Re: Sawyer's Landing Long Story


Thanks for the story on Sawyer's Landing trip.
Wish I could have been there, but I just went to the Dr a couple
of days before, and he kind of scarred me.
I didn't know this neck thing was going to be as long lasting
or as serious as it apparently is, so I'm taking it even more
careful now than I have been.
He told me three months, and I was ready to be back to normal
now, but I guess he didn't want to hit me with the whole thing
before the surgery, and is giving me a little bad news at a time.
Now looks like is going to be another three months in neck brace,
and a year or so to see if everything worked out all right.
He was probably right. I might not have gone through with it,
but really didn't have much choice.

I had one of my most memorable boating experiences out of Sawyer's
Landing some twenty years ago.
I had an older friend, who was an auto mechanic, that had a
24' Rienell cabin boat at Sawyer's.
He invited my wife and I to come over for a day to do a little
salmon fishing in the Ocean.
It sounded great to us, as my wife is an avid fisherperson, and
and always out fishes me.
He had had the boat for a couple of years and spent much of his
free time over there, so we felt comfortable going with him, and
the boat was a big, heavy, deep V, and he, as a mechanic, kept
the motor in perfect shape.
We woke up to a beautiful day, with sun and no wind.
We headed for the ocean, and under the bridge, and out through
the jetty. The bar was almost perfectly flat.
The fish were several miles off shore, so his plan was to just
run west until we got to where the fish were, and then head north
and start tolling, then turn east and come back to shore.
As we got further off shore, we noticed a fog bank about ten
miles out, but he didn't pay it much attention, as it was
a fast boat, and if the fog got closer, we could just run back
to Newport.
Not being much of a sailor then, and certainly not an Ocean sailor,
I put my faith in him; after all he did this all the time.
We got the proper distance off shore and began trolling north.
All was well, still sunny, but because we were in this nice big
boat, he hadn't noticed that the wind had started to pick up from
the north, and also the current was from the north.
This was the time before Loran or GPS, so it was dead reckoning.
(An appropriate term if ever there was one.)
To the chase. His Reckoning wasn't so good.
The fog did come in faster than he had thought and the wind had
really picked up.
We were in the fog, with five to six foot seas, and winds of about
25 knots. He was a little concerned, but not too worried.
He had a new depth finder that he had just bought and figured
that if we just headed east until we got to the ten fathom line,
we could then head south, and run into the buoy.
Sounded good to me. What did I know? He had the depth finder,
and the chart, and it looked good.
Unfortunately his reckoning of wind and current, and drift had not
been so good, so when we got to the ten fathom curve, we were
actually south of Newport.
We then began our slow run south, the direction he was sure
would take us right to the buoy.
After running downwind for about 45 minutes, and not finding
the buoy, he became more concerned.
Running downwind, the seas, and wind were to our backs and did not
seem too bad, although both were picking up.
It also did not help when we started seeing other boats that were
lost, heading the other way.
He was still fairly sure, that he was headed in the right direction
and told them so.
By now the wind was really howling and the seas had build to
10 to 12 feet.
Occasionally we could see the shore, and I had the chart, and was
trying to identify anything we saw. After a while we began seeing
rocks a few hundred yards from us through the breaks.
We were still in 10 fathoms, and I couldn't find any rocks north of
Newport that were corresponding to the ones we were seeing.
I started looking for rocks at that depth anywhere close to Newport,
and the only ones I could find were south.
We were at Seal Rock. The fog broke enough that we could see the
shore some, and he decided that in fact that's where we must be.
Not the end of the story though.
We turned around and started heading north, still following the ten
fathom curve, only now we were back in the fog heading into both the
wind, now about 35 knots, and seas, which now I estimated at about 15
feet, us, at that depth of water, being just outside the breakers.
It was an exciting ride. My wife had long since gone below, and was
not having a good day.
I was still too ignorant to be really frightened, and thought it was
quite exciting to fall off a crest, into a trough, and plow into the
next crest.
I did start to get a little concerned when green water started coming
over the bow, over the windshield, and up over our windshield, but it
was exciting, and I had a comfy seat, and a strong boat.
Our friend was not as ignorant as I, and was now, Very concerned.
We had run north for over an hour, and no buoy.
He finally decided to call the Coast Guard, and tell them we were
From their response, we were not the only ones.
Their first orders, in kind of a panicked voice was to turn west into
deeper water. (We were, and had been in only 70 feet at best.) They
next instructed him to hold his mike button down for 30 seconds, so
they could get a radio fix on us, but by now, he was getting panicky
and would only hold the button down for a few seconds and then try to
get a response from them.
Seeing this, and understanding what the Coast Guard was telling him,
I was no longer having fun. I thought I was going to have to take
over the boat.
About that time, the Coast Guard had gotten a fix on us, and said we
were about 1/4 mile south of the mouth of the jetty.
All of a sudden, the fog lifted and we saw the jetty and a Cutter
sitting at the mouth, rounding up, and accounting for lost soles.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, but is was a trip I will always

Pat Patteson
Molalla, Oregon

What's the "Secrect of Sawyer's Landing"?

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