Disaster Strikes Off Cape May

May 19, 2018 – Jim Costello joins us for the ride down the Delaware to Cape May.  Everything goes smoothly until we strike a sand bank on Prissy Wicks Shoals, some 5 nm from Cape May.  We were retracing a track we had taken some 2-3 times before, but this time we ran into a 4-foot deep sand bank in low tide and keeled over.  While Thach was trying to maneuver Emmanou off the sandbank, Jim called the Coast Guard and they sent Sea Tow for assistance.  Rollers continued to buffet Emmanou from the beam as Sea Tow took nearly an hour to arrive (one small boat and a larger one).  The smaller boat took a shot at dragging us off the sand bank to little effect, before giving way to the bigger Tow Boat.  It took over two hours before Emmanou was freed with the help of a rising tide and a full thrust from the main engine.  Biggest casualty was the loss of both stabilizers (designed to break off).  The cockpit had also filled up, and we lost various loose items from there, including both scuba diving bottles (one of which, riding up and down the starboard companionway before leaving the boat, did damage to the gelcoat, and the other riding the breakers to come back torpedo-like to give a nice crack to the outside of the boat).  We headed into the Canyon Club in Cape May for a haul out to evaluate the damage, but their lift sling capacity was insufficient to get us into the yard for repairs — just a quick lift out of the water for a visual inspection which showed minimal damage to the hull.  The nearest yard that could take us was Pleasure Cove Marina in Baltimore, so we backtracked two days there without stabilizers – luckily the seas were calm.  Three weeks of repairs and with new stabilizers and a freshly painted bottom (other cosmetic stuff would have to wait till the Winter break in Florida), Emmanou splashed back in the water and resumed her trip North.

Emmanou keeled over on the sand bank
Thach on the bow ready to catch a line from Seatow
Seatow pull
Emmanou haul out at Pleasure Cove Marina, Baltimore
Backing into the hanger
Stabilizer gone
What 6 1/2 ft draft looks like
Brand new stabilizer before splash


6 thoughts on “Disaster Strikes Off Cape May”

  1. I bet that registered ZERO on the fun meter! Probably won’t laugh about it for quite a while! Certainly not until the repairs are paid off.

  2. Bet you have more gray hair. Glad you weren’t hurt or that you didn’t incur more damage.
    Happy to hear you are on the mend. Bin voyage!

  3. Mon dieu!
    The angst and the suspense
    The extent of the expense
    The learning curve
    But no loss of nerve…
    So glad you extricated yourselves from so potentially dangerous a situation.

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