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Take it to the Bridge

this is the official report on our Accident.  We are now stranded on land for up to 10 weeks

we have been through every emotion about what has happened to us.  But for now we are turning a major negative into a positive as we focus on Magic to make her sea ready again.  We have worked today on making a list of 128 jobs we are going to do ourselves on her while she is out of the water.

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Notes from Mark Davies and Tina Davies on board MAGIC

Lagos Marina G1

22nd February 2015

In preparing to sail during the day Mark reviewed current and forecasted weather conditions, wind, sea state, and time of sail, distance and choice of course. The wind was 14 – 25 knots from the NW on our Stern exiting the marina. As it had been the previous time we had sailed. These were quite normal conditions. There was a strong outgoing tide.

After the normal preparations with the experienced crew on board who had sailed Magic with us many times previously, we left Lagos at 12.45 for a fun sail in the bay.

We called on Ch9 to ask for a bridge lift the moment we left our mooring. The normal procedure is to radio the bridge at this point.

We had the response from the bridge operator:“Yes, 3 minutes”

This was the usual response. We checked our time because we normally take around 3 minutes to reach the river from our mooring.

We have passed through this bridge more than 20 times since we arrived in Lagos; we therefore know that it is essential that the bridge opened in time so we had a time check before we entered the river on 3 minutes. This was our recurrent normal procedure.

It was unusual to find the bridge had not opened. Having entered the river we called on Ch9 again more urgently requesting that the bridge be opened immediately because they had failed to do so – the time had passed 3 minutes. They responded by saying it will be a further two minutes before the bridge will be lifted.

With the wind behind us and the strong tide under us it was difficult to control our speed so we used precautionary speed by putting the throttle in reverse to counter the forward motion of tide and wind. Our speed was under 2knots.

After a further 2 minutes the Bridge still didn’t lift.

We again asked for the bridge to be lifted urgently as we were finding it difficult to control the boat.

They responded by saying there were people on the bridge.

We responded by calling on the VHF again – this time more forcefully telling them in no doubt that we needed the bridge to be open immediately.

We put on more reverse but the result was more kick to port turning us starboard side on to the wind, we used the bow thruster but it was not strong enough to control the direction of the boat.

The bridge still did not begin to open.

As we got closer to the bridge, it was apparent that it was not going to open in time.  At this point, we tried to turn the boat around (using reverse with full port rudder to take advantage of the prop kick, forward with full starboard rudder and bow thruster pushing the bow to starboard).  Given the very narrow channel and strong wind and tide, this was not possible.  We were eventually pushed sideways into the bridge, just as it started lifting.  The impact happened 8 – 10 minutes after the initial call to the open the bridge (when we were told it would take 3 minutes). We had never had problems with the bridge opening previously.

The Port rigging hit the bridge – the rigging on the Port side took the initial impact – ripping off the Lower port spreader completely and cracking the top Port spreader.

The rigging also knocked down a sign, which hit the deck causing some damage to the coach roof.

As we were twisted around with the current and wind the rudder hit the rocks at the Port side, the port side of the boat touching the pillars of the bridge, although we fended off the bridge as much as we could there was still some damage to the chrome and paint work.  It is unclear from initial inspection as to whether the hull has been damaged more than superficially.

A local tourist boat observed what had happened and offered us assistance to pull us from our starboard stern line off the bridge.  We accepted their help to tow us and reversed back up the river against the wind to the point where we could turn our nose into towards our mooring.

To make the mast safe, it was secured by attaching the main and spinnaker halyards to the port shroud base.

We immediately emailed Admiral on the sos email address that was at 13.12 and received a response at 13.35 by email.  We then spoke on the phone at 14.45 to Robert who confirmed that Admiral Claims would be in touch on Monday Morning and that we were not to worry and that we are covered.

Around 10 minutes after we moored up we were visited by two people (from Yacht Fortitude ) They told us that they were in the Marina office chatting with the member of staff (Pedro) They told us they were with him when our call came in. They heard him say 3 minutes. But he kept talking with them – only when our more urgent cry for a bridge opening came did he then say to them he had to go and open the bridge. They said to us they felt responsible for delaying him and that he was on his own. He had to leave them and go upstairs to then open the bridge.

About Love adventure and creativity

mum, wife, sailor, animal nut, author, teacher, adventurer, stand up comedian, friend, entrepreneur.... I love creativity and fun - experiencing new things - walking my dogs - laughing with friends - building and making things like...friendships, businesses and dreams come true


3 thoughts on “Take it to the Bridge

  1. Very clear and concise report. I know sad face won’t cover it. but 😦
    love to you both and to May


    Posted by Anna | February 27, 2015, 12:29 am
  2. Hi guys just read your latest Blog sounds like you have had a rough time, having a boat is a constant learning curve, still it seems that you are good at taking positives out of a bad situations, our boat is called Bluemagic so we have some thing in common we did our circumnavigation set off in 2009 we are now in the Med in Malta our Blog is on Maliasail so have a look it may help you when you set off.
    If one thing we have learnt is never trust someone else to do something that could put your safety in doubt. Next time I’m sure you will check the bridge is open before leaving your berth but hey it’s easy in hindsight.
    Hope the repairs go well I will keep an eye on your blog.



    Posted by Mark Dewey | February 28, 2015, 4:14 pm
    • Hello Mark thank you – It is tough being on land so soon after setting off. The learning of stay on the pontoon til the bridge is open isn’t the learning because the protocol here is to leave the pontoon and call the bridge. If we stayed on the pontoon til the bridge was open then it would be shutting again as we arrived. We are talking with the Marina to improve their bridge protocols. The operators have no idea of the situation yachts may be in with tide and wind – when they say they will open in 3 minutes and then it is 10 they need to know it is very dangerous. The learning curve is massive in hundreds of ways of course and now Magic is on the Hard we can get on with a lot of small cosmetic basics that we had been promising ourselves following the completion of the larger tasks. We await to hear the view of our rigger on Tuesday when the mast comes off and the body shop experts regarding the paint – then we will know where we are with our schedule – we have even written The Lagos Bridge Blues
      You can find it on my Facebook page tina catling


      Posted by Love adventure and creativity | February 28, 2015, 5:09 pm

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