masts of the sailboat get tangled into the port power cable booms, (booms used to provide power to submarines moored alongside) and a few seconds later both masts are snapped off, and the sailboat drifts away surrounded by broken masts, rigging, and assorted debris.

After more maneuvering, we are close to the sailboat, and an officer turns to a Gunners Mate near me who is holding a line throwing gun and orders him to put a line into the boat. Instead of firing over the sailboat, the young man leans out and fires almost straight down into the cockpit of the sailboat. No injuries by the grace of God, and after an underwear change, the sailboat secures the line and we take the boat in tow.

The next morning we inform the sailboat that the tow will be transferred to the US Coast Guard sometime later.

Within a few seconds the sailboat begins tossing a large number of stuffed trash bags over the side. We did not go back and sample the trash bags.

The last I saw of the sailboat was when we left the sailboat and the US Coast Guard staring at each other.

Yes it was obvious even to an engineroom guy that we needed at lot more training and experience at sea.


jon spencer said...

Was that one of those, "sailboats always have the right of way" incidents?
Almost off topic, search engines are going to think I am a pervert as I looked for 2 bla#k ba*ls on a mast.

Jill said...

That's really sad. I wonder what their insurance company will say about it.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Jon- I was anchored- well, hanging on a mooring buoy. I'm assuming he didn't know what leeway or current is, and just thought that he could drive the damn thing like a car.

Anonymous said...

Blow boater go figure eh.