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Sunday, August 28, 2011

A SEA STORY........

Being anchored for 2 days at Smuggler's on Santa Cruz island reminds me of an incident that took place there a few years back. I was anchored there with my schooner Shearwater with a charter party onboard. A large south swell was coming into the open road stead and I noted that a lovely 40' ketch was anchored bow and stern very close to the beach. As a large swell would come in, the boat would surge towards the beach loading up the bow anchor. As the back wash came off the beach the boat would surge forward and load up the stern anchor. As evening approached I found it unbelievable that any skipper would allow their boat to see-saw back and forth in such a dangerous position going into the night? I jumped into my rubber boat and pulled alongside the ketch and suggested to the skipper that he move further offshore before nightfall. The man totally brushed me off--said he was anchored in his favorite spot and pretty much left me with the impression to mind my own business. While sleeping deck about 0200 I was awakened by the sound of groaning diesel engines. A Coast Guard boat out of Oxnard had the beach illuminated and had men ashore trying to bridle the ketch which was now laying sideways on the beach being pounded by heavy surf. I watched for about an hour and as the tide came in the Coast Guard was successful. These were the days when the Coast Guard would attempt to save property as well as lives. With the ketch in tow I observed the C.G cutter disappear out of sight in the direction of Channel Islands harbor. At day break, I scoured the beach with my binoculars and noted a small dingy and other boat gear where the ketch had been. With a crew member with me we to the beach and found bags of sails, a teak boarding ladder, a sailing dinghy, line, life jackets, the stern anchor and rode etc. We were also able to pull in the bow anchor rode and found that the shackle pin had worked out of the anchor shackle. It took us several trips to load our salvage aboard Shearwater. Now, if the skipper of that ketch had been a bit nicer to me I would have located the owner of the boat and returned his gear. As it was, I took the salvage to my store and sold it for about $2500.00.........A nickels worth of seizing wire lashing the shackle pin to the shackle body might have prevented the beaching of a lovely yacht?

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