A sailboat beached at McNeill Bay. (Jesse Laufer/News staff)

A sailboat beached at McNeill Bay. (Jesse Laufer/News staff)

Beached boat grounded by weather in Oak Bay

20-foot fibreglass sailboat ended up ashore

At least one boat is battling the elements in Oak Bay today as winds whip up.

Ryan Brackenbury was forced to run his sailboat aground in McNeill Bay last night after deciding not to brave rip curls. Having lost his anchor, Brackenbury says it was his only choice.

“I came to the sandiest point that I could find, and tried to wait it out. I ended out a little rougher than expected,” Brackenbury said. “I left it ‘till low tide, then came back and it was pretty much capsized full of water. So I winched it back upright, and then back to where it was yesterday. It’s not gonna get too much worse I hope, I don’t know.”

RELATED: High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Brackenbury lives on his 20 foot sail boat, and says pretty much everything he has was on it. Unfortunately, his 20-foot fibreglass sailboat ended up ashore sometime after sundown. He was heading towards the Oak Bay Marina when he found himself in trouble. He stayed with his boat overnight, retrieving his possessions and trying to mitigate damage and keep the area clean. According to C-Tow Captain, Ian Hinkle, Brackenbury did well.

“This is a little more unusual because this individual was just transiting the area, and got into trouble. The good news is that he brought the boat to shore,” Hinkle said. “That’s the most important thing. We don’t want him to end up on the rocks and in the water.”

Hinkle said that McNeill Bay doesn’t often see many boats washing ashore or ending up derelict because the bay is exposed, has strong tides and can be hard to safely navigate.

Unfortunately, there was not much Hinkle was able to do to help. Even with the heavy winds and amount of water in the boat, he felt it was possible to save the sailboat. But as of 11 a.m, no one had contracted C-Tow for the work. He said C-Tow services can cost a few hundred dollars per hour, which either Brakenbury or Oak Bay would have to pay. The Coast Guard only removes vessels creating navagational hazards or posing environmental risks. Hinkle commended Brakenbury on minimizing any potential environmental impact overnight.

“The good news is there’s no oil, or gasoline or hazardous materials on the boat. Those have been removed,” Hinkle said. “The enviromental risk has been lessened.”

RELATED: New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Brakenbury was going to try and salvage his boat himself before the winds get worse, but if not he plans to stay with his vessel again overnight to mitigate further damage.

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for much of Vancouver Island as forecasters warn of possible damage caused by strong winds.

Winds between 70 km/h and 90 km/h are expected in Greater Victoria, likely to become stronger Friday afternoon.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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