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Remember that time I flipped my boat...?

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  • Remember that time I flipped my boat...?

    Many years ago, my first real boat was a 12" flat bottom Jon made by Grumman, I have no idea of the year. I had her rigged with an early '80's model Evinrude 9.9, she ran well and, at the time of this story, I had owned her for a few years and was very familiar with her ways and means.

    Every year I host an extreme hunt, what makes it extreme is you can't bring food; we have to eat what we catch, kill or gather. This happens on a local lake that is fed by a nice big river. We camp at a primitive camp on the river and hunt wild pigs, fish and drink. With very few exceptions we show up by boat and run regular shuttles to pick up people without boats to get them to camp. This happens in mid-February.

    On this particular hunt we were all going to hunt The Island. The strategy was to place people all around the island and work our way toward the center all at once; hoping someone would get a shot at a pig. We had done this successfully in the past and our hopes were high.

    I carried two hunters in and dropped them off when I made my way back to the channel (out of the stump infested shallows) so I could go to my spot. As soon as I hit the channel I hit WOT while making as sharp a turn as I could to port. What happens next is a blur of exhaust gasses, water and panic.

    Somehow, while at WOT and full hard into a port turn I hit a stump, the net effect was that it sent my little 12' Grumman into a bellyroll in the blink of an eye. All I really remember is the sound of the motor dying underwater and thinking well, there goes my motor. I somehow managed to grab my bow (as in bow and arrow) as all of this is happening; just pure freak coincidence is all.

    So there I am, sitting on the bottom of my hull, which is now the only part out of the water, freezing and screaming at the top of my lungs for my best friend to help me. It went something like this...
    DANNY, I'M UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER!
    ...what...?
    I'M UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER!
    ...where...
    IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER!
    ...Okay...I'm on my way!

    Danny had an even smaller hull, a 10' Montgomery Ward, powered only by a trolling motor transom mounted. On his way out of the woods he found a full face motorcycle helmet that had drifted in on a flood no doubt. So when he cam around the end of the island and into view here was Danny, in a motorcycle helmet, with his trolling motor making about 4 MPH and saying...
    Seven Adam Mary, rescue and recovery under way...

    This is the time when digital cameras had just begun to be affordable to the regular Joe, and apparently everyone on the island had one. They had also heard my cries for help and had made their way to my near edge to snap pictures of my folly. Unable to help, they mostly just snapped pictures and laughed.

    So Danny eases up to me and hands me a shovel, he has no paddle you see, so a shovel it is; I hand him my bow and gingerly make my way to the nearest bank.

    Once to the bank, and the other hunters are shuttled over from the island, we flip my little Grumman over; low and behold everything that floats was still under the hull. She flipped so fast nothing was flung or fallen out. We pulled the plugs, blew out the water and she fired right up.

    With the exception of loosing my backpack with all my hunting gear (arrows, binos, rangefinders, etc.) everything was intact, if not just a little soggy. The remainder for the hunt was uneventful for me, as I had no arrows. But we still talk of the time Rat flipped his boat around the campfire each year at our annual gathering, it is a big hit with the newbies and generally keeps them from asking me for rides in my boat.

    That little Grumman and I had some serious fun together, she would be known as The Sub due to her propensity to be under water; this wasn't the only time more of her was under water than on top. But it was the only time she did it while being upside down.
    Who is John Galt?

  • #2
    Yeah , it happens quick! I never flipped a boat, except Almost flipped a pontoon. We were going along slowly, and a couple boats came up from behind. I was looking at them when some of my rather large riders decided to go through the front gate and stand up there. The front of the toon went down and under, they fell off/jumped to the sides but the thing was moving and continued to go down, the stern raised a couple feet out of the water, 1/2 the deck went under before it stopped and came back up. A bit scary as if we were going any faster it would have ended badly. Be safe!
    If ya can't fix it with a hammer,ya got yourself an electrical problem.

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    • #3
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      In 1976 I flipped one of my dads car top boats. I was running parallel to the whitecaps and one came along and rolled the boat. I was only about 200 or 300ft from shore, and the water was only 3 or 4 ft deep. When I stood up I remember seeing the boat perfectly capsized and the prop slowing and stopping. Oops. I righted the boat, and placed the gas tank, anchor, and oars back in it and proceeded to shore. Once there I pulled the cowl off and let the water drain out. I then tried starting it. After about 10 pulls it sputtered. It took a few more pulls till it ran not too bad. Let motor run while I bailed out the boat. pushed it back in and proceeded home. Once there I anchored the boat with engine running and went ashore and filled a 55 gal drum. Placed engine on drum and let it run for about 1 1/2 hrs in gear at about 1500 rpm. By then lake had calmed down a bit, and it was back on the transom and another hour at full throttle. It took me about 10 yrs before I told my dad about it and a few other 'incidents' with his boats. That little engine was still running in the mid 1990s

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