Join Date: Sep 2011
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
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gettting closer to sailing
Avenger: congratulations, and now take that big step and splash her in the water. And be prepared to make some mistakes.
Our first time out with our "new to us" boat was the "sea trial" just before closing the deal. We knew nothing about sailing; but, the boat shop owner did - he was our captain for the sea trial. We had four problems on that first short sail:
1. Motor took something like 50-pulls to start - tired from pulling on the cord, but undaunted, it finally started and we pressed on.
2. A few minutes later, not yet clear of the channel, the motor was purring along nicely but we were not moving. I gave it more throttle and the engine responded, but still we were not moving forward even though the motor was in gear. Then we found that the shear pin for the prop had broken.
3. A half an hour later, after drifting into the channel barrier, we were again under way. Once clear of the channel and in the open area of the lake, our captain had us raise the sails that he had rigged. The main went up uneventfully and soon we were sailing along. Then the jib was raised - something called a 150-genoa. And we were sailing along even faster. And then came a great gust, and my young children and I on the windward side of the cockpit were hoisted high into the air where we could peer down at my wife and the captain on the lee side of the cockpit. Water was pouring over their gunwale, soaking them both, and filling the cockpit. He was looking up at me and yelling something about "releasing the sheep". When I finally realized that there were no sheep onboard, and instead released the jib sheet, she came back up, and we watched the scuppers slowly work at draining the cockpit.
4. And, our most egregious error of the day - after this introduction to sailing, amid my scared and sobbing children, my soaked and unhappy wife, and the equally soaked and unhappy boat shop owner, we finalized the deal and bought the boat.
In the weeks after, as we were learning the ropes, I ...
- drove the half hour to the lake where the boat is kept at least once without the boat keys. Fail.
- same as above without the gas tank. Fail.
- and, when anchoring one afternoon with a lot of wave action, I held onto the boat with one hand while deftly freeing the anchor from its mount on the bow pulpit with my other hand and, while fumbling with the shackle on the anchor line, tossed the anchor in ... Without it actually having been attached to anything. Fail.
Point being: have spares (shear pins, anchors, more), recognize that you'll make mistakes, and use checklists religiously.