No Nursing Home for Me
| By Louis Cisnero - San Antonio,
Texas - USA
I arrived in Rockport shortly before Noel; about
1:00 p.m. Noel was in contact with Gerry & David
who had sailed from Port Mansfield at about 6:00 p.m.
the previous evening. Wayne arrived around 4:00 p.m.
It was decided that Noel would go pick me up at Magnolia
while Wayne readied and launched his boat. We had
a good supper at the restaurant at Cove Harbor.
a good supper at the restaurant at Cove
Harbor. (L-R:Wayne, Louis, Gerry, Dave,
images to enlarge)
In the morning (Wed), Wayne had engine problems,
could not get motor to start. He went into Rockport
and bought a set of plugs, no luck. we said our adieux
and agreed to meet at Magnolia in three/four days.
The ducketeers, four sailors in three boats; Noel
in his Cortez 15, Gerry & David in a 15' open
wooden boat sporting a lateen sunfish sail and a large
"bimini", and myself in the prescision 165.
Noel had some motor difficulties but we managed to
get under way around 10:30 a.m. Great cruise, light
traffic on the intracoastal, no "big" boys.
I lowered my jib and reefed the main to slow the boat
down. At about 4:30 p.m. we entered San Antonio Bay.
I was into the bay about six miles and made a usual
turn to swing back and join the other two boats. It
was getting dark fast, storm approaching. I met Noel
who had also turned around. Gerry & David had
already turned back around heading towards barrier
islands to wait out the storm. I placed my instruments
inside the cabin keeping the radio, binoculars &
gps, exchanged my auto inflating pfd for a bigger
fixed pfd and buttoned up the cabin.
|It hit us
when I was about one mile from the barrier
islands. Strongest wind & rain I have
ever seen. (Louis)
It hit us when I was about one mile from the barrier
islands. Strongest wind & rain I have ever seen.
By this time, I had lowered the main and motor. Sans
sail, the wind pushed me pretty fast. It was difficult
to see very far. I headed my boat towards a "sandy"
area I had earlier seen. It was difficult to slow
down on approach. A complete turn was called for.
I was successful, dropped one anchor and let out line
very quickly. Anchor held well. The boat went sideways
into the sandy/muddy ground, it held too. Thunder
and lightning was all around. I didn't have time to
worry about it, was concerned with staying on the
boat. What seemed like four hours turned out to be
about 30 minutes. Soaking wet and aground.
I saw Noel at the entrance of the bay. After floating
the boat and changing into dry clothes, I went over
and joined him. No sign of the other boat. Noel's
phone was on the brink, little service connectivety.
my phone had gone in the water. We were not able to
appreciably communicate with anyone and our search
was fruitless. It was dark.
phone was on the brink, little service
connectivety. my phone had gone in the
We decided to anchor in the immediate area, lest
the other boat miss us if we continued to move around.
In the a.m. the wind had shifted to due North. We
decided to sail back to Rockport and seek help. About
three/four miles later, we located the other boat.
They had plenty of food, Water & dry clothes.
They had been pushed around the east end of the barrier
island and were able to beach their boat. We had a
great get together that Thursday a.m. The decision
was made to stay put until the wind again shifted
to the east/south east.
In his haste to dowse sail when he saw the other boat,
Noel lost the main halyard. Being the prepaired sailor
that he is, Noel had two main halyards. But he had
lost the first one when he brought down the main prior
to the storm the previous day. He mentioned he had
to drop the mast to reinstall a halyard. We, Gerry,
David & I thought that the operation might go
faster if we pulled the boat on its side via the topping
lift. It worked for a few degree, then the mast bent
big time. Not to worry, Gerry and David and Noel devised
a "clampdown table" using channel blocks
and we went on to straighten out the mast. looked
pretty good. At about 6:30 p.m. the wind shifted favorably.
Gerry and David set sail. Noel & I agreed to sail
in the a.m. Friday.
that the operation might go faster if we
pulled the boat on its side via the topping
lift. It worked for a few degree, then the
mast bent big time. (Dave in forground -
Louis & Gerry behind)
Friday morning, Noel & I believed the other
boat was close to Magnolia Beach. We sailed at 6:30
a.m. uneventful sail. At the land cut, which starts
at the Victoria barge canal, traffic increased. At
one point, we met SEVEN tugs with barges. Some were
double-wides. In the mid afternoon, we spotted Gerry
& David. They were clearing Port O'Conner. We
caught up right after turning north towards Magnolia
We stayed together for a while. I then left the group
intending to reach Magnolia during the hours of daylight
and help guide them in. Our communications were still
having difficulties following the storm. my gps was
not fully functioning either. Then, darkness was upon
me. I could not make out the campsite. From the water
at night, it looked like a residential area followed
by undeveloped land. I could not identify Magnolia
Beach from the water. My gps was not functioning.
I veered east towards the intracoastal and followed
the markers up to marker 57. There, I turned due North
(compass heading). The area did not look familiar
but I knew Magnolia was there.
mid afternoon, we spotted Gerry &
David. They were clearing Port O'Conner.
Finally, I reached the boat ramp & dock. it was
about 11:00 p.m. I tied up and took my truck to the
beach area. With lights on, I tried to reach the other
boats on the VHF. No luck. I went to bed at about
2:30 a.m. believing the other boats had anchored out
to await sunlight. In the morning, I was advised that
Gerry had reported in. he spent the night at Indianola
beach about one mile south of Magnolia. Wayne and
I jumped in my truck and headed south along the beach
road. we spotted Noel coming in. Total relief.
We had a good day Sat. Saw the PDR races and enjoyed
choice commaraderie. All in all, Wayne stayed out
of trouble and did not ram anyone, I think. I ferried
Noel back to Rockport to pick up his LAND ROVER and
trailer. He returned to Magnolia and I headed home.
For another version of this story,
Gerard Mittelstaedt's article at stexboat.com.