My marina nightmare just became true and to make matters worse I was all alone on the yacht, John was on his way to Australia getting ready to board the second flight of his journey in Rome.
I was just returning to The Dream after taking Ella for her morning walk. As we were stepping back on board I saw a yacht coming in our direction, passing our friends boats docked a few spots just before us, and then I saw him suddenly turn to his port side into the “corridor” that has all the day-tripper little boats opposite us.
In my mind, it was pretty clear that there was no way the manoeuvre, he was about to attempt, would end right. The wind was going to be on his beam the moment he turned in that direction and that meant that it would pretty difficult for him to be able to reverse on to the spot next to us without hitting us. It was blowing between 8 to 10 knots with gusts up to 15 knots.
The moment he turned into that “corridor” the Marinero that was on the dinghy to help with the manoeuvre started screaming at him, that it was not possible to do the manoeuvre like that.
At the same time, I ran to the bow, grabbing a fender on my way.
He was already reversing towards us but he had not given even two boats lengths between us before he started the reversing manoeuvre so he had very little steerage of the yacht and the wind was already pressing on his bow pushing him towards the first two day tripper little boats from that dock.
He pushed the RPMs up to speed up in reverse and used the bow thruster to avoid that his bow would hit the little boats, not realising that by doing that he had just turned his stern even more towards us at speed.
Realising all the mistakes this guy was doing the Marinero pressed his dinghy as strong as he could against the boat, at full throttle, just after amidship to try and push the yacht sideways to avoid the crash to no avail.
Between me running to the bow to grab a fender and the crash it was just brief moments that felt like an eternity. Although I ran, I didn’t manage to get to the bow with a fender on time to fend the impact. It felt like I was moving in slow motion but everything else moving fast.
The impact was violent, Ella got super scared and ran out of the boat into the dock, I dropped the fender I had in hands and pushed his boat away from ours by holding his solar arch with the dingy on davits crashing into our pull pit.
As he bounced from our boat I could only see the face of his crew member stupidly looking at me, the face of the Marinero horrified looking at the situation and the face of the crew member of the powerboat two spots from us as he saw the manoeuvring yacht stern now going towards his boat. This guy quick action (alerted by all the screaming) saved his boat from suffering a similar fate to ours.
At the same time the Marinero with the dinghy helped to turn the yacht as best he could given the conditions. I grabbed another fender and avoided several other impacts while the guy from the neighbouring powerboat jumped into the manoeuvring yacht to help fend both sides of the boat as the captain tried to reverse into the spot between the powerboat and us.
I just couldn’t believe all this was happening, it didn’t make any sense it wasn’t that windy and a captain of a 50ft yacht or any other yacht size for what it matters should have known better. There wasn’t enough room to perform that manoeuvre especially with the wind conditions felt at the time.
In my mind, the bow was totally smashed, broken and the swimming platform probably smashed against dock from the violent push back, I wasn’t the only one thinking that!
The Marinero on the dinghy’s face looking at our bow was of surprise. After recovering the fender I had dropped he quickly rushed to the dock to look at our swimming platform.
His face was of relief now.
His comment was “luckily you’ve tied your boat so tight, I really thought you had hit the dock with the impact”. He then asked me to come on the dinghy to see the bow, according to him it wasn’t broken just badly damaged.
So as a result of the collision, we have suffered a bent anchor/bow roller and probable damage to the foredeck attachment point from the side forces on the anchor, there is a deep gouge in the Gelcoat exposing the fibreglass in the top front edge of the bow and dents below the forestay attachment point to the hull, the headsail furler no longer works and the pull pit frame has cracked at the attachment to the deck. We are now working with the insurance company to fix the damages this may mean we need to move to a place with appropriately skilled labour to fix the speciality components.
Not the best way to end the year!
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.