Nord­havn Rolls 69 De­grees Cross­ing Aus­tralian Bar; Sus­tains Lit­tle Dam­age

Passage Maker - - News & Notes - BY PETER SWAN­SON

James and Jen­nifer Hamil­ton ra­dioed the Coast Guard be­fore ap­proach­ing the bar at Wide Bay on the east coast of Aus­tralia. The month was Septem­ber, and the Hamil­tons were aboard their Nord­havn 52, Dirona. “They (the Coast Guard) said no­body has crossed that day, but they did ex­pect it would be rough and spec­u­lated it must be rough out where we are as well,” Hamil­ton writes in the cou­ple’s blog. “We agreed, it def­i­nitely was lumpy. They said we might be hap­pier in than out, but nei­ther would be easy right now.”

Hamil­ton says the en­trance to Wide Bay was clearly ev­i­denced by a gap be­tween break­ers on ei­ther side. They judged the bar to be “cross­able.”

Nav­i­gat­ing the en­trance, how­ever, they no­ticed a wave build­ing be­hind them. “We rose about a third of the way up the wave as it passed un­der­neath be­fore get­ting ham­mered by the break from above,” he says.

“Dirona was driven back down the wave by the break­ing sec­tion fast and, as we headed down, the stern very slowly ac­cel­er­ated more quickly than the bow and started to swing off course to the right. We now were at full throt­tle and full right rud­der, but the stern con­tin­ued to get driven around the fore­foot to­wards the star­board side by the break­ing wave from above.

“The boat ro­tated broad­side into the wave, the wave con­tin­ued to drive it down and the boat slowly rolled away from the wave. At this point we could hear the fur­ni­ture ‘pour­ing’ into the star­board side of the boat. We didn’t re­ally feel that far heeled over but grav­ity def­i­nitely was cre­at­ing a mess in the salon be­hind us.

lies happy at an­chor in Aus­tralian wa­ters.

“When the wave had passed, the boat was pop­ping up, but the wave’s twin was close be­hind and also break­ing. We turned the boat back to­wards the shore­ward path we were on ear­lier as the sec­ond wave hit hard from above.”

Bilge alarms flashed, and Hamil­ton saw that wa­ter from knock­down was up to the oil pan of the en­gine. It had come in through the star­board air in­take grill. The boat was quickly de­wa­tered with a pow­er­ful hy­draulic bilge pump. The satel­lite com­pass mea­sured the worst roll at 69.1 de­grees.

Hamil­ton de­scribed mi­nor dam­age to hard­ware due to the press of sea­wa­ter and some com­po­nent fail­ure due to im­mer­sion. “The list of faults we did take is not in­signif­i­cant but it feels like a bunch of mi­nor scrapes and nicks,” he says. Hamil­ton says they re-learned a few lessons that day. “Look­ing specif­i­cally at river bars where th­ese con­di­tions are common, we have long known that waves ap­pear smaller from the back­side than from the land­ward side. So it’s im­por­tant to keep this in mind when as­sess­ing con­di­tions. It’s dif­fi­cult to turn around fast enough in a nar­row chan­nel be­tween big waves so it’s im­por­tant to make the decision early enough,” he says.

“And, what we learned in this case ar­guably we al­ready knew but this cer­tainly drives it home, wave sets vary greatly in size. If there is a re­spectable pe­riod of non-break­ing wa­ter in a chan­nel, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find a larger set of waves when tran­sit­ing. We would have been well served by study­ing this en­trance for longer from sea­ward since break­ing seas can be so dan­ger­ous.”

TRUMPY LIVE­ABOARD FACES PRISON

A Trumpy live­aboard is ex­pected to serve 21 months as part of plea deal with Min­nesota pros­e­cu­tors, who had charged the man with col­lect­ing $167,000 in pub­lic ben­e­fits while liv­ing in lux­ury.

Colin Chisholm ad­mit­ted his guilt in court in midNovem­ber. Chisholm’s wife, An­drea, pleaded guilty ear­lier this year and had al­ready com­pleted her prison sen­tence. Usu­ally “theft by swin­dle” charges don’t re­sult in prison time, but Hen­nepin County At­tor­ney Mike Free­man pushed for a tough sen­tence, call­ing the crime “abom­inable.”

As the cou­ple cruised Florida and tried to in­ter­est in­vestors

Dirona

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