Waterfront: Helping Boaters in Need

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Trying to right a capsized boat
Trying to right a capsized boat

Summer continues on Newport Harbor with an active amount of boaters seven days a week.

As proud grandparents ourselves, we really delight in watching youngsters operating family vessels up to 20 feet, and the seven year olds (and above) being tutored and learning sailboat racing tactics and competition.

Last Friday I was returning SunDance to her slip when I observed two 12 year olds (or so) who were trying to right their capsized 14-foot sailboat at low tide.

Remembering at that age being in the same situation in my Snowbird, there was no doubt in my mind that the end of the mast was impaled in the bay bottom mud. Without three or four hundred pounds more weight, no matter how much they stood on the dagger board, they would not right the submerged vessel.

I stopped and watched two men on kayaks try to help them, but by their action, I had the opinion they had never righted a sailboat in this predicament.

I suggested they allow me to safely get close enough to give me the bow line and I would tow the boat ten or fifteen feet into the current, and the mast would be clear of the mud and the vessel could be righted and bailed out.

One of the gentlemen handed me line on the port hull. I tied it to our stern cleat and reminded everyone to stay away from my vessel. I pulled their boat about 15 feet. They righted the water soaked sloop, climbed in and started bailing water with their hands. Normally, small sailboats have what we refer to as a bailing bucket, but I did not see one floating around.

Within a few short minutes the two youngsters could sail off even though there was still 8 to 12 inches of water in the boat, but I could tell by their actions they would make it back to shore. There is a Corinthian tradition that boaters help other boaters in need, and that tradition continues. If you’re boating and someone needs help; don’t hesitate!

 Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

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