Another variation on the phrase is “There are two kinds of sailors: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.” Whichever one you prefer, we joined the first club on Saturday.
Saturday didn’t have much wind and Sunday was forecast to be rainy, so our primary goal for the weekend as we drove down to the boat on Saturday morning was to give Pegu Club a bath. In the final push to get the barrier coat and bottom paint on her before we launched, certain tasks needed to be skipped. One of them included washing Pegu Club’s deck, and she was turning into a dirty girl.
I was not looking forward to taking her to the wash-down dock. I think I’ve mentioned it before: we’re mooring people. I definitely don’t like docking. I’m always convinced that I’m going to ram into the dock at 100 mph and break the boat in half, with accompanying explosions so that the entire club burns down. O.k. I exaggerate a bit, but I really don’t like docking. I know it’s one of those things where you only get better with practice, but it’s hard to make myself practice when it makes me so nervous.
So with visions of breaking boats and explosions dancing through my head, we put-putted down the fairway at 2 knots (not even close to approaching 100 mph) heading to the dock. We docked Pegu Club without incident (I really need to get a grip over this whole docking thing) and proceeded to spend the next hour or so scrubbing away and chatting with people as they walked the dock. One guy had just launched that day and was telling us about how he had been trying to track down the source of the mysterious water in his bilge. It turns out his hot water heater was leaking. Jeff and I both thought about the hot water heater we tore out in the fall, and we were glad that is one repair we’ll never have to deal with.
After Pegu Club’s deck was shiny white again, we talked through how we were going to leave the dock and headed off like we had done it a thousand times. Puttering back down the fairway, we turned into the channel to go back to our mooring. I had noticed it was low tide, but didn’t think anything of it because we had gone that way many times. About twenty yards from our mooring, I turned Pegu Club into the wind and after a second or two noticed that we were no longer moving. Hmmm. I looked at the depth meter and saw that we were at 4′. Pegu Club’s draft is 4’4″. Oops.
We spent about five minutes trying to get free, but we were thoroughly stuck in the mud. Fortunately we have TowBoat US coverage – it’s like AAA for boats – and they keep their boat in our bay. In fact, we could see him sitting on a transient mooring about 1/4 mile away. We were 20 yards from the mooring and he was only 1/4 mile away. It looked like this was going to be his easiest call of the day.
I called TowBoat on the radio and within minutes he was next to our boat, tossing us a tow line. A few minutes after that he had deposited us safely at our mooring. We definitely provided the afternoon entertainment for the club. Tom, the former owner of Little Bristol, was at his mooring with his wife about 1/4 mile across the bay and texted me one word: “Sandbar?” Yep. We were starring in our own episode of BoatTV. Sometimes you’re the viewer, other times you’re the entertainer.
Overall, it most certainly could have been worse. After all, it was mud and not a rock. The tow guy said that the tides were extra low that day, and he was absolutely right because even at our mooring there was less than 6″ between the keel and the mud. The fairways had been dredged over the winter, so we were joking that they deposited all of the dredging material into the channel instead. In all honesty though, it really shouldn’t have happened. We’ve been around that area before without an issue. When Chris the dock master heard about it the next day, he was concerned and was planning to take the work boat out to sound the area. You can bet we’ll be staying far away from that spot from now on.
So what do you do after you’ve been safely deposited onto your mooring after your first grounding, and there’s no wind? Cocktails of course! We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day hanging out in Pegu Club’s sparkling clean cockpit and basking in the warmest temperatures of the season so far.
Sunday was cloudy with rain in the forecast for the afternoon. Will we ever get a weekend without some rain? We had volunteered to help out at the Sailing School breakfast, so by the time we were finished we were scurrying to pack up the boat before the rain began.
The completely unreliable forecast is calling for decent weather this weekend, so hopefully we’ll head out for our first overnight anchor of the season. And now that we’ve gotten our first grounding out of the way, hopefully we won’t repeat that experience any time soon – like this upcoming weekend!