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What is the most utterly f-ed you ever been?
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 5:29 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

I just received a phone call that brought back memories of some fun times. So, what is the most utterly f-ed situation you ever been in where you just had to pull one out of your ass or it was gonna go way wrong bad?

Mine played out live on CNN during hurricane Frances in '04. I had been called in a day and a half prior to the storm to get the boat off the dock. Considering the caller said 105' Expedition that cruises 21kts I figured we'd jump on after we finished securing some other obligations, my mate/girlfriend and I would grab our dive gear & jump down to Key West in front of the storm and dive the reef for a couple days.

On arrival vessel condition and fuel state precluded leaving and I told him best I could do was anchor out in Lake Worth and I'd do my best. 08:27 urgent marine weather broadcast of a major storm band entering the Palm Beaches coincided with what I was seeing and as hard as I drove against it we horsed over so hard both my anchors broke with a loud bang. I went forward and released all 300' of chain on both sides to help me hold head to the wind. When I went in and started to spin her into the wind with the engines the port engine died.

I gave the helm to my GF and told her "do your best to keep us off that shore as long as you can" and went back to diagnose the engine. With no obvious trips or resets, black bowls in the Racors and an approaching lee shore I abandoned the E/R and went back to the wheelhouse. I used the thruster to get the bow up some till I got speed and the chains started to hold the bow up an I drove out on starboard tack. I had another issue, I had no steering, the only steering pump on the boat was on the port engine. I found if I stood on the starter button and spun the wheel I could swap the direction of the helm and with the help of the thruster I could slowly tack my way up toward Peanut Island where I was going to drive her bow into the south beach and hold there for the wind shift. The thruster was driven by the generators which weren't meant to take that load so it started getting hot. When I went to swap the hydraulic pump over, the clutch failed. Eventually it overheated and shut down and I was going backwards regardless of anything I could do. I set up to try to catch the chains on channel markers and manatee signs to no avail and I was coming down on a bridge that is made out of a lot of little concrete pilings that the boat would destroy if it got into. Letting the boat get into the bridge would be a major fail on my part and I ended stuffing it into the West Palm Beach Yacht club using their breakwater against the chains to keep the bow up as I drove it in. I understand they still hate me there. Sorry y'all, but I tried to use your face dock into the wind but your dolphin came off without holding for a moment and that opening was the only place for the boat to go to protect the bridge.

When I got to shore and CNN had said they had broadcast it all live and wanted to interview me all I could do is laugh and think "why?" at first. When I got home my landlord told me they were dogging me until they interviewed me. They never did send me a copy like they promised.

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:34 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026

Hmmm, Foulest situation. Springtime crossing Antigua to Med. Downwind Heavy weather , helmsman missed a wave, boat knocked down, carefully stored plastic crate of Mt Gay Rum broke free...shot across the bilge and crushed a PVC elbow on the Black water tank. 250 litres of Poo Poo escaped, Eye watering stench, gale conditions outside reduced a gang a battle harden crew to delirious, projectile vomiting sardines, flip flopping on deck in their underpants. Not much fun, several bottles of Mt Gay survived.
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012 11:22 AM
Joined: 18/06/2008
Posts: 3

Summer 2005, Guy Couach 2800 Open, we were crossing the East side of Bonifacio Strait from Nth to Sth just after nightfall when a Force 8-9 arrived from the West. We knew it was forecast, but hoped we could make it to the lee of Sardinia before it hit. We Didn't! Since it was dark, we could not see the size of the waves, but could not reduce boat speed below 18kts and keep directional stability with the Arneson Drives. The yacht was falling off the back of the waves (off Stb Bow) to the point we were almost going weightless at the helm. Meanwhile we were being hit with so much spray across the OPEN BRIDGE that some of the electronics (got to love the French) were failing, and we were constantly wiping water off the radar screen! I had a 5 second window to look above the windscreen and check for targets before getting hammered again. We made it to Sardina, soaking wet, some interior damage, and all for the sake of picking up guests! Got to love Yachting.
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