Warwick n Wendy's Wayward Wanderings, 2013-2014 travel blog

Unmanned boat on left, Sheriff's boat on right

Out of control boat, maybe 100 HP motor - going like stink!

The worst - but not the only - damage

Location: Mile Marker 765, about 11 miles north of St. Augustine, anchored behind Pine Island

Weather: Mid 60s and rainy

Boat Names:

• Aqua Therapy

• Pier Pressure

• Eight Bells (this is a reference to the time a sailor’s duties are finished, i.e. time to relax)

• Knot Enough

• Over Budget

The day after Warwick’s solo passage from Hilton Head to Fernandina Beach, Fla, after a good night’s sleep, he experienced a really freaky accident, one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ things (we hope).

He was at anchor out from Fernandina Harbor Marina, Fernandina Beach and at approximately 1pm, he was below deck. Suddenly he was alerted when he heard a siren and voices calling. It turned out to be the Nassau County sheriff who shouted that an unmanned fishing boat was progressing rapidly (in circles clockwise) towards Belum and likely to hit it.

Warwick immediately thought about raising the anchor which is a manual operation with 60 feet of 3/8” chain and would take considerable time. Instead he started the engine in case it was needed and pulled a rowing oar from a locker to attempt to fend off the circling fishing boat if it approached. However, it was going much faster and much more strongly than he anticipated and he was unable to deflect it. The out-of-control boat first hit the bow and anchor chain and as a result circled in much smaller circles. It came back and hit the port side about 6-7 feet from the bow and made a hole about 9” below the gunnel. Then, in the next circle, it hit again (#3) along the back third of the boat, leaving scratches and black marks on this section of the hull. After that it continued circling until it sputtered out and died and then the sheriff took hold of it.

Subsequent inspection showed the following damage:

1. Deep indentations to the bow

2. An approximately 10”X 3” hole (at the extremes) through the hull to the extent that it dislodged the wood paneling inside the V-berth

3. Scratches and black rubber marks over most of the port side hull, especially the back 3rd of the hull

Needless to say, this excitement was followed by police coming to take a report, contacting the owner of the runaway fishing boat, contacting the insurance company, calling to get estimates by local contractors – all very time consuming and tiring. For now, with the help of some duct tape covering the hole and bow damage, and the commitment to stay ‘inside’, we are moving south to find a place to get the work done. And, on a happy note, to meet our daughter, Monica who is flying to Jacksonville, FL to join us on Sunday.

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