Top Menu

The reefs which gives the anchorages along Grenada’s southern coast such excellent protection from ocean swells have also caused damage to more than a few vessels. And the people who unwittingly run their boats onto these reefs are not always newbies out on their first charter vacation. No, in many cases, they are experienced skippers who, through either a single wrong turn or a series of events, pilot their boats into waters too shallow for their draft. Unfortunately, such was the case for our friends Chris and Linda on s/v Troubadour just the other day.

Rebecca and I had only just returned to our boat late Thursday afternoon when we heard Troubadour’s message on the radio: they had run up on the reef outside Mt. Hartman Bay and Hog Island. We were the second group to arrive on the scene but were soon followed by a dozen or more other cruisers who would ultimately pitch in, attempting to get the boat back to safer waters. This, however, would prove to be no small task; Troubadour was hard aground. Even with multiple dinghies pushing, others attached to halyards to heel the boat over and two anchors deployed to kedge the boat off, she still remained stuck. She would only be coerced to slowly give up her hold on the coral by a much larger tender which arrived later on the scene.

Rescue photos courtesy of Lilly and Tom on s/v Tiger Lily.

Freeing Troubadour was only the first step in this unplanned drama. After safely anchoring in the bay, divers would reveal the damage which had been done to the boat’s rudder. This serious problem would now require the boat to be hauled out in order to be repaired.

At Chris and Linda’s request, the two of us showed up to Troubadour at 8:30 this morning to, along with 3 other tenders, escort them around to Spice Island Marine in Prickly Bay where they would be hauled out. Mother Nature was kind this morning, giving us glasslike water and little wind to fight us during the trip. Perhaps she felt guilty for shining the sun into our friends’ eyes as they attempted to navigate that channel last week? Regardless of the reason, the calm weather was appreciated by us all.

The plan was for the tenders to push the boat if the rudder, which was being supported by various lengths of line, was unable to cope. So, like the fighter jets which accompany Air Force 1, or the Secret Service vehicles which follow along with the presidential limo, we all followed Troubadour out of the bay after she raised anchor. As it turned out, our assistance was not required at all but it was better to be over-prepared with too much help on hand than the opposite.

When we left our friends, they were standing on the Spice Island dock, staring forlornly at Troubadour as she gently swung in the travel lift with an obviously damaged rudder. The amount of damage and the length of time that will be required to fix it, is still to be determined. We hope, for our friends’ sake, that the repair job is both quick and relatively inexpensive.

Ready to go, bright and early before the trade winds pick up.

Poor rudder!

Troubadour’s escort from Blue Pelican, Cool Change and La Luna.

Maintaining our place off Troubadour’s port quarter.

Like a patient in the hospital, the boat will soon be made to feel better.


  1. I really love that the sailing community takes care of each other. And the photos made me wince for Chris and Linda. Poor rudder, indeed. I hope the repairs are minimal and fast, and Troubadour is back in the water soon.

  2. Wow, hate to hear stories like this! On the bright side, at least they had a bunch of great people to help out and their boat didn’t take on any water.

    Hoping for the best with their repairs!

  3. Glad everyone aboard Troubadour was safe. What type of electronic navigation did Troubadour have aboard? Do these reefs show up on electronic charts? Have you found electronic charts to be pretty accurate in the lower 1/2 of the Caribbean?

    • I “think” they were using MaxSea. He said that the reefs were not charted properly.

      I was on Kirk’s Lagoon when we came through the same cut and his Raymarine did show deep water where it should be. We followed the markers though, not the charts. The BEST cartography I have seen here, and all the way south, is Garmin, without a doubt. If we ever get a new boat and it has anything else, I will sell it and buy a Garmin. Period.

  4. They are lucky to have so much friendly help so quickly. The loss of a rudder is bad, but it could easily have been the whole boat.

  5. Oh Troubadour, you poor dear; we are glad that everybody is ok. We hope that you keel better soon.

  6. Sorry we weren’t there to help out with Troubadour. Hopefully the damage isn’t too bad and Chris and Linda get back in the water soon. Be safe. K&D

  7. Like I said before you are a good egg…


  8. uugghhh so sorry for that. I can imagine the gut wrenching on that experience. Glad they have good friends!!! Hope the damage isn’t as bad as thought.

  9. I’ve seen this happen in other circumstances. Nasty stuff. In the case of one boat, it ended the sailing season. Not an issue where you are now, thank goodness! Hope all is well soon and everyone is back in the water and ready to go!

  10. Sharon Larrison stepniewski

    Great story. Thx for sharing !!!

  11. Fortunately it happened in a crowded area with plenty of help around. Imagine a lonely coast, it could have been the end of the boat.

  12. Random question. If I make purchases from the on this blog, do you get credit? No matter what the purchase? I’m starting to get a list of adaptive items for Al for when he gets discharged and as I shop it occurred to me that maybe I could be helping you if I can purchase from your blog. Message me at my email so I know I am on the right track.

    • I “think” the answer is yes. If you do order something and send me a note, I can check the stats and see. I’m not sure ANYONE has ordered anything from Canada!

  13. Once you had seen it, why didn’t you take ZTC round to her. You are shallow draft.?Your big engines could have given a BIG pull on the mast.

    Likewise, for going round to the hoist, it would have been easy to do an ‘alongside’ type tow or just steering.

    Just curious, because that is what I would have done if I could.


    • No offense Mike but that is ludicrous. Risk putting two vessels on the reef? Not a chance. If I raised anchor and attempted such a thing I would have had 50 people driving me away. Shallow draft doesn’t help when there is NO water, which exactly what it was like not far from where Troubadour was stuck.

  14. So sorry to hear about your troubles. Hope the repairs are swift and not too costly. In the meantime, enjoy being a landlubber. How long does it take for the sea legs to cease?

  15. Bummer experience for them. In reading their blog it is eye opening how, even with tons of miles beneath their keel, a simple misjudgment can cause so much damage.
    On the other hand many credit card sailors have similar encounters because they are just too stupid / stubborn to even pull the charts and cruising guides out before they enter a harbour. We have moored in Trellis Bay, BVI on 3 separate trips. Guaranteed that if you are moored early enough you will see one of the credit card sailors drive their rental up onto the reef, that separates The Last Resort from the beach, as they race someone else to the last mooring ball.
    here is one of them:

  16. […] This situation also begs a discussion on self-sufficiency. Given enough time to deal with the situation, would the captain of that boat been able to resolve his own problem without involving the Coast Guard or the Vessel Assist folk? It certainly would have cost him less in the long run if it worked out that way, not to mention giving him a certain amount of self-satisfaction. It is a very heavy boat, so that compromised the situation (and also probably made the difference between a boat that was taking on water and a boat that was still sound because that heaviness comes from really good heavy hull construction). I imagine that had we waited until the next day, the captain would have had several sailors and their boats and anchors to help rather than just Mike. Few sailors would have kept going seeing the boat on the rocks like that. Sailors like to help other sailors get their boats back in the water. Take a look at this post on Zero to Cruising.  […]

Comments are closed.