sailboat stuck under ballard train bridge

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  cewood 6 years, 2 months ago.

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    great idea

    I think this happened yesterday?

    looks like the boat tried to go under the part that does not open.



    Man, they really got that thing stuck up in there. That sounded REALLY expensive…but kudos to the guys who got them out of there. I thought it was going to roll there for a second.



    That is why you get someone who knows what they are doing and not vessel assist for this –
    about 10K in damage, that could have been avoided (also if the “sailor” had a clue it would not have happened)

    That is why I always take visitors to the locks – best free show ever!



    Yeah, just my armchair opinion, they could have passed a halyard, or other line that goes to the top of the mast, over to the upstream assist boat and had them pull straight down until the mast was free of the bridge. Then slowly pull the boat toward the locks while holding the mast down at the same angle until it is clear of the bridge.

    Rudy, sailboats are extremely hard to roll over, you could have pulled the mast all the way down to the water and when you let go the boat would pop right back upright.



    That’ll buff right out.



    Really, Vessel Assist did them a favor. Now the sailboat fits under the bridge just fine without having to raise the bridge! Ernie is right on how they should have fixed the problem. Even pulling it out downstream would have been better. I hope Vessel Assist buys them a new mast!

    It does remind me of one of my very favorite radio exchanges, which happened right there at the RR bridge (aka Bridge 4):

    Sailboat: <gives sound signal several times to ask for the bridge to open>
    Bridge 4: <Gives sound signals back saying they won’t open right now>
    S: Bridge 4, this is _____. We asked you to open several times, but you aren’t opening the bridge. When will you open the drawbridge?
    B4: If you look at the bridge, you will see a train. When the train passes, we will open the bridge.



    Ernie, that is pretty much how it is done – if you are without a second vessel you can use an anchor and works fine , or have a drink of rum and wait for low tide and leave the way you came in.

    BG I had a contract with VA ( I am an insurance whore), and I think they have no liability for any of their actions – and they may even have a salvage right to the vessel (got to love maritime law )



    That’s rough. Curious to know how the boat ended up there in the first place. In fairness to them, could have been due to loss of power and they drifted under with current (okay…. bad steering would contribute to that scenario). Or was it just sheer ignorance and they thought they could make it under the closed bridge? And as BG says there can be plenty of ignorance on display at the Locks. From shore, I’ve watched sailboats angrily signal the bridge tender to open bridge with multiple signals. Gotta learn who has the right of way out there.



    If the intent was to snap the mast then they should have undone the mast wires or cut them to avoid damaging the fiberglass deck.

    I also agree with Ernie that it was too bad they couldn’t pull on the halyards to get the boat more horizontal, but they would likely need two vessel assist boats based on the conditions. So this also means it’s likely the boat got stuck much earlier in the day.

    We are looking North so based on the angle of the sun it’s likely almost 5:30 pm in this video.,-122.3987,15/2014.07.27/17:34

    Low tide on Sunday was at 11:53.

    So the next full low tide would have been noon the next day. Plus, this is a active train bridge, and very busy navigation route so they might not have been legally allowed to try waiting it out. Not sure about that.

    I too would love to know what happened. My guess is that they lost power either heading out from the locks or heading in. If they were heading out or into the locks it’s very possible that a line went overboard and snagged the prop. The locks are pretty stressful and if your short handed or have family tending lines you know that mistakes can easily happen. But the motor could have stalled from bad fuel or over heating, etc. I would expect that something unexpected happened far before accusing the skipper of being at fault.

    If I lost power and was shooting out of the locks I too would be tempting to try to make a last ditch attempt to tie up to the piling on the south side. You would really only have seconds to act to try and get the sails up or drop your anchor and pray that it bites immediately.



    but they would likely need two vessel assist boats based on the conditions

    I think they did have two vessel assist boats. It looks like one is behind them with a second line while the one in front was demonstrating brute force.



    Lost power? No, I prefer to assume the worst. Their engine was in perfect working order. This is clearly a case of someone who always wanted a large boat, but knows nothing about sailing. Kind of like the dipsh*t who buys an SUV because they are so safe, or the idiot who buys a >50cc scooter and does not know anything about motorcycle certification.


    Underpants Gnome

    I saw this incident before vessel assist arrived. The sailboat was stuck from at least 2:30pm. I don’t know what caused it to hit the bridge. There was a coastguard boat there right away and some workers up on the bridge trying to figure out what to do. (Actually I couldn’t clearly see if it was Coastguard, maybe that was the first Vessel Assist boat to arrive.) The tide was coming in and the bow of the boat seemed to be jammed pretty good against that wooden fence thing on the south side. As the tide was coming up, the mast started to bend. We also wondered why they didn’t try pulling the mast out with a halyard but I have to believe that it was jammed in there so far that it couldn’t be pulled from the top as that would have made sense to try and they didn’t seem to be trying that. And the video shows that even after the mast bent at the top, the top of the mast was still stuck into the bridge and didn’t come out until it broke in the middle.

    We had to leave before the 2nd vessel assist boat made it though the locks so I’m happy to see this video. I was very curious what happened.



    I was in a kayak on the east side of the locks and heard the marine channel say there was a problem with a boat on the sound side of the locks (this was about 1:30 or so). When we came out of the locks, we paddled between the shore and the pilings where the sailboat was. What I could see was that the sailboat was headed east and had cleared the whole stationary side of the trestle except the last foot where the mast was up inside of the bridge…no vessel assist had arrived yet. We thought that perhaps the sailboat was waiting there in the shade for its turn to go into the locks or perhaps waiting for another boat to catch up with it and it got caught in the rising tide with its mast stuck up in the bridge. At that point, trying to get the boat horizontal wouldn’t have worked. I imagine as the tide continued to rise, the mast ended up either getting smashed or wedged to the point where nothing but pulling on it would get it free. Sorry for the skipper, but interesting to watch the video.

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