Sink That Dinghy!

On the second day of our Great Loop trip we managed to sink our dinghy! I don’t have any pictures because we were in full emergency mode trying to save this thing, but let me tell ya, it was sad to see our Salty ll filled to the gunwales with water. Believe it or not, It happened in about a second.
We were anchoring in the lee of Gardiner Island in the Point Judith Pond, Rhode Island. The shiny new Mantus anchor hanging from the bow pulpit was a Christmas present to ourselves. We were trying it for the very first time. Unfortunately, we were so focused on its performance that we didn’t notice our dinghy’s painter had wrapped around the port side prop. When I backed down to set the new anchor, SaIty II was instantly dragged underwater.
“What’s that noise? That doesn’t sound good,” the XO said.
When we looked aft, it was a wicked shocking sight. The bow of our aluminum dinghy was caught under Ginger Lee’s hull on the port side, nearly two feet below the water level! Thankfully, smaller boats are required by law to have a certain amount of floatation, thereby saving the expensive new Mercury outboard hanging off the transom.
In total savior mode, the XO quickly donned her wet suit and goggles and entered the water. With a serrated knife she managed to cut away the line, freeing the dinghy, but not the rope tightly looped around the prop shaft. After several attempts, and many cuts on her hands from sharp barnacles, she had enough diving, but still found the energy to rescue the dinghy’s contents which were quickly floating away.
With scoopers cut from water jugs, we furiously bailed out our sunken friend. Then, with a snorkel mask, my wife’s wet suit, and a pair of leather gloves, I was eventually able to untangle the line from the shaft. Let me tell ya, it’s hard for an adrenalin filled 65-year-old to hold his breath for more than about ten seconds. It took me five dives.
Even though it was a fairly traumatic experience, we worked the problem, solved it as a team, saved Salty II, and didn’t ever swear! It was friggin’ exhausting.
I’m proud of the way we handled it. Let’s just say the rest of the night was filled with rum and love.    SOCOBO 7/14/17

XO and Salty II.

5 thoughts on “Sink That Dinghy!

  1. Thank God the both of you & Salty II got out of this with “only” minor injuries…
    The first thing I thought when reading this is: when cutting the line from the shaft, is if there is any pent-up torque that freeing the line would release? Which of course would be no match for leather gloves, and could cause great injury as the prop takes a couple of spins releasing the pressure from somewhere in the drive system?…

    • Another thought is to ask if having a few rope floats on the tow rope, or even a long foam pool noodle from the dollar store that the kids like, would be helpful to keep the rope on top of the water in the future..??

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