Oh bouy

by Adrian on July 2, 2014

There we were, sailing south on a 30 hour overnight trip to France across the Channel heading to Aber Wrac’h in North Brittany…

channel crossing

We had a great start and settled in to a lovely 8-9 knot reach with perfect wind on our port beam. Sailing overnight was smooth and uneventful but tiring since we’re not used to the 3 hours on and 3 hours off night watches yet, but we survived and were both regaining normality and catching up with sleep.

We’d slipped past Alderney and Guernsey and were about 20 miles off the French coast motor-sailing a bit to get a better wind angle when we were struck by that horrendous clunk, shudder and sudden vibration meaning we’d run over something and a line or net was now thoroughly entangled in the propellor.

Jax had instantly put the engine into neutral, so we tried a bit of slow astern and forward to see if the rope cutter could do anything or see if we could shake off whatever was holding us. Nothing but a huge vibration.

It is at this point that my heart sinks as I realise its a trip over the side into the cold to dive under the boat with knife in hand to cut away the offending detritus.

First things first – is the boat ok, is there any obvious damage? No. Are we in danger of any shipping or too near the coast? No. Ok, lets try sailing… Mmm, strange, we don’t seem to be going anywhere… Looking behind we could see a line trailing off into the depths, so whatever we’re attached to is big, heavy and possibly attached to the seabed.

By leaning off the transom we used the boathook to catch and haul up the line and managed to cut ourselves free so we could at least sail.

Since there was enough wind to sail slowly we decided to change course and head for the nearest sheltered bay where we could sail in, drop the anchor and I could go over the side more safely without the boat pitching up and down out at sea.

This we did and four hours later were anchored in a nice bay called Port-Blanc on the north Brittany coast.

Wetsuit and tank on. This is what I found.

prop wrap

A net or pot marker bouy and line had completely entangled itself in our prop and was actually pierced by one of our blades. No wonder it wouldn’t shake loose. A bit of cutting and it was free.

Fishing net and bouy

Adventure over and all safe. Bloody fishermen and their waste equipment!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Veronica July 4, 2014 at 11:14

Woah…hectic stuff, guys!! Lucky it was not in hectic conditions or too near the coast or rocks! Well done or sorting it out!

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