Captain Kidd's Boatyard




Posted by [email protected] on May 18, 2015 at 11:45 PM

This report was posted originally on the TSBB forum on Dec. 4, 2012 about an excursion I had earlier that day on Little Bit, my SD11.

Well, like most boaters I have plenty of stories to tell - "The Adventures of Captain Kidd". Only thing is, my wife doesn't like the kind of stories I tell (through experience of course)

The day was perfect for an afternoon sail: winds 8-10 mph out of the south which is perfect for the lake I like, and temps in the upper 60's to lower 70's (how's that for December). So, I headed up to the lake.

When I arrived there was only one other car in the lot and it didn't have a trailer. I figured I'd be pretty lonely out there, not great if you get in trouble. I wasn't too worried.

Rigged the boat and off I went. As I was getting started good, I didn't like the way the lacing was on the sail, the luff was kinda bunched up. I figured I would loosen the lacing a bit and noticed it looked like it was caught a bit on the thumb cleat I use for the snotter. I have had a couple issues with this before and the cleat is a bit of a reach. I knew I was taking a chance, but I figured I have pretty good balance so I reached up to free the lacing. I couldn't quite reach it so I decided to stand up on the seat. Now in a small boat with only crew as ballast, this was a mistake in judgment. The bow went down, mast went over a bit and "in the drink" I went! And over the dinghy went - turtled! Always wondered what it would be like to capsize: well I was quickly finding out.

The water was a chilly 55 degrees (I got that info from my rescuers). Thankfully the air temp was good; otherwise, I could have been in some big trouble. There was no one around, so it was me and my wits. I did have an inflatable life vest on. It took two firm pulls to get it to inflate. I was a little surprised by the effort it took.

I swam to the side of the boat and leveraged it over with my weight and the daggerboard. When I tried to enter the boat from the stern, she went right over again. This time she was lying on her side so I just used my weight and rolled with her to the upright position.

She was obviously sitting low in the water. To my discredit, I had nothing to bail with. The boat was very unsteady. The two air chambers were keeping her rails just a few inches above the water. I must have been 300 yards or more from the dock so I started rowing. The sail was still up so I had some windage. I didn't want to move much or I would have been back in the water, so I just continued rowing, stern to I might add. The going was very slow. Gradually I felt the bow sinking behind me (I was facing the stern and rowing with pushing strokes). I looked back and the forward air chamber was leaking air very steadily. I guess I had failed to seal it up well. This made it impossible to row and even more unsteady. Over I went again, and I was still a long way from the ramp.

What do I do? Do I leave the boat and swim? Stay by the boat and wait for someone to come by? Well, I decided to swim and pull the boat. I held onto the inverted rudder with my left arm and swam with my stronger right arm. Again, the going was really slow. I was trying to be careful and gauge my body's reaction to the water. Everything seemed to be ok (lower case letters meaning so-so ok), but I was tiring. About that time I noticed two boats had arrived at the ramp. I was still maybe 200 yards from the ramp but I started waving and calling for help. The first boat in the water headed out to get me. It was a bass boat and when he arrived, I asked if he had a swim ladder or any way for me to get up. At that very moment a nice Searay showed up with two workers from the nearby marina. They had seen me go over and when I got the boat righted and was rowing, they figured I was alright. Eventually they realized I needed assistance and came. Oh, yea! A kayaker showed up about that time as well. Seems like in the end, there was plenty of help after all.

After an hour in the water, I boarded the Searay via a swim ladder and they towed the boat in. I pulled the trailer down and we got the boat loaded. I pulled her up to the lot and sat in the vehicle for about 30 minutes with the heat on full blast. I had no change of clothes. After I warmed up a bit, I secured the boat and headed home and straight to the shower.

Well, some good lessons learned and some things I need to figure out.

1) I can't stand on the seats, at least when I am alone and probably even with additional crew. 2) This means I need to figure a way to work with that rigging. 3) I need a bailer. 4) I need to seal up that leak.

I did lose the plug for the daggerboard trunk that I use when just rowing. I also lost my "Sail" cap. I also had put my phone, keys and a camera in a zip lock baggie. Guess what? the baggies are not perfectly water tight. I doused the phone and camera in rice when I got home. Will see if they come back to life.

Could wind up being somewhat of a costly mishap. At the very least I will have to buy another CO2 cartridge. Not too bad I guess considering I am here to tell my story.

Only 1 pic to show:

PS: Turns out neither my phone nor camera "came back to life". Along with the new CO2 cartridge, it was an expensive lesson. Oh, yeah. For Christmas I received two watertight boxes as presents! I use one faithfully on every trip I take on Little Bit.  

Categories: Adventures on Little Bit

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