Being only the second time out on the CarolMarie I asked him if he knew of anyone else wanting to go. "Sure," he says, "let me call James." Jim as it turns out ordered a Hallberg-Rassy in 2004 and sailed it back from Europe to the US, and went up and down the east coast. Jim was looking for a place to move his boat to and happened to be in Salpare Bay when Tomm called.
After a quick car ride to the marina, we check in with the Habor-master and there's Jim having one with the boys, Justin and Cap'n John. So we invite John and Jim over and prep for a quick sail up river.
I had yet to even open the reacher, so since winds were light I suggest we pull her out for the evening. Once we got out Tomm and John helped me deploy the reacher with sheets that were way too short. Jim steer us downwind as we hoisted the sail.
Once fully deployed I could see a couple of pin hole patches were made, so we'd likely need a new one soon. Being that we were on the Columbia River, the current kept us mostly in place. After a half hour of going no where, we dropped the reacher and motored over to the Island Cafe on the opposite side of the island from the marina. John jumped off and went back to his boat (a 2 block walk) while the three of us had dinner.
After enjoying a nice dinner, we set off to motor back to the marina. On the way back we motored back up stream toward the airport, only to find a soft grounding near the marina at the entrance to the channel (see the picture below.)
Ariel view of the island. The marina is at A, the cafe and the grounding spot are shown. The purple lines are where the gillnets crossed the river, and the orange circle where the buoys were at the end of the nets.
I reversed the motor and we came off easily, no worries I thought she's a full keel and it shouldn't be a problem. When we got past the sandbar on the east end of the island and back out into the channel I smelled burning rubber, then an alarm fired off. The engine was starting to overheat, the water cooling pump belt broke.
I shut down the engine immediately and went to work raising the staysail. Once raised we had enough wind to control our drift down stream and back to the marina.
As we were sailing along I saw a strobe in the water, mid-river. I hollered out the crew that I think it could be a kayaker in trouble we should check it out. As we drifted closer I could see that the flasher was attached to a buoy. That buoy marked the end of a driftnet, with the boat on the other side of the river.
I was watching for lights on the river for fishing but I didn't see what the COREGs from the Coast Guard ask for.
Signals for trawlers
- Vessels of 20 metres or more in length when engaged in trawling, whether using demersal or pelagic gear, shall exhibit:
- when shooting their nets:
two white lights in a vertical line;
- when hauling their nets:
one white lights over one red light in a vertical line; and
- when the net has come fast upon an obstruction:
two red lights in a vertical line.
- when shooting their nets:
- Each vessel of 20 metres or more in length engaged in pair trawling shall exhibit:
- by night, a searchlight directed forward and in the direction of the other vessel of the pair; and
- when shooting or hauling their nets or when their nets have come fast upon an obstruction, the lights prescribed in 2 (a) above.
- A vessel of less than 20 metres in length engaged in trawling, whether using demersal or pelagic gear or engaged in pair trawling, may exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section as appropriate.
The fishing vessels had no lights and were under 20m in length. A typical gillnetter is shown below.
It wasn't long before one of them came over and told us where the nets were. We tried our best to sail around them, but ended up sailing over another misunderstanding the earlier guidance given.
We were able to sail all the way to the dock, only turning the motor on briefly to berth her. Another night, and another adventure.