Kate Holmes was house-sitting in Cadboro Bay when she saw the boat behind her adrift and nearly smash against rocks. She and other passersby helped tie up the boat before it was destroyed.

Kate Holmes was house-sitting in Cadboro Bay when she saw the boat behind her adrift and nearly smash against rocks. She and other passersby helped tie up the boat before it was destroyed.

Beachgoers help save sailboat adrift near rocks

Wayward vessel was outside jurisdiction of marine authorities

  • Sep. 1, 2011 5:00 a.m.

On a blustery Thursday afternoon in July, Kate Holmes was house sitting in Ten Mile Point when she looked out the window and spied an eight-metre sailboat adrift in the wind, nearing rocks.

“The waves were just wild and the boat was just ricocheting all over the place,” Holmes said. “Afraid of being blown to Kansas, I nevertheless went out to check on it.”

Holmes contacted the police and the coast guard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and learned that since there were no people on board the vessel, it was up to the owners to save their boat. They were nowhere to be seen so Holmes decided to wade into the water herself and try to secure a rope to the bow and pull the vessel to safety.

“Once there, however, I remembered I’m a 68-year-old woman who was really over judging her abilities,” she said.

“It was getting closer and closer to this big rock cliff and you knew within 10 minutes it was going to be smashed to bits.”

Before she had the chance to fail at her mission, she was joined by a group of three young people eager to help.

While one young man waded in the water, a passerby saw the commotion and jumped in to help. Another man in a dingy joined from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and towed the boat to a buoy. By 6 p.m. the rescue mission was complete.

“At the end of it, we were just standing on the sand and … we were talking about how one person really can change things and how a group of people can make a difference,” Holmes said. “Do what you’d want others to do rather than what is a logical bureaucratic line.”

Holmes never did learn who the group was who stepped in to help her with the boat, nor did she learn to whom the vessel belonged.

Chuck Roach, the man who owns the home that Holmes was looking after on July 7, says he sees boats adrift in the bay a couple of time per year.

Two years ago, Roach witnessed a boat get destroyed in the bay.

Boats adrift in any body of water are the sole responsibility of the owner unless the vessel becomes a navigational hazard.

nnorth@saanichnews.com