A Classic Bertram 31 Sinks in Nantucket Sound After Hitting Rocks off of West Dennis

While scouring the in internet, I came across an article posted back in August 16, 2007 by Cape Code Today. Apparently the operator of the Bertram 31, The Raven, on the evening of August 15, 2007 was leaving the Bass River going into Nantucket Sound when the Bertram 31, struck bottom off of the West Dennis beach. There is a cluster of underwater rocks marked with a buoy just to the northwest of the rock pile about half way between the beach and the rock pile. Other rocks are scattered throughout the area. The boat was between the beach and the “rock pile,” just beyond the buoys that demarcate the swimming area. The tide was low at the time of the mishap. The impact tore off the starboard rudder and damaged both props. Left picture below shows the starboard side with the rudder post sheared off at the hull line and the shaft strut dislodged, opening up a hole in the hull. Photo below also shows the badly damaged left prop.

The Operator of The Raven was plucked from Nantucket Sound that Wednesday night. Fortunately for the operator of The Raven, a Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod was on a night training flight when his boat began to sink. The helicopter arrived on scene 19 minutes after the first call and found the vessel listing to starboard with the deck flooded up to the pilothouse door. The Coast Guard initially communicated with the skipper on channel 16 but communication was soon lost. Judging that the vessel was sinking, the pilot sent the rescue swimmer into the water.

Following the swimmer’s instructions, the mariner entered the water and was hoisted to safety. Examined by the corpsman on board and found to be in good condition, the mariner was ferried to the West Dennis beach parking lot where he was met by the Dennis harbormaster.

Below is an Aerial Shot of the Inlet to Bass River in West Dennis

The irony to this Bertram 31′s fate is that Ray Hunt, who designed the Bertram 31, designed this hull to smooth out the square seas of Buzzards Bay and the shoals off Nantucket, unfortunately, did not factor in Pilot Error when striking shoals in Nantucket Sound.

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