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Photos: Vivian Mills
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Coast Guard and Seal Rock Fire/Rescue crews, with two back aboard the sailboat, managed to free the vessel at the build up of a pretty healthy high tide. Once back in blue water, the vessel’s captain said they were headed for Newport to give the craft a close look-over for possible damage.
Seal Rock Fire/Rescue was called to the Bayshore beach Saturday evening on a report of a 35 foot twin-masted sailboat that had run aground on a sand bar, about 100 yards offshore. Residents said the craft was seen earlier in the day trying to motor north against the prevailing winds.
At around 8:30pm the vessel ran aground north of the Alsea River outlet to the sea. Two men were seen walking around in the shallow water trying to maneuver the boat’s anchor seaward in an attempt to winch themselves toward deeper water. Seal Rock Fire/Rescue, with the assistance of a small Coast Guard utility craft, tried to do the same thing but failed. They also tried to get a line between the two craft for a straight “pull-off” but that failed as well.
Two boat crewmen were initially evacuated while two other crewmen stayed aboard to assist with the attempt to free the vessel. Eventually they too were evacuated and taken to the beach. They said they had set sail from Winchester Bay, just south of Reedsport, earlier in the day. They were enroute to the San Juan Islands in upper Puget Sound Washington. They were to return to their sailboat this morning at high tide to attempt another go at freeing it from the sandbar.
One comment on the story on the website here is worth reading. It says the sandbar is mentioned in Coast Guard Publication 7 by NOAA and is a common occurrence outside the Alsea Bay “Jaws.” It’s sounds a bit like the ODOT slogan about road conditions; “Know before you go.”
Last word from the good folks at the Cliff House was that the boat is still stuck as of 10:45 this morning, so they missed the high tide at 6:05 this morning. There is another high tide at 5:30 late this afternoon that will be appreciably higher that may prove more workable for them.