|Looks can be deceiving: Troubadour is hard aground on the reef between Hartman Bay and Hog Island, Grenada.|
(Rescue photos courtesy of Lilly and Tom, S/V Tiger Lilly.)
|Troubadour was on the reef in seconds; Scull and crossbones marks the spot - obviously not 5 fathoms there. Harrowing reminder on chartplotter reliance.|
|Dinghies from nearby rushed to our aide.|
|Familiar faces and new faces arrive and begin the process of kedging us off the reef.|
|Pulling on the halyards begins to heel Troubadour, while the kedges and dinghies help pull/push her to deeper water.|
|In addition to helping hands, horsepower was critical.|
The assistance of this power boat with big engines made all the difference in pulling our halyards to heel us over. Despite lots of effort, the first few attempts with dinghies resulted in them being blown downwind, where the pull didn't help.
|Troubadour heels nearly to the toe rail and floats clear of the bottom. |
(Notice the red buoy on the far right in this picture.)
Once off the reef we were immediately back into 40 ft of water. Unfortunately, as we move into deeper water, damage to the rudder is evident. With on-deck help of Barb from La Luna and Stephen from Blue Pelican, we slowly entered Hartman Bay, maintaining steering control despite the damage, and anchored without incident. Once moored, Chris and I snorkeled on the rudder and saw first hand the damage. While we lost one section of the rudder, we lashed the remainder to reinforce it. There was no damage to the keel. We stayed at anchor until we could arrange for a haul out day with calm weather at Spice Island Marine.
|Troubadour awaits her turn on the "gurney" aka Travelift.|
We arranged for three extra dinghies, and extra hands on deck, for the short journey from Hartman Bay to Spice Island Marine. We made it under our own power at 3 kts in flat seas and less than 5 kts of wind. Maybe it was overkill to have so much help, but it was good to know we had capable people ready to help if the rudder fell off on the way.
|The starboard side of the rudder, showing the "chewing" damage one would expect after encountering bottom.|
|A chunk of the rudder cracked away as we emerged from the reef (and we thank whoever it was that brought it back for us). In car speak, the rudder is "totalled".|
Our rudder was trashed, but now it also appears that the rudder has had a number of repairs prior to us purchasing the boat, none of which were revealed by the purchase survey. Truthfully, once faired and painted, short of seller disclosure or an x-ray, I’m not sure it could have been discovered until being stressed. Basically, once the fiberglass skin cracked off, we could see lots of bondo/filler, "Great Stuff" type foam, what appears to be a missing section of shaft, and balsa core in the bottom half of the rudder. As several people have told us, perhaps it’s good it was stressed on the reef here, two miles from a boatyard, rather than in heavy seas in a storm far from land.
|Good night Troubadour. Tomorrow's another day.|
Sailors say: there are those who have gone aground and those who are going to. We are grateful to all who showed up to help a stranger, and went off quietly into the sunset. Count on us to pay it forward.
A heartfelt thank you to the captains and crew of the following vessels who helped us off the reef and to the boat yard. Please let us know if we have missed anyone, it is not intentional.
Le Phar Blue
Zero to Cruising
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