On the rocks

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 27 May 2010 04:26
Position: 49 07.63 S 074 24.74 W
At anchor Puerto Eden
Wind: North F2-3 Light to gentle breeze.
Weather: Mostly sunny, cool
Day's Run: 14 nm (32 nm sailed)

I was having quite an enjoyable sail today, a light northerly breeze, a headwind but we only had 14 miles to our destination, the sun was shining, the seas were smooth, there were a few rocks and islands about but they just added to the interest and kept me on my toes . right up to the point where the waters opened out a bit and I let my guard down. I was down below talking to Persimmon on the radio when I heard the echo sounder alarm going off. I had the alarm set for 70 meters with the idea that as soon as it registered anything I should be on deck paying attention. It indeed got my immediate attention for when I went on deck there before us a boat length ahead was the hard rocky shore of South America and we were sailing straight at it. I put the helm over and in the light breeze Sylph seemed to take forever to respond. We slowly rounded up into the wind, the jib luffed, we were almost round, then . crunch . we ran up onto the rocks. Fortunately we were only doing a couple of knots and once again I was grateful for Sylph's steel construction and her sloping forefoot. We rode up then slowly slid back but not entirely off the rocks. I furled the jib, started the engine, put it into reverse and we slipped off into deep water. I started the bilge pump, reset the jib, got Sylph settled on a safe course and checked the bilges. It appears no significant damage has been incurred but I felt very shaken and very stupid. I had bought a special timer to prevent this sort of lapse in concentration but it had stopped working some weeks ago, so have had to rely on kitchen timers or just my own sense of timing, looking around frequently. I had sometimes looked at the shoreline and wondered about this happening, and concluded by shaking my head and telling myself to make sure it didn't. Subsequent to the event I thought of the usual "if only", and other useless thoughts, and told myself not to let one bad moment influence the next thereby making things worse. Instead of beating myself up over my stupidity I tried to think positive thoughts about the foresight in owning a steel boat and putting all the work in towards keeping her as sound as I am able.

We were less than four miles from Puerto Eden, the wind was dieing (I wish now that it had died sooner), I turned the engine on and we motored to anchor off the small village of Puerto Eden. An hour later I was joined by Persimmon. This evening I have enjoyed their company over dinner and a few glasses of wine, much appreciated after today's shake up.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I have had quite a pleasant day today, very peaceful, even a bit of sunshine, we have only been leaning over a little, there was this funny lurch at one point which obviously woke the beast from beneath the floorboards up, but only for a bit, it soon went back to sleep. Speaking of which, the heater is on and .. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.