Sailor misses city, hits rocks

A Seattle skipper was ill-equipped to navigate Campbell River waters as he ends up beached

A lack of local knowledge left the skipper of the Coconut high and dry at Shelter Point.

A GPS unit and some generic maps just isn’t good enough for boaters cruising the Inside Passage.

A Seattle skipper found this out the hard way Tuesday night after beaching his 33-foot sailboat Coconut on the rocks at Shelter Point.

“He was high and dry,” said Sean Potter, officer-in-charge of the Coast Guard vessel Cape Palmerston.

The sailor ran aground at approximately 10:30 p.m. and it wasn’t until 11:55 p.m. when help arrived. Coast Guard were called at 10:50 p.m. and tried to get there sooner, but the skipper, the only person on board, didn’t exactly know where he had beached. According to Potter, the man said he was on Yucalta Bank, located just north of Quadra Island’s Cape Mudge lighthouse. But when that proved false he thought he was at the north end of Tyee Spit on the Campbell River side of Discovery Passage. Finally, Coast Guard figured out he was still south of the city and found Coconut beached at Shelter Bay. In addition to the Cape Palmerston, the rigged hull inflatable was also dispatched. Potter said the crew aboard the inflatable did a good job “picking their way” through the rocks to come up alongside the Coconut.

After the boat was secured, the tide was low enough to allow the skipper to walk to shore. He spent the night on the back deck of a local resident’s home in order to keep a lookout on his sailboat.

“He’ll be there for a couple of tides. Hopefully tonight (Wednesday) he can get it out,” said Potter.

The boat was gone by Thursday morning.

The Coast Guard officer also advised it’s a good plan to have specific area charts for the Inside Passage.