Stupid Sailor Tricks
Here''s another "almost" horror story that can occur when crew touch things they shouldn''t (also known as "things the skipper should strongly caution against"). The names and relationships have been changed to protect the guilty.
Upon return from provisioning ashore with the dink, husband allows the wife to disembark onto the swim platform. Provisions are duly hauled aboard and below. Wife decides the engine-driven reefer compressor needs to be run, so starts the engine. Husband (attending to the dink engine) hears the engine labor at idle with the compressor engaged and informs wife that the engine speed should be increased to about 1700 rpm. Wife pushes the throttle lever forward and engine sounds happy.
At that moment husband finishes with dink and steps aboard swim platform. "Gee, why is there such a strain on the dink painter? Why is there a wake? Holy s**t!" The engine is in forward gear!
Racing to the control, husband gently but firmly goes to strong reverse to avoid hitting the boat directly ahead of us, owned by the couple with the biggest eyes I have ever seen. The boat gains sternway at least 50 feet from a collision, and the all-chain rode prevents entanglement with the prop, thankfully.
Husband ensures the anchor is still well set, then as calmly as possible, reminds the wife what the little red button on the throttle control is for - N-E-U-T-R-A-L.