Thursday, 3 January 2013

Out with a Bang 2

After our last adventure (Out with a Bang) we thought we could sail smoothly into 2013.  It was not to be.  Announcing the news to our local friends went something like this:

Us:                   Hey, did you see the article in the newspaper on Wednesday with the headline ‘An Intervention by Maritime Rescue Service in 40 knots of Wind’ about a sailboat that broke away from its mooring and ran aground on the mudflats of an oyster park?

Friends:           Yes…ha ha… idiots don’t know how to tie up a boat for a gale…”

Us:                  It was Spray.”

Friends:           various sundry explicatives.

We discovered this when we climbed aboard Spray on 2 January to move her to the port of Vannes (out of harm’s way for the winter gales…) and realized our mooring lines had been replaced by an elaborate web of lines and knots.  What was left of our mooring lines was in the cockpit.  A friend had told us about the article in the paper that morning, and we, too, laughed.  Ha ha …can’t be us.  We’ve got 2 heavy mooring lines protected with rubber tubes.”  A call to the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM, our maritime rescue service), confirmed ‘twas indeed Spray.

The mooring lines added by the SNSM.

What was left of our mooring lines.
 Here’s a translation of the newspaper article:

An Intervention by the SNSM in 40 knots of wind
It is perhaps the last intervention of 2012 for the SNSM in the Morbihan Gulf.  This afternoon around 15h00, the crew was called out to the Auray River.  In gale-force winds (> 40 knots), a lovely 10.5 meter sailboat parted from its mooring buoy and ran aground in the oyster park in front of Fort Espagnol.  To get the boat out of the oyster park and prevent it from running aground on the coast, a boat and a semi-rigid zodiac (rib) and 6 crew members were called to the zone.  A diver was required to enter the water to help extract the boat.  The intervention lasted two hours.  The sailboat was towed and re-attached solidly to another mooring buoy in the river.

Patrick’s first reaction to the article was “Did you see that? They said Spray was lovely!  In response to my glare, he continued, “Well, they could have said a sailboat owned by two idiots who don’t know how to tie up for a gale.”

And that’s the frustrating thing.  We thought we HAD tied up for a gale.  In 10 years of sailing on 25 different boats with 25 different skippers, we could never have imagined that our 2 new 14mm lines protected by rubber hoses could get sliced through in one storm.  The string of our mainsail tarp also got sliced in two…and that was cotton string rubbing against supple plastic !   A friend who looked at our mooring said we should have tied a bowline knot in the tube itself around the ring of the mooring buoy to eliminate as much chaffing as possible.  Oh sure, seems obvious now.

Oyster Park where Spray decided to spend her New Year's Eve.
Spray is now nestled down in the much-protected port of Vannes, tied up at the dock with water and electricity, an easy 15-minute walk from home.  There was no apparent damage, no water, no fissures or cracks, but we now have to have her taken out of the water and inspected by an expert from our insurance company.  If you’re wondering (as most of our friends were) the bill from the SNSM is 800 Euros ($1040 USD), most of which the insurance will pay. The oyster park manager says he didn’t have much damage, just a few of his oyster tables pushed over, which he can put back in place without too much trouble. 

One friend said, “No damage, no injuries, well-insured, and happened in winter when the sailing sucks anyway …pretty lucky !”  Another says Neptune has apparently decided to offer us an accelerated training course in the vagaries of the sea for 2012.  I sure hope that was the final exam. With time and distance (and whiskey), we’re beginning to get over the shock and add this to our ever-growing list of “at-sea experiences”.  Live and learn..

Out of the way of winter gales in the port of Vannes.

For more articles on anchoring, visit The Monkey's Fist !