The week started out in Little Current, enjoying the company of other Loopers, spending a night in the Little Current Towndocks, having an enjoyable time.

A Tall Ship with several students aboard came in, see them up the mast in the photo.  They took turns as Skipper, and when they barked orders, you could hear them plain.  AAAARRRRR Matey, that’s the way to run a vessel!

We anchored in Vidal Bay, a large storm was brewing and we didn’t want to be on the water when it hit.  The anchorage was not the most pleasant, but there were few areas with ground that would hold an anchor, so it kept us safe.  Friday morning, we were up and sailed into Drummond for border clearance, ALMOST.

Now the bad news.  Upon entry into Drummond Island, we had a shipwreck on the rocks.  Happened friday, had to be pulled off the rocks, then rescued by the Coast Guard.  They were able to save our vessel by attaching an additional gasoline pump to the bilge, and attaching their vessel to ours to tow us to the nearest marina (Drummond Island Yacht Haven), as our rudder was broken so we had no helm control.

Mary Beth and I are both safe, although she is a little banged up from being tossed around the cabin when they pulled to boat off the rocks, the boat turned on her side.  (I was in the dingy, taking the rope to the tow)

The boat is now on land, standing on racks, and the damage is considerable.  The bottom of the full keel is split and torn, with large holes (only on the bottom), from fore to aft, the largest of the holes at the stern.  The centerboard still works, but seems very loose and sloppy, and will have to be taken apart and the hold for the centerboard will need to be rebuilt.  The rudder is split, and the rudder shaft (inside the rudder) and the main rudder shaft (attaching the rudder to the boat) and probably the rudder shaft in the boat are all bent, split, and unuseable.  The tiller (2″ of layered, laminated wood) is completely split in two.

Other than that, there are just several scratches and dings.

We have notified the insurance, pictures have been taken, and an appraiser is on his way for monday.  From there we will decide what is to happen, and will keep everyone posted.

What happened?  This is an extremely rocky area, as has been the Georgian Bay and North Channel area, so it is required to be very, very attentive and know exactly where you are at all times.  I will not try to make excuses, simply explain what happened, the fault is of course, all mine.

There are two methods of entering Drummond, one is longer and deep water all the way, I chose to take the narrow channel.  This is one of the areas on this trip that does not have the charts for my Garmin Chartplotter.
I had paper charts, and marked and navigated as I was trained, and have done this entire trip.  Upon rounding a corner, and seeing a red buoy (the buoys are reversed here, as we are headed downstream) I kept the red buoy to port and headed towards the next green buoy.  When we checked the number on the red buoy, it was not the number we expected it to be, and so were confused.  I continued heading towards the next green buoy, keeping it to starboard, and when we could see the number on the buoy, it to was a different number than I expected, and was not on the chart at all.  While I was looking at the chart, the boat bumped bottom, and within seconds we were in about 18 inches of water riding over rocks.  I notified the Coast Guard to stand by, we were going to try and get off ourselves, we both stood on the side to try and heel the boat, and it did, but not enough apparently.  We thought we were moving (could see the rocks move on the bottom) so we continued to try.  After a time, we saw the same bottom, and realized we were just moving in a circle, which is when I put out a distress call.

Help was very professional and quick, a towboat came from Drummond and pulled us off (this took several tries, he was about to give up and call a larger boat when he gave it “one more try” and she came).  By this time, the Coast Guard was already there to watch proceedings, and make sure we were not leaking fuel nor oil into the water.

When the boat was off the rocks, Mary Beth checked the bilge (I was still in the dingy) and the pump was on, and the bilge still filling with water.  She would be under in minutes.  The Coast Guard very quickly moved alongside and waited for me to regain access to the boat. (I rowed fast!).  When I determined there was nothing I could do, they attached themselves alongside, took out their gasoline powered water pump, and started pumping water.  They attached their inflatable boat (large one, they had 5 crew aboard) to ours, and took us to Drummond Island Yacht Haven, where they had the boat lift ready for us, and took the boat out of the water.

Mary Beth hugged each coast guard member.  We thanked them, and then had to clear customs.  Another Looper had been following our distress, and had the customs officer aboard their boat when we arrived, and we went over to their boat to do the paperwork.

Both Customs, and the Coast Guard were incredibly helpful and friendly, as was (and still is) the staff at Drummond Island Yacht Haven.  They have all made this terrible experience a little easier to bear.

At this point, we are unsure what this means for our trip.  The appraiser, and fiberglass folks will be here monday, and hopefully we can determine our course then.

Joe & Mary Beth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”

2 Responses to “Shipwreck!”

  1. Karen Says:

    Oh Dear! Glad to hear everyone is OK and we await an update on the situation. Hope Drummond Island is a nice spot to be shipwerecked. Lots of love and talk soon Karen
    Sorry we missed your Call ( we actually got some sun today so we were out. We will talk soon)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Glad to here that your “high” and dry. With the American booze that is. I hope that the food is just as good! I’m sure your are meeting lots of beautiful people there. It sounds like their awesome, except for the A-Hole that splashed you Joe. We are thinking of you alot. Adam and Lucas are always asking where you are and if I’ve talked to you lately. Lucas is at the age [10years] where he’s quite concerned about pirates and stuff happening to you. Oh and also sharks and whales if they hit your boat. I reasure him Uncle J knows what he is doing and if not Auntie M will take over the helm. Can’t wait next weekend we’ll be digging clams. Will arive at Dad’s around 7pm or 8pm Sat night. Uncled Lionel is going to bring his trailer down around 8pm or so. I hope dad will be OK if you know what I mean. Were thinking of sending Lucas and Adam up to the door and ask if they seen their mom around, and that their lost. It should be good. As long as the plane gets there ok. I will be taking an ativan and a couple stiff drinks befoe I get on board thats foooorrrr sure. After Adam the last time we flew out, He said mom I see smoke coming out of the wings!! We were just going through clouds at the time. Any way hopefully everything goes your way from now til your return to PEI. Stay in touch LOVE YOU BOTH and BE SAFE !!!!!!!!!!! xxxxoooooAmy,Lucas, Adam and Todd.

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