In this month’s Confession, we hear how one Sealine owner went from running aground to a major collision in just one season
Last summer I was cruising without a care in the world at 35 knots across the Lough Corrib in the Republic of Ireland. I was at the helm of my new Sealine SC35, which had just cost me an eye-watering £200,000.
Now, if you don’t know, this lake has a specific channel and if you veer off it, you’re straight in rock-strewn shallow water that is between 0.5m and 1m.
I was so happy to be sailing my new pride and joy and was on course for a smooth cruise to Cong in County Mayo. But without realising I had slightly veered off the channel, so the next thing I knew, I was being thrown into the windscreen as the boat has stopped dead on a big slab of rock.
I couldn’t believe my bad luck. I didn’t want to call the coastguard – I was too embarrassed and I hate making a fuss – so I rang a friend for help. It took him half an hour to get to the boat club and then another half an hour or so to get to me.
When he arrived he laughed at first but he soon stopped when he realised the amount of damage I’d done. We left the boat on the rocks and he took me back to the boat club, where I asked my local boat repair guy to go out and take a look at it.
The repair man ended up leaving it on that rock for two weeks while he carried out patch repairs to make it seaworthy again. Then he towed it back to dry land, where it was sent to Sealine in Wales to be repaired.
Three months later I finally got the call I’d been waiting for – my boat was ready for collection. I was so enthusiastic I went over to Wales to pick it up and take it home myself. The repairs had cost thousands and my insurance was up for renewal.
The premium had tripled so I decided to shop around when I got back to Ireland before renewing it. It was a long and challenging journey but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to be back on board. It was so good to be back on the water after such a long time.
With the Irish Sea behind me, I pulled into Waterford Harbour to refuel and was on my way out when I saw a trawler coming towards me. I panicked and quickly moved to the right of it without noticing a Bayliner 2052 coming towards me at 25 knots.
He only saw me at the last second and tried to turn but ended up hitting me sideways. Both boats came off with a long list of damages.
I know what you’re thinking. How do you hit another boat in the wide open water? But you’d be surprised what you can miss when there’s a big trawler in the way!
The collision left the unfortunate Bayliner owner with a broken arm while I suffered my second cut to my head of the summer. We were both towed back into Waterford, and as the owner of the Bayliner was getting into the ambulance he said to me, “I hope you’ve got good insurance.”
I panicked and started to worry uncontrollably. With my insurance lapsed, I knew that not only would I have to pay for my own boat’s repairs, but I would also have to fork out for his boat and medical bills.
I rang my wife to tell her what had happened. To my absolute surprise she was incredibly calm. “Don’t worry,” she said. “There’s no need to panic. Did you really think that I’d let you take an uninsured boat out to sea? I took out an insurance policy with AXA yesterday”.
I have never loved her more!
The author of every confession we print wins the original Stephen Shaw cartoon artwork (above) and an Icom IC-M23 Buoyant VHF Marine Transceiver handheld VHF radio worth £165.
For your chance to win, spill the beans on your funniest boating moments in 650 words. Email your story to: