Sign in to follow this  
JasonSeibert

SORC Series - Schock 40 setback but not out...yet

Recommended Posts

I can't stress how much fun the Schock 40 is to sail. Let's keep that in mind. 

The following is the account of what happened to Gamble on the return delivery back to Palm Beach. I'm sure there will be plenty of arm chair quarterbacks on this one, and I'd expect nothing less from this fantastic group, regardless, by posting this here, I want to preserve the record and make sure everyone has a chance to learn from the incident. 

Regarding January 20/21, 2019.

 

S/V Gamble.

Two souls on board. Myself and Quantum Sails professional racer Evan Harrell.

 

We departed Conch Harbor Marina in Key West at approximately 9:15am after waiting out a storm front that swept through. We set reefs in the main and a blade jib for the delivery back to Cracker Boy boat yard in Riviera Beach, FL where the boat has been sailed on the hard for the SORC racing series.

 

Conditions were good for the boat. Wind at 120 at about 20kts. Well within the boat’s capabilities and with the reduced sail, a comfortable and fast ride. We saw speeds from 10 to 14 kts, which is right in the boat’s expected performance range.

Three other boats in the SORC series also left Key West at approximately the same time: Hillbilly, Harm’s Way, and Senara.

 

I kept an eye on the weather and determined that to reach Riviera Beach (Cracker Boy) we would be beating into weather for about 60 miles. Evan and I agreed that we could do it, but it wouldn’t be much fun. I decided to put the boat at Miami Beach Marina or the night, and at approximately 4:45pm, contacted Miami Beach Marina and reserved a slip. Our estimated time of arrival was between 10:30pm and 11:30pm depending on conditions.

 

We approached Fowey at approximately 10:30pm when the winds started oscillating between northwest to north and gusts started increasing to over 30kts on the northerly shifts. The boat was still handling perfectly and well under control.

We had the boat on port tack the entire way from Key West to Fowey, and kept the boat on port tack as we feathered and went into max point mode to get to Government Inlet before planning to tack over to starboard for entry into the jetties. The boat was still handling perfectly as we worked our way up to the channel, but with the winds moving more towards the north it became apparent we weren’t going to be able to get to the markers. This was not a concern as the navigation solution was to simply tack over when the jetties were made.

 

Boat configuration prior to tack:

 

Keel angle: max cant to 55 degrees (port side).

Single reef main

103 jib

Visibility clear. Full moon (prior to eclipse). Winds 25kts with 30kt+ gusts. Seastate 4-6 foot waves at 3-5 seconds.

 

Maneuver: Once the jetties were made, as part of tacking procedure on the boat, I tested the keel button. There was no response from the keel. The boat had power, but the keel was not responding. Evan took the helm and I checked the batteries. The batteries were fine, but the cable to the 24volt motor failed (the connector broke off the battery post). The boat was designed to have a backup keel position integrated into the electric pump and is operated from below decks behind the navigation station. The boat was in no danger, sailing well, and Evan and I determined the best way to tack the boat without the motor would be to drop the headsail and secure it to the deck first, then, tack the mainsail over while manually dumping the keel to center and pumping it over to the starboard side.

 

I was on the helm, Evan on the bow. We executed the jib drop by feathering slightly into the wind. With only two people on the boat it was not possible to drop the keel to center until the jib was tied down and Evan back on the helm. While the sail was being secured, a large wave and gust of wind from the north pushed the nose over and began an involuntary tack. The mainsail and keel were now on the down wind side and the boat compromised. She was knocked down. Evan, secured by harness and tether, made his way back to the cockpit while I released the mainsheet and began working my way inside the boat to the nav station.

 

I opened the nav station and dropped the dump valve to switch from motor pressure to hand pressure, then began pumping the keel to center/starboard. The boat popped back up, but was head to wind and no helm control. During the knockdown, supplies stowed in the aft/port bunk were thrown into the rudder quadrant that connects the forward and aft rudders and impaired the ability to maneuver the front keel (determined this later). With reduced helm control, the boat swayed back and forth from one knockdown side to the other with the strong gusts, but the keel in the center prevented the mast from going into the water. I lifted the motor hatch in the center cockpit and attempted to start the motor but it would not start. I made several attempts, but the wind and waves made the operation difficult as the motor had to be started from electric start button inside the motor well in the center of the cockpit. At one point, with the boat heeled over 30 degrees to starboard a gust of wind and a wave slammed the motor bay cover over onto my head and I lost consciousness for a moment. I regained awareness and informed Evan I was okay. We determined the only way to get control of the boat would be to drop the mainsail and motor in. The boat was now on its starboard side, Evan at the helm, and I was tethered into the port jackline while pulling the mainsail down by hand. The installed lazy jacks captured the mainsail as it was lowered and steadily the boat popped up as the mainsail was lowered and secured.

 

With no sail the boat began to drift to the north in the gulf stream. I took a quick inventory of status: Minor injury, no leaks, boat not taking on any water, full instrumentation, but no motorized keel control. I then attempted to start the motor again. The motor spun but would not start. I attempted to start the motor for approximately 20 minutes with no response. At that point I feared there was water intrusion. I pulled the dipstick and observed a milky white liquid as opposed to black oil. The motor was compromised. Based on the weather conditions, the inability to maneuver the boat, the compromise of the keel electrical systems, and the inability to get the motor started, for safety of vessel and crew, I decided to call for a tow; however, my phone was thrown into the bilge and got wet. I then hailed US Coast Guard to request assistance.

 

Time: approximately 11:45pm (this is a guess, I was not able to write down in the ship’s log the exact time). I hailed US Coast Guard on Chan. 16. Gave position, status, and informed that we were adrift with no motor and requested they contact commercial towing for us. Tow Boat US responded and reported they would be on scene in 40 minutes. Coast Guard maintained contact on a 15 minute interval and also sent a fastboat to observe and ensure safety conditions. TowBoat arrived prior to the Coast Guard and we began rigging for a long line stern tow.

 

Tow Boat US handled the conditions perfectly, but based on the conditions, it took quite a bit of time to get into the jetties at Miami. Once inside, I informed the tow boat captain that the vessel drew approximately 8.5 feet and that to get into the marina at low tide, we couldn’t use the south entrance, but instead had to approach from the north. The tow Captain decided to try the south entrance based on wind conditions. I asked if he had a depth sounder, he stated that he did not. He ran Gamble aground by the sea wall at the south entrance. He then drug the boat along the bottom to get back to the channel. I restated that to approach the marina, he had to go all the way to the Coast Guard Base, then hang a hard right to avoid the shallow water. He did not follow those instructions turned too early, running Gamble aground a second time. Once again, he drug the boat off the bottom and proceeded to the marina entrance.

 

Once inside, the only place to tie up the boat was at a “T.” The Captain did a great job of maneuvering in the marina, and we finally tied up. Time, approximately 2:30am – 3:00am. Tow Boat Captain assessment: great handling, poor on navigation and local water knowledge. Had he followed the instructions to approach from the north, as I requested, the boat would not have suffered potential major damage to the keel systems.

 

With the boat secured, Evan and I needed rest.

With multiple impacts to the keel, the boat cannot be sailed, but has to be motored back to Cracker Boy for full weld inspection before she can continue racing in SORC, or have any chance of racing the Transpac.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hellofa story. Thanks for sharing....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up. 

I wonder if you could correlate the keels ultrasonic signature with weld inspection for future reference. Maybe even do a two transducer measurement from bulb to pin?  Seems like structural changes (weld failure) would show up. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a great suggestion. Next step is to get the weld inspected, and Ramsey Marine can do a die test. Any indication of zippering or failure should show up (**should**). 
We'll see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing, glad everyone's ok.

Prior to dropping sail, could the battery connection be reattached in any manner, vise grips, hose clamp etc? It seems that with no motor and no power to move the keel that the only maneuverability is with a sail up. Note that this is complete speculation and not meant as criticism. Love the boat and pretty sure it's way beyond my skills.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've considered that in the wake of the event. Could I have rigged something to get the 24 volt motor working again? Maybe. Perhaps. But the manual pump system works and was, at the time, the best and safest solution under our estimation. I'm not a fan of stripping zero gauge wire and trusting a vice grip to hold under those conditions. A short, or worse, fire, could have resulted. There are lots of ways to post-mortem this, but I "think" we did it right. Had this been in the middle of the Bermuda 1-2, with no option of towing, I would have proceeded to attempt a risky work around; however, the choice to call for a tow and not take that risk, I think, was the safer solution for the longer term survival of the boat and crew. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lazy jacks were worth their weight in gold! 

How did water get in? Exhaust? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  Sounds like both of you handled the situation well. Tow boat screwed up badly, twice!!!  I'd start reading the fine print to see if they could be liable for the damage. You need to re-do wiring so there is no chance of repeat failure & re-think storage (or rig a cover) around forward steering gear.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As they say "shit happens"...l..sounds like you handled it.

The Schock 40 is a great boat for daysailing in deepwater protected tropical bays.

I actually considered buying one once.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Parma said:

As they say "shit happens"...l..sounds like you handled it.

The Schock 40 is a great boat for daysailing in deepwater protected tropical bays.

I actually considered buying one once.

FIFY!!

BTW, Jason Seibert, you ought to contact Matt Brown, one of the CBTF founders with regard to doing Transpac.  He was part of the On Point crew in 2003 IIRC.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember watching Cita Litt literally blast away from us one Ensenada race and thinking "muhthurrrrfuggggerrr" but I also remember Paul Hemond's head bobbing in the drink next to the red boat and thinking "????????????".

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Hitchhiker said:

FIFY!!

BTW, Jason Seibert, you ought to contact Matt Brown, one of the CBTF founders with regard to doing Transpac.  He was part of the On Point crew in 2003 IIRC.

Matt and I talk often. He's a great resource.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Parma said:

I remember watching Cita Litt literally blast away from us one Ensenada race and thinking "muhthurrrrfuggggerrr" but I also remember Paul Hemond's head bobbing in the drink next to the red boat and thinking "????????????".

I've done that to a few folks. Lol... But not the bobbing part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2019 at 9:24 PM, longy said:

  Sounds like both of you handled the situation well. Tow boat screwed up badly, twice!!!  I'd start reading the fine print to see if they could be liable for the damage. You need to re-do wiring so there is no chance of repeat failure & re-think storage (or rig a cover) around forward steering gear.

TBUS is going to dump the liability on that one on the operator as they're independent. My mind is boggled that the TBUS boat didn't have a sounder. Every fucking one I've seen/been on has an MFD with ducer. Even if its the bottom rung Garmin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for the deepest pockets - unless YOU want to have a yellow powerboat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, the tow boat operator was negligent in not having a depth sounder. Very annoying and completely avoidable damage to your boat. I am not the type who yells lawsuit, but I'd have a strong consideration of one here. Glad no one was hurt.  Problems escalate when short handed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, TPG said:

TBUS is going to dump the liability on that one on the operator as they're independent. My mind is boggled that the TBUS boat didn't have a sounder. Every fucking one I've seen/been on has an MFD with ducer. Even if its the bottom rung Garmin.

It’s mind boggling to say the least. I’d think that more than a few of their calls come from folks run aground. I’d want to know depth just to protect my own boat when going to get them. 

I can’t understand the stupidity of someone without a depth gauge that makes their living where their destinations are unknown. Can’t fix stupid. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Monkey said:

It’s mind boggling to say the least. I’d think that more than a few of their calls come from folks run aground. I’d want to know depth just to protect my own boat when going to get them. 

I can’t understand the stupidity of someone without a depth gauge that makes their living where their destinations are unknown. Can’t fix stupid. 

This is Florida we're talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, TPG said:

This is Florida we're talking about.

Good point. I forgot that part. I’ll amend my statement and instead compliment the tow boat for remembering to put enough fuel in. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify, Hillbilly left the day before on the 19th, with S/V Thin Ice and S/V FOX in the vicinity.

Sorry to hear about all the troubles. I had a suspicion something was up when I passed by you in the marina when I was leaving the next morning. Hope all goes well with the inspection and that the repairs, if any, will be minor. 

Good luck with the remaining SORC season. I think we're finished for this year, so hopefully we'll see you again this coming winter at the Nassau race.

--Brad Stowers
S/V Hillbilly

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great job , Laser1.  Thanks for the update. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ouch. Thanks for posting.

Was the motor well flooded when first opened? We have been in the habit of sealing the lid shut with gorilla tape after a similar incident. 

I am glad you and Evan are alright, and hope the keel inspection is favorable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this