On the 18th January 2010 we had made our way from O'Reillys in the Brisbane Hinterland to Victoria Point on Brisbane's Moreton Bay where we were met by friends. After leaving our car on the street we were transported by dinghy to their yacht moored just off shore. The intention was to spend a few days on Morton Bay cruising down to the Gold Coast Broadwater. After spending an enjoyable first night relaxing aboard the boat and visiting Coochiemudlo Island we headed south under sail with the aim of negotiating the narrow channel between Russell Island and Stradbroke Island. As we neared the channel the sails were hauled down and we started to motor along the narrow channel. Not long into the channel and with a strong north easterly cross wind blowing the motor unexpectedly cut out and we quickly began drifting toward shallow water. A passing Queensland Marine Parks vessel refused to assist saying it was against their policy. Frantic attempts to start the motor were unsuccessful and the Marine Parks officers recommended hoisting the sails with the objective of heeling the boat over enough in order to clear the mud flats and drift into a deeper channel on the other side. Following this advice from the Marine Parks Officers the sails were hoisted with the boat heeling over immediately with the strong wind in the sails. Unfortuately with the tide dropping faster than we had hoped we soon found ourselves grounded. We spent an uncomfortable afternoon and night negotiating around the boat and trying to sleep at 60 degrees tilt as the boat rose and fell with the tide. Attempts to winch the yacht off on the midnight tide failed as did similar attempts on the high tide at mid-day the next day. Fortunately a big cruiser responded to our call for assistance just as the tide started to drop and was able to drag us off to deeper water in the nick of time. Certainly an eventful 2 days of considerable discomfort, stress, and not without great potential for serious injury. We can only be grateful we all managed to avoid any serious accidents in all the frantic tooing and froing of those two days. The boat owners were 35 year sailing veterans with several long trips across the Pacific to the US and back under their belt. The circumstances of strong winds and a dropping tide together with the motor cutting out at a critical point made it impossible to avoid drifting onto the mudflats.
Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:Sail Yachts
Keywords:Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Yacht, Yachting, aground, grounding, mud flats, sand bank, sand bar, stranding