Tow Boat Us Indian River Pulls Sailboat Maritime Off The Beach
(June 2019) … By the time I got back down to the beach today, Captain Clarke Droney of TowBoat US Indian River and his crew had a bridle on the sailboat.
“Hey, are you down here yet? I am about to pull this sailboat off this beach in about twenty minutes, with the boat.”
Luckily I was already in the park, I’ve never seen a boat pulled off a beach in person, I thought they were going to trailer it. I was looking forward to the trailer ordeal but pulling off with a boat sounded more exciting.
“Wait, your pulling it off with the boat? what happened to the trailer?”
“We have a trailer, but this will be much better for the boat. I just have to tow it to Lewes.”
Fish and wildlife, park rangers, Park maintenance crews were all standing by to watch Captain Clarke Droney and crew pull this sailboat off with the “big” boat.
He backs the boat into the surf as close as he can and Captain Fred Winward shoots a line with a buoy attached to it at the beach with a line launcher. The Tow Boat Us crew, Mark Droney, Captain Del Baker, and Captain Jonathan Hastings, scramble for the line and start pulling in the tow line. Captain Clarke hits the throttle and gets the boat out of the surf. That man can drive a boat. The boys get the tow line pulled in from the Tow Boat and head for the sailboat.
They placed a bridle over and around the bow of the boat to pull her out of the surf. The first attempt spins the boat, but the bridle pops loose. “There weren’t any cleats to tie off easily in key areas we worked with what we had.”
The boys retrieve the bridle and get it reset. Captain Del climbs on the sailboat and resets the lines. The boys are ready to pull her again. Captain Clarke resets the boats position. He is on the phone with Jonathan talking about the angles they need to pull the boat. They are a well oiled machine when it comes to boat retrievals and in this case it is very necessary. The surf is rough.
The boys line up Captain Clarke and he starts to slowly put pressure on the sailboat. The waves are coming in fast, and the sets of “three” are decent sized, which is going to help. Every time a wave lifted the boat, Captain Clarke could pull it forward a little more. He just kept on the pressure and let the waves do the work. The sailboat has a pretty big keel.
Once they clear the main surf wash area and start pulling the boat into the surf and waves that is where it gets tricky. You don’t want the boat to swamp and you certainly don’t want that bridle to pop off. Resetting that in the waves would not be fun. Captain Clarke has the pressure on with a slow pull. The sailboat is slowly moving out to sea on its side. Pull too hard and she will swamp and make this ten times harder.
A set of big waves is coming in and there is heavy pressure on the line. The sailboat lurches up from the bigger wave and pulls forward much faster this time. The next wave slams right into her full on and washes over the deck. The boat almost pops upright but that wave put on some pressure.
The water is shallow between the waves. The sailboat settles back onto the sand for a second. Then the third wave washes in and lifts the boat. She lurches forward and pops upright. She is floating and heading out to sea. Captain Clarke Droney crabbed her out of the surf.
They pulled up to her, reset the lines and headed to Lewes. Once they got to the inlet the boats had to be tied side by side to make it through the canal. I watched the boats come into the Roosevelt Inlet and headed to the marina to talk to Captain Clarke. The sailboat Maritime was pulled by the boat crane and Clarke was filling out paperwork. “Captain Buckey pulled this sailboat off a bar in the Lewes canal this morning about 5 AM. Then the boat went out of the Roosevelt inlet to head to Virginia in the fog. Afterwards he wound up on the beach.”
No it didn’t cost thousands to do this, it was just like a pull off a sandbar. Get your TowBoat US membership!