Rough start, made friends with the Coast Guard

We spent a night at anchor in Barnegat Harbor, NJ. There had been passing thunderstorms in the night. We left around 7:30AM. And that’s when it all started. The first day we wondered if we were meant to be sailors. Before breakfast we’d found ourselves making friends with the Coast Guard. 

After many attempts to get new electronics installed on the boat we still hadn’t found any boatyards that could haul out a vessel our size nearby, or that would have time to install electronics. So, no sonar. For the second time since leaving Virginia with our new boat we’d come aground—but this time it was on the gnarly rocks of a submersed breakwater, not a sandy shoal in Ocean City bay. I’d lead us right over it. We have a depth finder—but when it goes from 14 to nothing there isn’t much warning. 

Chip had been on the bench between us, then he was gone. I thought for sure he’d been knocked clear into the water, but he came roaring up the steps and onto my lap about as fast as he’d disappeared. I held him tightly as the relentless tide dragged and spun us over the rocks again. 

A fishermen on a small boat nearby zipped over to our port side and yelled with directions on how to maneuver off the rocks. Another boat came up from starboard with two more men. They all motioned the same way, which made me feel better than just listening to one yahoo. We were able to get over the breakwater without taking out our propellers. 

The first guy who hollered from his boat stayed with us and called the USCG. Suddenly we were hailed on the radio. What is your location? Is there a medical emergency? How many people are on board? I felt like saying two idiots, but didn’t want to speak for Kevin. 

Our coordinates weren’t displayed on the chart plotter—in fact nothing was. Later we realized it’d been unplugged when we hit. It took some fumbling on Kevin’s navigation app on his phone to get them, by then they’d spotted us anyhow. They asked permission to board, which we gave them. A young man in an impressive mustache, who obviously lives for leaping off boats, jumped from their vessel to ours while two other men held out fenders for the bump. He looked everything over and said it looked alright. 

We may have a slight leak in the starboard bilge. It had poured the night before so we thought it may just be from that—or maybe the water from the sinks had filled it up? Kevin flipped the switch to pump it out, but it burned out.

Everything was everywhere. We hit the rocks so violently that nearly everything on every surface was on the floor. A kettle that was on the galley stove on the starboard side was in the aft port cabin. 

With that out of the way, we headed up the coastline toward our next anchorage, to keep an eye on things before choosing which one to stay at tonight.

Get updates from this epic journey by subscribing below

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *