I cant help but thinking that given their lack of experience, gear, 
preparation, and age of boat...the fact that they got away alive is a blessing. 
  If not then, it might be next time.  These things do not happen in a vacuum 
and some other event will more than likely befall them again if they do not 
take the time to gain some experience first.

David F. Risch

1981 40-2

(401) 419-4650 (cell)

From: CnC-List <cnc-list-boun...@cnc-list.com> on behalf of Bruce Whitmore via 
CnC-List <cnc-list@cnc-list.com>
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2018 8:01 AM
To: cnc-list@cnc-list.com
Cc: Bruce Whitmore
Subject: Re: Stus-List Short Cruise!

I go in & out of John's Pass most weekends, and saw the boat laying on its side 
on Saturday.  Very sad.

There's a few things I've learned from the local reports, however.

1).  The couple was relying on charts to identify the bouys.  That doesn't 
here.  They move the markers in the pass somewhat regularly, as the shoaling 
changes where the sandbars are, and in fact, they just moved the bouys more 
south about a month ago, partially as a response to reports we had made to the 
bridge tender about touching bottom while still in the marked channel (we draw 
5 feet with the board up).  The current channel is way south now of where chart 
shows the bouys.

2).  They came in at night.  Bad move.  During the day, they would have had a 
much better chance of seeing the bouys.  Or, if they had been paying attention, 
they would have seen larger boats going in & out, and seen where they were 
entering & exiting the pass.  The would have also had a chance to see the 
breakers ahead, and known to stand off and reconsider the entrance.

3).  They could have called the bridge tender to reconfirm the right approach.  
They folks who run the bridges are very nice, and would be more than happy to 
help someone understand where the channel is.  I'm even somewhat surprised they 
didn't get a call on the radio warning them away.  The tender has called me 
more than once after they moved the markers to advise me of the change, and 
even recommended that I stay 200 yards south of the green mark just to be sure.

As for the keel bolts, I agree they shouldn't have failed during a soft 

It's also bothersome that they didn't have insurance.  I know they were broke, 
but boaters have a responsibility to make sure that there are funds for salvage 
in the case of a total loss.  They can crowdfund all they want, but someone's 
going to be coming after them for the salvage costs.

As an experienced sailor (20+ years in Chicago on Lake Michigan), I found (and 
am still finding) that I have lots to learn sailing down here in West Florida, 
while sailing here is much less hazardous from a weather perspective, the 
shallows, tides & currents make this part of Florida treacherous from a 
grounding perspective.

Not trying to pile on the couple for their loss, in fact I feel badly for them.

Just thinking about the lessons that can be learned,

Bruce Whitmore
1994 C&C 37/40+ "Astralis"
Madiera Beach, FL
(847) 404-5092 (mobile)


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