Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Stupid Sailor Tricks!
This came from another BB:
The Wild Magnet
Submitted by Peter Roach of Atlanta on 03/27 at 09:54AM regarding General_interest
I bought a 150 lb magnet (that is the lifting ability not the weight of the magnet). My slip is in about 45’ of water and over time I have dropped anassortment of wrenches, car keys, bolts, nuts, multiple pairs of sunglasses, irreplaceable parts to my roller furling, etc. I could just picture
sending this magnet down on the end of a line and retrieving all sorts of treasures from the bottom. I even thought I might become the ‘man of the hour’ by helping my lesser-equipped dock mates retrieve their lost treasures. In essence this magnet was going to make me look really cool.
The first lesson I learned with the magnet is one should never stand too close to a car with a powerful magnet in a thin plastic bag. According to modern physics, if a magnet is designed to lift 150 pounds, it takes 150 pounds of pulling power to get it off of the fender of a 1993 Mazda Miata.
Also we discovered, Mazda paint jobs will not hold up against a sharp metal object being pressed against it with 150 pounds of pressure. One piece of advice, if you decide to test this theory, make sure the young attractive girl that owns the Miata (and you have been trying to get a date with her for months) is not in the proximity of the test area – oh well.
The second lesson I learned is one should never place a very powerful magnet near an electronic component. Usually electronic components and magnets are natural enemies and the magnet is highest on the food chain. Like the lion and the zebra – the magnet wins. This includes the compass on your boat (actually it was one of my crew members that attached it to the rail around the compass).
All of these problems seemed to be worth the effort in order for me to strut down the dock with my new purchase, tie it to a 50’ line, and pull untold treasures from the deep and impress my friends on the dock.
As I calmly walked toward my slip, with my magnet sticking to my car keys thorough the thin plastic bag and my shorts, I beckoned to my dock mates to witness the miracle of reclaiming the abandoned and formerly lost treasures from the deep. Apparently, the confidence in my voice and the promise of untold treasures from the deep, caused a larger than normal crowd to gather on the dock.
Without even stopping to unlock my boat, I retrieved an old anchor line from the dock box. While I straightened out the dock line, a friend of mine (powerboater – this distinction will become important in a minute) used all of his skills to tie the 150 pound magnet to the end of the dock line.
As I slowly eased the magnet over the edge of the dock I learned my third magnet lesson. Floating docks have a great deal of metal below the waterline. Since the water is rather opaque, I had not noticed the brace 10’ below the waterline that ran between the ends of the finger piers to keep them from floating apart. Having no eyes and an unnatural attraction to large quantities of metal, my magnet did not suffer from the same handicap and firmly stuck to the brace.
The fourth lesson I learned is to never let a power boater tie a knot on something that is going anywhere near the water.
The fifth lesson (well ok I should not count this as a new lesson because I learned it with the Miata) is it TAKES 150 pounds of pulling to get the damn magnet off of a big piece of metal. YES – this was a new lesson because I was 10’ below the water, under my boat, holding my breath and pulling really hard.
My sixth lesson was learned shortly after pulling the magnet free. One should never hold onto a heavy object underwater without some immediate means of support. Luckily I was able to reattach the magnet to
the metal beam as I accelerated toward the bottom. Actually I think the magnet had more to do with this than I did.
The seventh lesson I learned is one minute is a really long time to hold ones breath.
The eighth lesson I learned is always look up when you are coming up under a boat.
The ninth lesson I learned is you really run out of air fast when you are holding your head, seeing stars, and trying to find the surface.
The tenth lesson I learned is never invite a large crowd of people to watch you try out any new piece of gear.
The eleventh lesson I learned is never leave your cooler full of cold beer on the dock with ‘friends’ on a hot day while you dive underwater (hey they were laughing at me and drinking my beer!!). I don’t care what they say, one minute is way too short of time to declare someone dead and divide up their belongings.
Now that I had the crowd warmed up, I decided to take my three-strand nylon anchor line and run it through the eyebolt of the magnet and back up to the surface. This way I would not have to risk a sudden trip to the bottom and I would not have to tie a knot underwater. Considering the day I was having this went amazingly well. It also gave those clowns on the dock a chance to get another round of drinks from my cooler
Thinking ahead, for the first time that day, I realized that the support member was attached to the dock by a vertical piece of metal. Not wanting that evil magnet to reattach itself several times to the support member while it was on the way to the surface, I climbed onto the deck of my boat. When I pulled on the line I learned my twelfth lesson of the day(second physics lesson). A three-strand nylon line has roughly the stretching ability of a rubber band and while water has a natural resistance, it is not enough to keep a magnet from hitting the bottom of your boat on the way to the surface. I also learned that a magnet can scratch gelcoat as fast as it will scratch a Miata.
In the end I finally got the magnet correctly tied to the line and on the bottom of the lake. After about an hour, with no beer remaining in my cooler and with only a small audience, I finally gave up on recapturing any treasure. The only thing the magnet was able to find was a great deal of rust shavings. I know the bottom of the lake under my boat is littered with all type of hardware, tools, coins, etc so I was amazed when the magnet failed to bring up even one small item. Maybe the fish are calmly swimming around with sunglasses, or they have constructed their own secret city out of all of the spare parts.
All was not lost with the magnet. My fellow boaters now play ‘hand me the wrench’ with the magnet. This is a game they devised using the magnet, a metal wrench and a dockbox with a thin top. They first take the magnet and put it on the underside of the lid to the dockbox. They then attach a wrench to the top of the dockbox and close it so everything looks normal. They then pretend to be working on their boat. When the unsuspecting target of this game walks by, they ask him to hand them the wrench. It works every time and it is amazing how hilarious my dock mates find it when a new person joins the game. They seem to get particular joy in this game when they can think of new things to stick to the dock box or when they can catch someone more than once by using different bait. They even had someone hide in the dockbox to pull the magnet away when his partner showed the victim that the wrench did not weigh 150 pounds.
The magnet also seems to be good for playing ‘throw the metal object over the magnet’, ‘the worlds largest refrigerator magnet’ (WARNING – apparently the magnet will scratch a Kenmore refrigerator as easily as it will a 1993 Mazda Miata), ‘find the car keys in your wife’s purse’, and a whole lot of other games. Hey we might not be too smart but we are easily entertained.
In the end – I guess the magnet was worth the price.