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Sailboat trip to Caribbean ends the day it began...

Oct 22, 2014
10,669
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Ah. The solution to survival during a Minnesota winter.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,938
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Those photos give me the shivers. We went into Rockport (the lesser) Harbor for the first time this season, slowly with 3 separate chart plotters in the cockpit. In broad daylight, in the lee of the South wind afforded by Cape Ann, I remember the entrance was a total mystery until we were right in it. The CP's showed it clearly, you just can't see it until you're in it. Once inside, you turn fast, it is SO small, there's barely room for two boats to pass each other. I was mentally not picturing the reality of the scale until I saw it(or the inner harbor which is surprisingly small after looking at e-charts.

I was sailing last weekend and our weather was (and still easy) breezy and from the N, NW. I'm thinking they came into the entrance on strong following winds and big seas, in the dark, perhaps Sunday night?

Tired and sick, it was a desperate move if you ask me. But I don't know what was going on in the boat. I've made worse choices and gotten away with it.

But the simple and safe choice might have been easily entered Gloucester Harbor downwind another hour or two, if someone was sick. Completely protected by a huge jetty and well lit, it's easy.

The boat looks like it may be a ChrisCraft Apache?
 
  • Like
Likes: Will Gilmore
Aug 9, 2011
1,076
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Animal House. Kent “Flounder “ Dorfman.
@JRacer did I win the big prize? Weren’t you just in South Carolina?
Was there over Christmas last year, son lives there. But, he is currently undergoing AF flight training in Wichita Falls TX until about this time next year.
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
Those photos give me the shivers. We went into Rockport (the lesser) Harbor for the first time this season, slowly with 3 separate chart plotters in the cockpit. In broad daylight, in the lee of the South wind afforded by Cape Ann, I remember the entrance was a total mystery until we were right in it. The CP's showed it clearly, you just can't see it until you're in it. Once inside, you turn fast, it is SO small, there's barely room for two boats to pass each other. I was mentally not picturing the reality of the scale until I saw it(or the inner harbor which is surprisingly small after looking at e-charts.

I was sailing last weekend and our weather was (and still easy) breezy and from the N, NW. I'm thinking they came into the entrance on strong following winds and big seas, in the dark, perhaps Sunday night?

Tired and sick, it was a desperate move if you ask me. But I don't know what was going on in the boat. I've made worse choices and gotten away with it.

But the simple and safe choice might have been easily entered Gloucester Harbor downwind another hour or two, if someone was sick. Completely protected by a huge jetty and well lit, it's easy.

The boat looks like it may be a ChrisCraft Apache?
I too am wondering the full story... the article is really missing details.

That harbor entrance reminds me of the Oceanside Harbor entrance on the west coast... when approaching from the south... you think you have it, you think you know right where it is, then, as you get a bit closer, you realize you were looking at the jetty just to the north of the pier... and suddenly your "reality" shifts and you realize where the real opening is.

I have done this approach dozens of times, mostly in good daylight, and I seem to get the same "surprise" every time. Perhaps if I approached from way out at sea instead from hugging the coast from the south. I think part of it is the curved inner wall and how it appears as background to the actual entrance.

It is amazing how deceiving it can be.... and as I said, I've entered dozens of times. I am always cautious, knowing how deceiving it can be.

Once inside, it is quite obvious.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,669
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I too am wondering the full story... the article is really missing details.
Agree.
My thoughts went to the entrance at both Edmonds and Port Hudson here in the Puget Sound. Both have narrow entrances that require a sharp turn to find the safety of the harbor. Both can be approaches to a lee shore if the wind and waves are from the wrong direction. Trying to do this at night, when seasick, and for the first time is not a task for a novice sailor.
There is more to the story that has not been shared.
 

Brian D

Moderator
Feb 17, 2006
4,588
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
The first thing I notice is no light on the jetty. There is a red flashing light on the breakwater at the entrance to Rockport Harbor. But that is it. I wonder why no light has been place there.

@genec, Oceanside is my home and I have been tricked more than once. That was before I decided to way point the opening on my GPS. Not that I really need it but if I have been out all day and it is getting dark, it is hard to see the flashing red and green lights.

I use the sealion bouy as my turn point. This give me enough setup time for the turn into the harbor. Once at the entrance, instead of turning right I go straight into the military base.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
The first thing I notice is no light on the jetty. There is a red flashing light on the breakwater at the entrance to Rockport Harbor. But that is it. I wonder why no light has been place there.

@genec, Oceanside is my home and I have been tricked more than once. That was before I decided to way point the opening on my GPS. Not that I really need it but if I have been out all day and it is getting dark, it is hard to see the flashing red and green lights.

I use the sealion bouy as my turn point. This give me enough setup time for the turn into the harbor. Once at the entrance, instead of turning right I go straight into the military base.
Yeah, I have it waypointed too... and for exactly that reason. The other thing that throws me off is being able to see that multi-story building behind the marina long before you arrive (from the south... my usual direction... ), but it sort of fades into the background "noise" just as you get to the opening.
 
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Likes: Brian D
Apr 14, 2009
636
Sabre 28 NH
The first thing I notice is no light on the jetty. There is a red flashing light on the breakwater at the entrance to Rockport Harbor. But that is it. I wonder why no light has been place there.
It's not much of jetty south of the light 6 entrance. If they were coming from the north you'd think they would have lined up light 6 harbor entrance with nun 4 unless they cut it. That's the only reason I can come up. After that asleep at the switch.

My mistake, it wasn't the jetty we drifted into striper fishing, was the breakwater a mile out.
 
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Likes: Brian D
Jan 20, 2005
783
Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32 Erie PA
I'd like to find a way to contact the unfortunate sailors . with winter coming , they could use some warm clothes and household goods.
 
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Likes: seaojoe
Dec 29, 2008
705
Treworgy 65' Custom Steel Pilothouse Staysail Ketch St. Croix, Virgin Islands
If I read the article correctly, they were sailing to the Caribbean from Maine, via the Panama canal and South Pacific. But plans have changed, and they will take a train now?
Does that train stop at all the islands, like PR, STT, JVD, STX, STM, etc.? (those sound like train stop designations, but not sure.)
 
Jul 9, 2018
65
Catalina 25 Lake Monroe
I googled "Steve Davis" to see if there was a follow-up story with more details. I didn't find one, but I did find four other tragic boat stories with four different guys named "Steve Davis".

I guess the moral is: Don't be Steve Davis. :badbad: