A crisis narrowly averted . . .

Trinity, the author’s 29′ Island Packet, in a serene moment. Read on for a not-so-serene moment. Photo courtesy Bill Bowman

In the December issue of Points East the editor put out a call for “trip-gone-wrong” stories, so here’s one, detailing the very first time my wife Jo and I ran aground on Trinity, our 29’ Island Packet. I say “first,” as it’s happened more than once. We’d been cruising on this particular boat for three years, and were starting our fourth cruise. The year was 2010. We’d left the back channel between Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Kittery, Maine, at 0845 on Saturday, Aug. 21, and were heading to Potts Harbor in Harpswell.

All along the way we dodged lobster pots. Jo would yell, “There’s a pot over there,” to which I would respond, “Port or starboard?” and “What color and how close?”

Well, as we were carefully navigating our way into Potts Harbor, avoiding the numerous shallows, at about 1645 she yelled, “Pot!”

“You need to tell me which side and what color!” I responded. This precipitated a heated discussion during which I stopped paying attention to the chart and depth gauge. Then we heard a loud thud and Trinity came to a dead stop. I responded with some choice blue language and immediately flew into the cabin to don my bathing trunks and water shoes and proceeded to jump overboard. We could see the sandy bottom, and because Trinity only draws 4’ 3” I knew the water wasn’t over my head. We were somewhere between Upper Flag Island and Thrumcap. I waded to the bow and tried to push us off, but the boat didn’t budge. I climbed back aboard and told Jo to put the boat in hard reverse when I was back in the water, but, you guessed it . . . it didn’t work.

I returned to the cabin to check the tide tables. What a relief! It was coming in! Five minutes later we’d floated free and were on our way. At the end of the season, when Trinity was hauled out, we were happy to only find scrapes in a couple places on the keel that were easily repaired. The lesson we learned was to not let circumstances draw our attention away from the boat’s instruments.

Bill Bowman

Eliot, Maine

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