Notices

Tough Day On The Chesapeake Bay

Old 01-21-2020, 03:42 AM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: On The Tenna Sea
Posts: 13,854
Received 1,111 Likes on 573 Posts
Default Tough Day On The Chesapeake Bay

Last day of delivering a 46’ Hatteras convertible from Hilton Head to Annapolis turned into one to remember. Trip was perfect until that point, then it all went to hell. Here’s the story from yesterday.

It was a balmy 25 degrees in Deltaville with strong north winds, pretty much like yesterday but stronger. Started out on plane at 20MPH until we got closer to the middle of the bay. That’s when things changed.

Dropped down to just above hull speed to find a happy spot as full plane was beating us up pretty good. After a while, seas starting increasing... A BUNCH.

“I’m counting on you to determine this is safe”.

“No worries, it’s a Hatteras. It’s uncomfortable but perfectly safe.”

The seas continued to build to the point I knew I had to get the bow up, so I pushed the throttles up to sorta kinda planing and no tabs. It was happy there... for a while.

Things would be relatively comfortable, then we would hit these large groups of waves that had to be in the 6-8’ range. In short, it was brutal. We’re talking stand up, hold on with both hands kind of brutal. That’s why no video. Much to my dismay, I heard the engines come out of synch, but much to my relief, they came back up and settled down... for a few minutes. That’s when we lost an engine. I’m like, this is NOT good.

Running on one engine in water like that is a handful. Hearing the high water bilge alarm sound at about the same time is... well, something special. I could just see that starboard engine underwater, so I sent the owner below to take a look. That’s when I radioed the Coast Guard and let them know we had a potentially dangerous situation. As I was talking to them, we lost the port engine.

Sitting sideways in seas like that is unnerving to say the least. Dangerous to say the most. We were doing some sideways surfing. I gave the Coasties all our information, and they said they had an asset en route. We put on our life vests, set the EPIRB in the cockpit, and waited... and waited... and waited. We actually lost the port outrigger in that big water. I can only guess it got covered with ice (like everything else) and couldn’t handle the strain. Lost the deck cap on the anchor locker too.

I decided to get back up on the bridge as communicating with the handheld VHF wasn’t cutting it. I hit the starter on the port engine, and it fired right up. It did that once earlier but only ran a few minutes. Oh yeah, we lost the generator too.

I tried the starboard and got nothing, but I noted low voltage. With that, I hit the parallel switch, and the starboard came to life. We radioed the Coasties to let them know we were once again under power, but we weren’t sure for how long.

By that time, they had a visual on us and offered to escort us to the closest marina. We gladly accepted. There were actually two boats involved as we entered the Potomac River... the big RIB who escorted us in, then a smaller one who would lead us into the marina. For whatever reason, the larger vessel followed us into the marina.

We all tied up, talked about how nasty it was out there, thanked them profusely, and then were given a safety inspection. I pretty much expected that but was fine with it. Everything was in order, so we exchanged more pleasantries and watched them depart.

That’s when I got on the phone with my fellow Hatteras owner and mechanical guru, Scott Bickwid. He told me a few things to troubleshoot which included ground wires. Long story short (no pun intended), that turned out to be the issue. It’s too late to go anywhere, so we’re staying put until morning. It’s supposed to be a bit calmer then, and we’ll have a 75 mile run to our final destination.

I wasn’t really scared when we were out there, but I did consider sending my son a “just in case” text. I’m just glad we didn’t end up in the water. All in all, it was a very exciting day, but not one I would care to repeat. It felt really good to be on land again.

Next up comes cleaning up the interior of the boat which looks like a war zone.
Old 01-21-2020, 03:47 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,790
Likes: 0
Received 1,530 Likes on 790 Posts
Default

Holy crap😳
that sounds horrible
Old 01-21-2020, 04:04 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Eastport205's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Brick, NJ
Posts: 3,691
Received 1,192 Likes on 631 Posts
Default

WHEW, I'm glad you got in, good captaining sir!
Old 01-21-2020, 04:29 AM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Baltimore,Maryland
Posts: 6,346
Received 806 Likes on 535 Posts
Default

People that have not been in the Chesapeake before have no idea how bad it can get.Most People think "Bay" and AWWW, It can't get that bad.. LOL... The Chesapeake can Hand Your Ass to You ! And sometimes worse than the Ocean.The tight chop and Waves make it worse at times.You were in one of the worst areas..Glad it turned out o.k. for You !! Did You bring a change of Underwear? LOL.
Old 01-21-2020, 04:39 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: VA
Posts: 587
Received 333 Likes on 240 Posts
Default

The mouth of the Potomac seems to always hand its beer to ma nature and say watch this.

If it was a wash machine clothes would come out ready to wind in spools as thread.

Glad you guys are ok. Thanks for Sharing the experience.
Old 01-21-2020, 04:39 AM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: On The Razors Edge
Posts: 10,193
Received 1,210 Likes on 582 Posts
Default

Glad you made it to safety!! Yesterday morning was VERY windy on the Bay. Sunday was worse! Today isn't too bad so you should have a smoother ride.
Good luck!
Old 01-21-2020, 04:43 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Jughed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Rocky Point, N.E. River
Posts: 7,565
Received 645 Likes on 333 Posts
Default

You went out on the Chesapeake yesterday?

Chesapeake and Delaware bays are subject to all sorts of non ocean like conditions, seas coming in from the ocean currents and shallow areas from rivers dumping into the bay, coupled with winds that get funneled down the bays - the correct wind directions can = 150 miles of fetch...

This all equals sharp/steep waves with tight periods along with confused seas and rapidly changing conditions based on water depth.

I live in the upper bay region, winds were honking a good 25-30knts right down the gut.

Chalk that up to a lesson learned skipper...

And if yer ever in the DE bay just to the North, it’s even worse.
Old 01-21-2020, 05:07 AM
  #8  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Kent Island, MD
Posts: 540
Received 430 Likes on 260 Posts
Default

Yeah yesterday was nasty, I was looking at easy 1’ with whitecaps in the protected creek
Old 01-21-2020, 05:15 AM
  #9  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: OBA
Posts: 2,693
Likes: 0
Received 250 Likes on 116 Posts
Default

Glad y’all are safe! Assuming 80s 46 Hatt? Where was the water coming from? Surprised you got them cranked again because the batteries would have been under water too I guess.
Old 01-21-2020, 05:46 AM
  #10  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 7,809
Received 4,011 Likes on 2,084 Posts
Default

Well, you kinda asked for it but glad your safe. There were gale warnings yesterday at Hilton Head.

..SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT...
Synopsis: ANZ600-220015- 642 AM EST Tue Jan 21 2020 .Synopsis for Fenwick Island DE to Currituck Beach Light NC out 20 nautical miles Including Virginia Portion of the Chesapeake Bay Currituck Sound and Portions of the James, York, and Rappahannock rivers... Canadian high pressure slowly builds into the region through Wednesday. Low pressure develops well off the Southeast coast today into Wednesday.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:02 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: On The Tenna Sea
Posts: 13,854
Received 1,111 Likes on 573 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Jughed View Post
You went out on the Chesapeake yesterday?

Chesapeake and Delaware bays are subject to all sorts of non ocean like conditions, seas coming in from the ocean currents and shallow areas from rivers dumping into the bay, coupled with winds that get funneled down the bays - the correct wind directions can = 150 miles of fetch...

This all equals sharp/steep waves with tight periods along with confused seas and rapidly changing conditions based on water depth.

I live in the upper bay region, winds were honking a good 25-30knts right down the gut.

Chalk that up to a lesson learned skipper...

And if yer ever in the DE bay just to the North, it’s even worse.
Two words... Hatteras weather.

Seriously, it was brutal, but we would have been fine had it not been for the ground issues. Owner is trying to decide if he wants to try again this morning. If I thought it were unsafe, I’d make that decision for him.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:05 AM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: On The Tenna Sea
Posts: 13,854
Received 1,111 Likes on 573 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by MayhemFT View Post
Glad y’all are safe! Assuming 80s 46 Hatt? Where was the water coming from? Surprised you got them cranked again because the batteries would have been under water too I guess.
‘77 model. There was no water. The ground issues wreaked havoc on the entire DC system and gave a false alarm. Damnedest thing I’ve ever seen.

Would have been fine with the original DD’s, but this one’s been repowered with Cummins that need good voltage just to run.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:11 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Lower Potomac, VA
Posts: 3,487
Received 418 Likes on 281 Posts
Default

Yep, where the Potomac empties into the bay, can get especially bad.

So, which marina did you pull into? I've been in most of them.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:11 AM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,302
Received 645 Likes on 271 Posts
Default

Great story, glad you survived to tell it. Like others said, if you haven't been in the Chesapeake (or DE for that matter) when it gets bad, you wouldn't believe how bad it can get. Today is better, but if you can spare another day, tomorrow will be a joy coming up the Bay. Good luck.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:14 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Kinsale,Va.
Posts: 327
Received 547 Likes on 216 Posts
Default

How far up in the Potomac are you currently? Hope the rest of your trip goes better. Glad to hear your alright. Chris
Old 01-21-2020, 06:22 AM
  #16  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Kent Narrows, MD
Posts: 7,140
Received 773 Likes on 365 Posts
Default

Glad to hear you made it safely

Underestimating the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays can be a fatal mistake. The mouth of the Potomac River is another area that gets boaters in trouble fast.

The Small Craft Warnings and Wind Advisories for the Bridge should not be ignored.

Again, glad all is well
Old 01-21-2020, 06:22 AM
  #17  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Achilles, VA
Posts: 5,680
Received 1,713 Likes on 739 Posts
Default

Glad everything is OK. People die every year on the bay because they underestimate it.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:32 AM
  #18  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 2,882
Received 649 Likes on 411 Posts
Default

Glad to hear that you made it in.
How deep was the water?
Old 01-21-2020, 06:45 AM
  #19  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: On The Tenna Sea
Posts: 13,854
Received 1,111 Likes on 573 Posts
Default

Made the call to stay put for another day. We’re at Point Lookout Marina in case anybody wants to drop by for a ham sammich and a movie.
Old 01-21-2020, 06:46 AM
  #20  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: On The Tenna Sea
Posts: 13,854
Received 1,111 Likes on 573 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by chuck34 View Post
Yep, where the Potomac empties into the bay, can get especially bad.

So, which marina did you pull into? I've been in most of them.
Point Lookout

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.