{Stus-List} A story...

Russ & Melody russmel at telus.net
Mon Feb 18 18:11:55 EST 2008

This story comes from my marina neighbour and fellow Club member. He sails 
a Newport 40 (C&C cousin) and organizes our single-handed races, every 
second Saturday of the month.
Yesterday, Sunday, he went out on the Club's regular race day, quality time 
with his son.

>Ground: earth, soil, land, floor, position. Let's add rock to that list as 
>that is what the land consists of on Power Squadron reef.
>  Running aground is very traumatic. In most cases you know that you are 
> in a position (close to land) that this could happen so you may have 
> someone watching the depth sounder. They start calling out numbers in a 
> rapidly declining order. 20, 14, 11. You have a second or two to realize 
> what is coming. That is the start of the sinking feeling in you stomach. 
> Next comes the first strike. The boat hits and bounces over quickly and 
> then does it again, and again. Shaking and rattling the boat and you. 
> There is a moment when you have hope that she will tear free to regain 
> deep water. Then all stops and you are aground. The bright sunny day has 
> clouded over. Why the hell are you out here anyway? OK, pull it together 
> and get your boat off this reef. Sails are up and maybe with weight on 
> the leeward side there will be enough heel to slide off. No. Ok run the 
> engine in bursts. Why haven't I bought the new Ports and Passages so I 
> know what the tide is doing? Too early in the season? Help arrives as 
> some of the other racers come to my aid. It is so good to see them. They 
> inch in with the bow to grab my spinnaker halyard, the skipper knowing 
> his boat draws the same depth as mine. They back away, turn the boat and 
> give power while I run the engine full in forward. We are moving and I am 
> very relieved. The halyard is released and Ali Oop again grabs the 
> bottom. For the first time I lose it and cuss out loud. Now the committee 
> boat shows up and I throw them a line and attach it to my stern cleat. It 
> is decided to furl the genoa but leave the main up to induce some heel. 
> The halyard is again secured to the back of the Viking 33 and power is 
> slowly applied while the committee boat holds me from going forward into 
> shallower water. With the boom well out to leeward my son and I lay on 
> the main sheet willing our weight out far as possible. I'm starring 
> straight down at the water and see nothing but defeat. My mind has 
> clouded over and I want to join the fishes. There is no movement in the 
> water but I ask anyway. I hear a voice. There is movement! I really don't 
> believe it, look across at Protection Island and line up on a tree. I am 
> overwhelms with gratitude. Ali Oop is free! Lines are released and I sail 
> away from the Devil. The whole range of emotion has empted me. My son and 
> I head back to the club while I visualize the damage to the boat. The 
> lingering bad dream will certainly take some time to be shaken. Maybe I 
> sail because I need the range of emotion in my life. Sailing certainly 
> takes me to the edge and gives me a lot of pain at times. But then there 
> are the times that I feel like I have finally found the true meaning of 
> existence. If only I could keep at that level of Nirvana. For now sailing 
> is the tool I'll use.
>             Thank you George and crew on Sea lion for making my day. Also 
> Greg and DJ with the committee boat.
>                 John
>PS lessons learned. When last I sailed this area about 6 months ago the 
>reef was marked with a green stick which could be seen at high water. 
>There was now a white float present but this was not positioned over the 
>reef. I assumed it was. I'm guessing it was 60 meters farther inland.
>A chart plotter at the helm would have told my son that we were out of 
>position and most likely have prevented the event.
>While racing I do stupid things.
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