Chart Error Causes Donnybrook to Hit the Rocks in Annapolis to Newport

Talbot Wilson recaps the scary moment when Donnybrook came to an abrupt halt in the Annapolis to Newport race. We’re glad to hear that nobody was seriously hurt as could have easily been the case.

“Our Annapolis to Newport Race on James Muldoon’s Donnybrook started Friday afternoon and ended abruptly early Saturday morning when the keel of the big black boat met the rocks of the south jetty of the Chesapeake Bay tunnel near Norfolk, Virginia.

We were reaching up toward the channel at 6:45am and bore off to cross over the tunnel. With all hands on deck, we were getting ready to launch a spinnaker for the next leg of our course around the ‘middle ground.’ The chart indicated 18 feet of water on the line we took, but the 12 foot deep keel proved the chart wrong.

We were doing 12-14kts when Donnybrook hit a solid wall of rock and the 73 foot 30 ton racer stopped in an instant. She spun to the right and bounced along in a jarring series of lesser hits. The crew were scattered in the cockpit and deck like fallen pins in the ally. Three of our mates were taken to the hospital as soon as the Coast Guard could get out to help us. One will have surgery on a compound fracture of his forearm, and the other two were treated and released.

I was trimming the mainsail, sitting on the deck in the cockpit and was thrown down on my right side. On the morning after “Donnybrook on the Rocks,” I’ve got a hangover-headache from the bump on my head and a pretty sore right shoulder.

Owner Jim Muldoon was driving. He practically went through the port side steering wheel. He caught the wheel on his throat. Captain of the Black Watch, Peter Manickas, was bruised after hitting the other wheel, bending some spokes and braking the weld at the hub. Will Keyworth, the Green Watch captain, flew forward from mid-cockpit and hit his nose on the bulkhead above the starboard instrument displays. He looked like Rocky after the fifth round. All hands on deck were down and surely all 18 of us have some pain somewhere today.”

For the complete story, go to www.sail-world.com.

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