Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harbor Town Yacht Basin – A crash story

Beautiful old home sin Beaufort
It was once again cold in the morning and we walked through town to look at the old houses that Beaufort is famous for. We are really into southern moss country, it’s all over the trees and the houses are the old mansions, all very well kept up.

Getting ready to depart, the fun started. Picture the letter “U”, that’s the shape of the marina where we were at. Now add in 2 kts of current flowing into the “U” (the “U” represents docks, it’s open at the top). On top of that, the wind was piping up and it too was blowing into the “U”. Now, we were situated on the inside of the right side of the “U”. The dock hands just said that we’ll push you off so your aft section angles off the dock and just gun it in reverse. Now that strategy works fine with a power boat and 300 hp but doesn’t work so well with a sailboat with a single propeller. I should have known better since the boat just behind me left first. He followed their directions and wound up sideways in the “U” section, heading for the bottom of the “U”! Somehow he managed to gun the engine and make a 180 turn and head out without hitting anything.

We're in Spanish Moss country
Mistake number one, I should have learned from that attempt that once you’re pushed off, the current will take your aft section and push it faster than the bow, thereby turning the boat sideways in the “U” – and there’s not much room!! Being rather dense, I didn’t learn and followed their directions. Well, the 2 kt current and 10 to 15 kt gusts pushed my aft section so I was sideways in the slip and headed for disaster (many powerboats around!) I was backing up into a large powerboat before I got it into forward gear and gunned the engine. I managed the turn the boat but not before I banged into the dock on the right side of the “U” where I started out but now I was pointed toward the exit from the “U” and not the dock at the bottom. After banging off the dock, I got the boat under control and gunned it again against the current and wind and headed out, scraping the side of Fleetwing and the dinghy which got between me and the dock!

I am not an adrenaline junkie but the juices were sure flowing after that. After things calmed down, I was exhausted, it takes it out of you, I was beat! After that, we had a calm ride to our present marina and a very nice town, whew!! We have to leave at first light on Thursday to get enough water for a Fleetwing passage through the shallow spots. I’ll be glad when we get to deeper parts of the ICW. Luckily, all the marks from hitting the dock came off with a Magic Eraser.