Our MacGregor Index Page. .........Lake Powell Sep/Oct 2009 Index Page

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......--- Knocked Down & Out, Me Not the Mac ---

.......................................--- Sunday Oct. 04, 2009 ---

Day's Starting and Stopping Points Under Sail:

Today's Starting Waypoint #9 = N. 37o 06.360' -- W. -111o 03.036

Today's Ending Waypoint #9 = N. 37o 06.360' -- W. -111o 03.036

Night's Anchorage: In Balance Rock Canyon (west side). Same as Previous Night.

Anchorage = N. 37o 06.923' -- W. -111o 03.155'

Today's Progress: Sailed Total =0 miles -- Up-Lake = 0 miles -- Motored = 0 miles

Trip Totals: Sailed 51 1/2 miles -- Up Lake Miles 33 1/2 -- River Mile 43 -- Motored 15 miles

As per the NOAA weather report the wind came up and didn't even wait until the next morning. We were beat the night before after the anchor deal and the long day under sail resulting in us being in bed and asleep before 9 p.m.. At 10:30 we were awoke to a very strong wind. We had washed clothes the afternoon before and had hung them on the life lines hoping for them to dry by morning. We feared loosing them over the side in the high wind, so got out of bed and took them down and found them to already be dry.

Well it was back to sleep only to be awaken again after midnight to a rocking boat and even higher winds and waves. Back up to look around in the full moonlight. Everything seemed to be holding so it was once again back to bed.

When we awoke in the morning the wind was still in the 15-25 mph range, so much for being in a sheltered anchorage. To make matters worst the boat was tied pretty much perpendicular to the south winds with the stern a little more into the wind.

With the deep water resulting in the anchor being pretty much useless and only the two locations to tie the shore lines to their wasn't much we could do to position the boat more into the wind. At this time the bow was still tied to the rock island and the stern to shore. If the boat was tied to only one or the other it would just swing around and hit either the shore or the island. We did figure that if we swapped ends on the lines, so that the bow was on the shore line and the stern was on the island line the bow would be more into the wind. This would be good as the winds were suppose to switch to a more southwest direction (which they never did) and that would put the wind at a better angle to the bow.


Here is the line to the island that is wrapped around what I thought was a large solid rock at the top. The rock was about 6 feet long and a couple feet wide and about 10-12 inches thick. At this point this is the bow line, but soon we would rotate the boat 180 degrees and this would become the stern line. Remember this rock as it will later play a big role in the day's events.


With the wind like it was we couldn't just turn the boat on the lines without it moving towards shore. We wanted another line holding us anyway, so I took the old Danforth anchor and rode that came with the Mac ashore. I found a place in about 1 foot of water just off the shore and south of the other shore line where there was a crevice in the solid sandstone bottom. I waded out and wedged the danforth in the crevice (picture above) and .................


............ then worked my way back to the Kera Jane with the rode. Once there I put the line through a bow chock and cleated it off.

Now with one bow line going to the rock island and the other to the Danforth by shore, I could start releasing the bow line to the rock island and at the same time pull the bow around towards shore on the line to the danforth with Ruth letting out the other shore line that went to the stern as needed. Moving the boat like this we didn't move downwind towards the shore.

With the bow now pointed towards shore we took the old bow line that was attached to the rock island and moved it to the stern (bad move). Following that we then took the shore line that had been attached to the stern and moved it up to the bow also.


So at this point we had two bow lines going towards shore, one to the rock on the left side of the picture above and the other off to the right of the arrow where the Danforth was in the water and one stern line to the rock (arrow). We were starting to feel somewhat safer.


This was the rock that the one 7/16's inch 3 twist shore line was tied to in the picture before this one.


By now the sustained wind speeds were creeping up and the wind and waves were still hitting the Mac on her beam and she would pivot on the line and heel over in the stronger wind gusts.

Note: Most of these pictures were taken when the lines were first setup and the wind was strong, but not threatening at that point. Some of the latter pictures were taken after the storm.


With the movement of the boat riding back and forth on the lines the long shore line was being drug back and forth over the sandstone there and that worried us. We took a sheet and cut it into 3 long vertical pieces and folded them lengthwise twice and then safety pinned the folds together along their length. I then went ashore with the sheet material and ..............


........ wrapped it around the shore like and used bungee cords to hold it in place. The wind was now up most of the time to the point I couldn't paddle to shore anymore or back to the boat. I would work my way to the bow and then carabiner the dingy's bow lines to the shore line and then either pull myself between the Mac and shore or let the wind push the dingy along the line.


A view with the two lines off the bow and one off the stern to the rock island on the left.


And a somewhat pleasant moment as I walked around after swapping the boat end for end. The wind was increasing, but I felt things were well in hand and was just enjoyed the view at this point. The the main lake channel is barely visible at the right side of the photo.


About the time I had finished taking pictures of our anchorage the wind really started to blow. The waves by the boat have built to that size in about 150 feet of a shore to the south of the boat. You can also see how the line to the rock (right arrow) and the line to the Danforth (left arrow) are taught and the other shore line is pretty slack and not doing that much.


To help the situation I wanted to improve the angle of the shore line tied to the rock and get it closer to where the Danforth was down in the water (arrow). I piled rocks into what I thought would be a big enough pile to hold the line and then wrapped the line with the protective sheet material on it over the pile of rocks to the windward side. The end of the line was still attached to the large rock further behind this point.


With that done it was back to the Mac and looking back towards shore the angle of the two lines was now better and they would share in the work of holding the boat.

At this point I noticed that the fender float that marked the location of the anchor was barely above water. Evidently the motion of the boat on the waves had worked the anchor up and down and brought it close to the boat and into shallower water.

So now a new plan developed. I'd take the dingy to the float that was by the line running to the rock island and pull the Bruce up if possible and take it out to the rock island and attach it there for yet another bow line to something solid. I took the dingy and clipped it onto the line going out to the rock and moved over to the anchor float. Then I pulled the anchor and chain up into the Zodiac. I also noticed that the poly line that went from the float to the anchor was almost wore through at the hole in the anchor. I'd have to do something different there in the future. Ruth let out the anchor rode as I worked over to the rock island. I wrapped the chain around the rock slab at the top where the other line was tied and then jammed the Bruce into a crack on the back side of this little island.

Back on the boat I took the new line from the Bruce up to the bow and attached it there. So now the two shore lines were taking the brunt of the wind force on the Kera Jane and the new line on the bow to the rock island along with the stern line to the rock island were holding the boat from getting swept into the shore. It is really hard to describe the conditions that all of this was taking place under as the pictures weren't taken at this time. The wind was now constantly over 30 mph with gusts much higher.

Just after I got the new line from the rock island attached to the bow we were hit by a large gust of probably over 40 mph and the stern line snapped. At first it looked like it just broke, but what happened is that the force of the high wind on the stern of the boat caused the line to tear that 6 foot slab of sandstone free of the top of the island. It rotated the slab and one end fell down a couple feet and the other end stayed on the top of the rock under it. I think when the rock slid off the top it broke the line by maybe pinching it under the one end of the rock.

Thank goodness the new line we had just put into place that went from the island to the bow held the boat off the shore. Ruth pulled the cut line to the boat and stuffed it into the rode bag she had made. This was not a cheap line, but a brand new West Marine premium 3/8 inch 3 twist anchor line. I don't blame the line and we plan on buying 2 more for those times 200 feet isn't enough line to reach a rock on shore.

Now with the boat tied at the bow to shore and the rock island with the three lines it swung around a lot more in the wind. We felt it was putting less strain on the lines with only the bow of the boat held in place and the stern free to move. We should of done this in the first place or in retrospect looked for a better place to anchor the day before, but with the winds where they were there was no moving now.

When the line broke and things settled back down with the Mac finding a new equilibrium on her lines we found that the stern of the Mac was now within 8-10 feet of the solid rock shore off of our stern. There was no way we had enough strength to pull the Mac towards the island on that line, so we took that line back to one of the winches by the cockpit on top of the cabin and Ruth would winch us towards the island as I would carefully release the two shore lines.

After getting the bow out to a point about midway between shore and the island I decided to go once again to the rock island and tie the broke line there and this time to the bow along with the other 3 lines and not to the stern. I took the line in the dingy and tried to get to the island in the ever present wind. I worked around the stern of the Mac holding onto the rudder and then the outboard and then made the mistake of thinking I could reach out and grab the line off the bow that went to the island as the stern and I swung towards it. Feeling I could reach it I let loose of the outboard and tried for it missing it by a foot or so. That foot or so only lasted for a split second and then the wind took me on a trip away from the Mac. I tried paddling for a few seconds, but saw that was a lost cause and instead concentrated on reaching shore as close to the Mac as possible. The wind took me towards a very narrow cut in the rock shore that ended in a pothole about the width of the Zodiac. I had to make some minor steering corrections, but quickly found myself and the dingy wedged into the pothole at the back of the "V" shaped bay a couple hundred yards from the Mac.

I got out and attached the 30 feet or so of line I now carried at all times in the Zodiac to its bow lines and proceeded to work it back along the monolithic rock shore line. At times the shore would be a small vertical cliff and I'd be 15-20 feet up above the Zodiac but we both made it back to where the shore line went out to the Mac. There I noticed that the shore line had scattered the rock pile I had made for it that held it closer to the Danforth anchor line. I built an even bigger pile of rocks yet closer to the Danforth and pulled the shore line back over it.

I returned to the Mac secured at all times to the shore line with the carabiner with whitecapping waves all around. The wind was high enough now that the waves were driven into whitecaps with spray froth coming off of their tops with just a 150 foot run from shore.

This time back at the boat I worked around the bow and hooked the dingy onto the line to the rock island and worked out to it. Upon reaching the rock I was worried about the dingy getting blown away so I kept it clipped onto the line running from the rock back to the boat. Since I didn't want it running back out on that line I attached the bow line further up the line to where it attached to the chain going to the Bruce. This was probably a very bad move.

I walked up to the rock that had been holding the line that broke. When it was pulled off the top and the one end slid down evidently the chain that was also wrapped around it came loose and fell down, but the one end of the rock that fell down then trapped the chain under it. Behind where the chain was trapped the chain was loose and had a lot of slack in it back to the Bruce on the other side of the top.

Now what happened next is the best I can remember or reconstruct from all that happened.

I was on my knees on the downwind side of the large rock slab trying to figure out how I was going to get the chain from under it when a tremendous gust of wind hit. Out of the corner of my eye I remember seeing the Zodiac lift off into the air. About the same time something hit me and I was knocked out, probably for only a matter of seconds. When I came too the chain was on the other side of me and was what had probably hit me.


I of course was now laying down and soon realized my right leg was pinned under part of the rock slab at the knee. The slab which had been in one piece had broken into 3 pieces (arrows) and....


........ my knee was trapped under the middle one (middle bottom arrow --the pictures above were taken a couple days later). The rock had originally been on the top where the top arrow is before it was pulled off of there down to where it trapped the chain before ending up like this in three pieces with me under the one section.

I was in considerable pain, but mostly in shock at this point and I looked out at the Mac and hoped that it and Ruth wouldn't float back into the rock shore now that the slack was out of the chain. The Bruce held and the boat moved towards the shore some, but stayed off the shore.

Next I visualize me pinned here under the rock with the Zodiac here with me and Ruth who is a non-swimmer on the Mac with no way to get to either me or the shore. She is also unable to start the outboard, so she wouldn't be motoring for help or anything like that. This was not good and by now my knee was in real pain. I couldn't really lift the rock, but was finally able to move it enough to pull my knee from under it.

From the wind burst to this point was probably under 2 minutes, but it seemed much longer and it didn't take long for the enormity of the situation to take hold. To make matters worst I started to realize that the pain coming from my shoulder was worst than the pain from my knee. I'd broken my collar bone once and a wrist along with a couple fingers and this seemed worst than any of those. As I laid there I was convinced I'd broken my shoulder and probably something in my knee also.

(Note: When I got home I found out I was only half right. X-rays showed my bruised and sore knee to be OK, but I had a small fracture at the top of my shoulder and 3 of the 4 muscles that make up the rotator cuff were screwed up and the ligament at the top of my shoulder was torn.)

Ruth had been in the cabin and didn't see any of this but returned to the cockpit while I was laying there with my bad thoughts. She told me when she saw me laying there she screamed, but I didn't hear it over all the wind noise even though she was only 50 feet away. I saw her and tried to yell to her I was OK and that I couldn't talk right now.

After laying there for a few more minutes I rolled over and saw the Zodiac's 3 gallon gas tank laying up behind me by about 15 feet and probably over 20 feet from the Zodiac downwind from it. The 3 gallon tank, that was full, mounts...........


............. across the transom and is held to it with clamps on both sides. Evidently the Zodiac was thrown into the air with such force that when it got to the end of its rope the gas tank was ejected up onto the island over 20 feet from it and up hill from it. The gas cap was gone and the tank was leaking. (Note: Later after being home for a while I call Moeller Marine Products to get a part number for the cap and explained what happened. The gal in the office mentioned that she just might happen to have a cap and they sent one to me no charge. You can't ask for better service than that and I'll be using one of their tanks when we put an in-board tank in the laz of the Mac.)

What I think happened is the wind hit the Mac and pulled the line to the rock island taught. That might of lifted the bow of the Zodiac and it took flight. Once the Zodiac was up and flying it took the line and chain with it that was under the rock. As the chain was lifted and pulled on by the Mac and Zodiac it must of flipped the rock up in the air. The chain went across me hitting me in my side/lower back, shoulder and head and knocked me over and out. The rock which had been lifted into the air came down on my leg at the knee. When the rock hit my knee it must of fractured into the one piece to the left of my knee and the other piece to the right of my knee. Evidently knees can be pretty tuff. This was good as if the rock would of stayed whole I might not of been able to get out from under it.

Realizing I had to do something I struggled to my feet with my knee unable at this point to take much weight and my right arm pretty useless. I went up and retrieved the gas tank and found out it was leaking since the gas cap was nowhere in sight. It might of come down on the vented cap and broke it off, but I couldn't find it or parts of it anywhere. I returned it to the stern of the dingy. There were also 2 full 2 gallon gas containers in the dingy still where I had them lashed them onto the side ropes. One oar was still there, but the other oar was gone. In the future there will be safety lines on the oars/paddles in a situation like this.

Of course the wind was not going down and only getting worst, but at this point I couldn't distinguish different wind speeds as they were all just high and frightening. I was in bad shape, but I still needed to finishing my job of securing a second bow line to this miserable hunk of rock that I felt had tried to kill me. I took the line and tied it around the top of the rock outcropping that was still there (see picture 2 and 3 above here). After tying it to the rock I threw the rope bag into the dingy and started pulling myself back to the Kera Jane with one arm with the line streaming out into the water behind me from the bag.


Back on board I ran the line back from the bow to the winch on the port side. Ruth winched the line in so that it was about as taught as the other line to the rock so hopefully they would both share the load.


Now there were 4 lines secured to the bow, 2 to the island and 2 to shore. Unbelievably it didn't seem like too many under the current conditions.

With that done it was down into the cabin to assess my injuries. The inside of my knee hurt like hell and was bruised on the inside and outside from the rock and ground. The good news was I was already walking better and felt that nothing was broken there, at least nothing that was critical.

Ruth found a large bruise on my back above my hip. It hurt some, but nowhere near like the pain emitted from my shoulder. There was a definite lump sticking out of the top about where the collar bone attaches. Any movement of the arm was a real killer in the shoulder. Ruth had some pain medication with her from recent mouth surgery and wanted me to take some, but I over-react to drugs and with the wind still high I wanted to be as alert as possible.

During this time we were being hit by some really big gusts that maybe exceeded 50 mph and about 6 times the Zodiac was blown off the water all the way up to the lifelines before it would drop back into the water. The Mac was swinging wildly, but there really wasn't much more we could do at this point except hope the lines would continue to hold.

Ruth made a sling for my right arm from some strapping and buckles we had onboard and I took a couple Tylenol and made my way to bed. I fell asleep and Ruth stayed in the cabin until the winds diminished after midnight.


Tied up in Balanced Rock Canyon (top right arrow).

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