Chart-Reading, Buoy-Minding Failure
While working on Looking For Elvis today, I witnessed an act of supreme marine incompetence. A pretty little sloop, Ragman, homeported in Boston, MA, was entering Newport Harbor, taking part in what looked like a yacht club cruise. Sadly, the skipper and his crew ignored two things: 1. The large green gong marking the harbor entrance. 2. A quick look at the chart, which would have told them that cutting the above-mentioned buoy would mean trouble. Blithely ignoring both valuable aids to navigation, and in a hurry to get to a marina, they cut very close to the south end of Goat Island, where the water is notoriously shallow. As I watched, mouth agape, they struck bottom. Thankfully they were able to wave off another small sloop following them, who were wisely using Ragman as a depth sounder as they entered an unfamiliar harbor.
A Free Rescue from an Oldport Marine workboat.
I wasn’t the only witness. An Oldport launch was returning from a Brenton Cove run and called the Oldport workboat on the VHF. The workboat responded quickly and towed the hapless crew of Ragman off the bottom. Safe and sound, the witless wonders proceeded to motor off at high speed toward Newport Shipyard, making up for their lost time so they could get to the Mensa meeting they nearly missed.
Pray that when you commit such a grievous error that some cruel blogger with a dislike of poor seamanship isn’t near by pointing a camera at you.