Help from a neighbor

While anchored in Blakely Harbor over the weekend, we watched an example of neighborly support. [Map of area.]


About 7:30 Sunday morning, a dinghy sped across the bay east of us. This was a little odd, because it was a cold and rainy morning, not ideal for a dinghy tour. Then we saw its destination—a sailboat aground near pilings along the north shore. We were surprised that we hadn’t noticed the grounded boat the day before, but then realized a sailboat was missing from its mooring along the south shore. We anchor at Blakely Harbor a lot, and that sailboat almost always is moored along the south shore. The boat must have come free overnight and blown across to the north shore. The winds weren’t very strong, at most 20 knots at West Point on the opposite side of the Puget Sound, so that likely wasn’t the issue. Unrelated, the Coast Guard reported another vessel blown aground east of nearby Eagle Harbor that morning also.


The dinghy then travelled towards the head, and met up with a neighbor in a capable-looking aluminum power cat. The two then set off to try to free the sailboat. The cat maneuvered between the pilings and a line was run from the cat’s bow to the sailboat. Water churned up behind the cat as they attempted to pull the sailboat free, but the ground vessel did not budge. The boat was well over on its side and the tide was falling. The dinghy crew had climbed aboard the sailboat and were trying to apply weight up high to tip the boat over further and get the keel out of the mud. Eventually, they were successful and the boat came free. They then worked the sailboat through pilings and tied it off to a nearby dock. The boat didn’t appear to have any exterior damage—if so, they were lucky that it didn’t smash into those pilings instead of grounding. And they were lucky to have such a helpful and capable neighbor.


In the pictures below, the first picture, looking east towards Seattle from our anchorage near the head of Blakely Harbor, shows the sailboat at its mooring the night before. And in the last photo, the boat moored beside the sailboat is Our Island, a 68-foot DeFever-designed steel trawler featured in the current (April/08) issue of PassageMaker magazine.


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2 comments on “Help from a neighbor
  1. We’ve long watched your power cat come and go in sometimes quite rough water and commented on how good it looked. Apparently it’s a competent tow boat as well.

    It’s good to see fellow boaters spring to action when help is needed. Thanks for the note.

    James & Jennifer

  2. Kim Bottles says:

    We had no idea anyone was watching that rainy morning when Bill Jones and I freed his Olsen 30 from the north shore! Bill’s mooring buoy let go and the Olsen drifted north overnight. It was no big deal helping him, he is a fellow sailor, a neighbor and a great guy to boot!

    Kim Bottles
    PowerCat "Ceol Luaithe"
    Blakely Harbor, Bainbridge Island, Washington

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