Another One Hits the Beach
Another One Hits the BeachReport Abuse
It seems like I've spent most of my life seeing boats wash up on Middletown, R.I.'s Third Beach, an easterly facing, sandy-bottomed "harbor" (more of a shallow dent along the coastline of the Sakonnet River, really) with virtually no protection from any breeze from NE to SE. I grew up down the street and used to check after every storm for what the sea had tossed up. In my adult life, it's been no different. The Bonnier Marine Group offices are a mere two miles away, and whenever an easterly blows, my lunch break involves a drive over to the east side of Aquidneck Island.
Today's victim was a 28-30-foot sailboat, rocking sadly in about five feet of water about 15 feet off the beach. The small swells were treating the boat kindly, but the odd larger wave would unceremoniously pick the boat up and drop it on its keel. Hard. The boat has no name or registration numbers, and the Middletown Public Works employee sitting in his town truck watching the bouncing boat said there wasn't a whole lot he, or anyone else, could do without knowing who the owner was. Thanks to the gale warnings up today, the harbormaster probably won't be risking a trip over to see what, if anything, he can do, and without an owner handy, SeaTow is probably reluctant to make a salvage attempt.
That's too bad, because I figure the boat still had a chance when I took the pictures you see here. One good pull and off she'd come.
From what I could see, the boat was still attached to the mooring, which is the typical scenario for a grounding at Third Beach. Either the boat's owner grabbed a mooring which wasn't beefy enough for his boat, or, more likely, the mushroom-style mooring pulled out of the sandy bottom. I've heard that the Town of Middletown had experimented with the screw-in type of mooring anchors at Third Beach, which is probably what the seven or eight other boats in the anchorage are using. I also noticed one late-season cruiser at the far edge of the mooring field, about 40 feet or longer, riding serenely with a rubber dinghy hanging off the stern. With the winds gusting to 40 knots last night, they probably didn't get much sleep, but they're still safely anchored.
So, a few words of caution for those who use Third Beach, a great anchorage as long as the wind stays out of the right direction.