It's Oct 15th and we are barreling along with an outgoing tide cross the Poquoson flats off York County Va. We left Sara's creek early this morning. For breakfast ate fried bacon and eggs with crunchy Toast done on top the alcohol stove, with a little stainless steel wire toaster. There's a wonderful device for ya. We were finishing up the last of the coffee.
We passed through long lines of crab pots that we had been dodging. Crab pots are good news for Wolftrap when sailing in the shallows. I usually figure if we have the board up we can go any place a crabber can go in his Chesapeake bay bateau.
I wasn't paying attention as I should of been. It's easy to watch when you're coming into crab pots but coming out of them is a little different. My eye always has a tendency when not looking for something in particular, to follow the scenery, the distant gulls, a bunch of boats working a school of fish or maybe a freighter coming up the bay headed for Baltimore. That's when it happens we slow to a stop for no good reason, unless it be that we are aground.
I start the engine put her in reverse, Nothing happens. When driven onto the shallows running down wind at nearly seven knots you don't back off with an eight horse power engine. So with the tide going out we were in for a wait. Luckily the tide was nearly low when we run up on the bar. In two hours we might float again. The bad news was we would be sailing against the tide down to the bottom end of Hampton a but we would have a tide with us going into Hampton Roads. We took down sail and put on a pot of coffee, got out the books and enjoyed our visit. After looking the chart over and plotting our exact location right on the edge of a marked channel.
Before running aground we had just crossed the little channel coming from out from
Langley Air force base. The boats running in and out had most likely raised the sand bar along it's edge and that is what we were setting on. After taking a second of looking around I saw the long line of markers coming out of the creek. I guess I had been sailing in a state of coma. There is a thing easily done in home waters.
I could see off in the distance work boats coming, heading for the creek I hoped. When they got closer I radioed them and asked them to rock me hard. I was some surprised to get them on the marine radio. Most of the time they use ham radio and keep the marine radio turned down so they don't have to listen to it. I sat a few more minutes and then started the engine.
They took me at my word and were running full bore and close to my side of the channel.
I felt like with such a small engine I would not be able to back off wither their wake hitting Wolf trap's stern. I put her in forward and full throttle. When the wake hit us we went forward and I headed out dragging on the bottom and nearly coming to a stop but then getting a fresh start as each wave hit us. Finally getting into deeper water we were underway again.
Getting on the radio I bid them farewell and a big thanks for the wake and they returned “Rodger That Cap'n”
We put some sail onto her dropped a little board and vowed to stay off the bottom for a time. I have often said we should have named her ground hog. I have never run any boat aground as much as I had Woftrap. With a shallow, aluminum bottom well protected with epoxy we took a lot of chances and we grounded a lot.
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