Once the staff were back from lunch, we were ready to cast off. The tide was lower than usual and we wouldn't have enough depth along the out dock to clear with our nearly 7-foot keel. This didn't seem to bother the staff, one of whom boarded NiPolos 3 and instructed us to untie the main halyard before casting off. Another jumped into a dinghy and followed us. A few yards out along the outer dock, we ran aground. I was instructed to toss the halyard to the dinghy crew who tied it to the dink and throttled it until we were heel quite well and free. A few yards further, we were aground again and went through the same routine. I was taken aback the the nonchalance of these maneuvers. I considered running aground quite serious, but was happy for the practice in getting us free.
The next actions were to replace the halyard and raise the main. Sunsail didn't want us in the channel without power in case the auxiliary 75 HP Yanmar failed. Just the week before, Sunsail lost a boat returning to Oyster Pond because it got a cross wave that dashed it on a reef. The sea was 10 feet and the wind was 20-Plus at the mouth of Oyster Pond, so we were heading into it. We followed the dinghy out of the harbor into the narrow channel between two reefs on either side. The instructions were to keep the red markers close to port and continue past the red/white buoy for several minutes before setting a course to be sure we had sufficiently cleared reefs north and south.
None of us was going to take any chances. We followed the instructions to the letter and followed the dinghy to the buoy. We also followed a cat that had left before us. We saw it rise and fall with the incoming waves. At one point, we saw it airborne briefly before it settle back on the downward back of a wave. I was happy to be in a deep keeled mono-hull.