Monday, February 11, 2008

Rescue at sea!

From the Sailing Anarchy Boards - link at tht bottom - what a great story! We got home early this afternoon from a great birthday weekend. The weather was perfect - 60's and sunny, slight breeze. I got my 4 year old and our little sabot and headed down the road to the back bay. We invited a couple friends to come out for their first time sailing. We knew the tide was heading out, and that I would probably have to wade through shin deep mud to get back to solid ground. Still, it looked to be a great afternoon. The first group of us goes out. Two adults and a 4 year old crammed into an 8' sabot! We do this often, and it is fun for short trips. We tack out to the open area of the back bay and go through the basics of sailing. On our run back in, we noticed a sand bar appearing above the water! As we get closer we realize just how fast the tide is going out. So, instead of trying to sail back to our starting point, we make a straight line to the nearest shore to bail out. Unfortunately, as we get closer, we realize we will never make it. I climb out and start to sink into the mud. There is no wading through this. I am looking at belly crawling out and then getting boards to get the other two out. It isn't happening. We do everything we can, and finally claw our way back into deep water (6"-10"). We are looking at a 3+ hour sail in the dark to get to the main bay and get out at the marina. At this point, that is not a big deal. As we are getting out to the channel, we hit another shallow spot and really stick it. 5 minutes later, the mud is visible on the surface all around the boat except at the stern. We figure we are done for and are going to have to wait about 4-6 hours to get some water under us. At the same time, my wife is on shore, aware we are stuck, and calls on the cell. We tell her we are going to have to wait it out and we'll call her when we need her to shine her headlights on the ramp so we can see where to go across the bay. We also get on the phone with the friend on the shore who is concerned about his wife on the boat with me and my son. Afterall, it is their first time out, we are stuck and it is getting dark and cooling off. She convinces him we are going to be fine, but a little late for dinner. The crowds are now growing along the shore. The husband remembers another mutual friend who works for the local fire dept. He calls just to make sure there is nothing else we can do. In the mean time, I managed to break us out of the mud and we are again clawing our way to the channel. The phone rings again, but from our fire dept friend. We walk him through what we are doing and he says ok. Shortly after, we get a call from the Coast Guard wanting to come rescue us. Then, the Harbor Patrol. Then, we get a call from the fire dept. which has sent 4 trucks to somehow reach us in the middle of the bay. We think they thought we were still near shore. We are again sailing at this point. Long story somewhat shortened, we see two jet skis from a different group (I have to find out who they were) flying in the channel with rescue equipment and behind them is the flashing blue strobe of the Harbor Patrol. We get towed back and get home safely without freezing and playing in the mud. All involved offered to let us finish our sail and come in on our own, but all were there to make sure we made it. Each rescue organization called to check in afterwards to make sure we were warm and home safe. I was amazed at how much help was offered. And, while all recognized we were ok, they kept watch to make sure we stayed that way. We enjoyed the tow in and are very grateful they were their with the ability to get to us. It might have been a slow night in a small town, but the confidence we have in our rescue groups grew. While my pride suffered to accept the tow, I know after seeing how much help came in such a minor incident, my wife and I both feel that much safer with our family out in the water.So, to the Morro Bay Fire Dept., Coast Guard, Harbor Patrol and the group that towed us out (I will post your name tomorrow after i find it out) And to all the rescue volunteers and staff everywhere who do this and much much more...THANK YOU for what you do.From all three and of us on board the 8' Sabot Sanity and our spouses.

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