SailNet Community - View Single Post - What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?
View Single Post
post #349 of Old 10-09-2010
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 525
Thanks: 2
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 8
Let me tell you about my day. Prepare yourself, it's a long story.

Two friends and I decided to go fishing. I'm having some shrouds replaced, so one my shrouds is off the boat, so we had to motor (the wind was perfect too, I was upset about this).

We get a couple of minutes outside the marina and the engine dies. I can't get it to crank. We're drifting out of control, so I give the order to raise the main. So much for not stressing my weakened rig! We get the sail about 2/3 of the way up and can't go any higher because the wind is abeam. The sail is flopping all over the place, but we can steer and think for a second.

First thought: engine won't crank because it's in gear. I switch to neutral, thinking the problem is solved. Crank crank crank. Sounds like it's not getting any fuel. I check the tank level, we've got plenty. I check the fuel filter, looks fine.

Second thought: the guys who installed my Espar yesterday somehow let air into the fuel line. I need to bleed it. I should probably mention this is my first boat. I've owned it for less than a month. This is my third time out with it. My total sailing experience is an 8-day ASA course on an IP440 and a dozen or so afternoons on a Mercury on the Charles River. I have no idea how to fix the engine (I'm going to take a class this winter), so I call my broker. He doesn't know how to bleed it, and tells me to call the service yard that will be teaching that class. I do, but they're closed for the holiday weekend.

New plan: sail back to the marina. I call them on the VHF, explain my situation, and they say I can dock on the end on the outside. We turn around, fully raise the main, and 45 minutes later of tacking later, I am pulling up to the dock (directly upwind, thankfully). We stop dead before we get to it. I go around again, build up more speed this time. The wind shifts as I'm pulling up and blows me away from the dock (some kind of weird local effect, it was back to the original direction in the channel). I go around again, come in faster and aiming into the dock. Success! My first time docking under sail, third time docking ever.

The marina staff recommend a liveaboard who might be able to fix the engine. He spends about 10 minutes looking things over and identifies a fuel shut off that is in the "off" position. I never even looked for one because my surveyor told me there wasn't one and that I should add one! Apparently the Espar techs turned it off. Engine starts right up, I profusely thank my new neighbor, and then we're on our way again.

We enjoy a lovely afternoon of fishing, though we didn't catch anything. I even tried out my anchor for the first time. We head home later than we should have, and it is dark by the time we get back to the marina. Apparently I'm a bit too close to the opposite side of the fairway from my slip (I wanted a wide turn; bad plan). My stern wants to swing into a bunch of boats. I throw it into reverse, expecting the prop walk to move me away from them. It walks to port, right? Captain Jack seems to think so, and so did the seller's broker during the sea trial. It seems to be walking to starboard. Go back into forward, continue down the fairway... except there's a wall at the end. I try to do a U-turn, can't do it. I try to back up, it tries to go into those boats again. There are now about a dozen liveaboards hopping from boat to boat preparing to push me away (I never got close enough for that). Eventually I succeed in backing down the fairway to my slip. I consider docking stern-to, decide against it, keep backing down the fairway. I successfully pull into my slip forwards and various people tie off all the lines for me, then they all disappear... I didn't even have a chance to say thank you.

Well, we made it home, no boats were damaged, I met (terrified?) all my new neighbors, and learned a few things. Perhaps I should have named my boat "Trial by Fire". Maybe eventually I'll de-stress enough to go to sleep instead of writing long-winded forum posts

1979 Gulfstar 37 Laissez Faire

Last edited by rmeador; 10-09-2010 at 11:30 PM.
rmeador is offline  
Quote Share with Facebook
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome