Safety lesson - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 31 Old 10-28-2011
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I am really glad you are OK! Always good to learn from our "adventures".

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post #12 of 31 Old 10-28-2011
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I think it's really a cheap shot trashing a guy who has come clean publicly in order to help the rest of us. He already knows what he did wrong, so he doesn't need us piling on.

The example you set with this guy will be remembered by everyone who reads this thread. You may think you're helping the guy, but really your main lesson may be, "don't ever admit your mistakes on SailNet."

Frankly, I'd much rather see people post their mistakes up here so we can learn from them. But keep trashing this guy and that won't happen going forward.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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post #13 of 31 Old 10-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
I think it's really a cheap shot trashing a guy who has come clean publicly in order to help the rest of us. He already knows what he did wrong, so he doesn't need us piling on.

The example you set with this guy will be remembered by everyone who reads this thread. You may think you're helping the guy, but really your main lesson may be, "don't ever admit your mistakes on SailNet."

Frankly, I'd much rather see people post their mistakes up here so we can learn from them. But keep trashing this guy and that won't happen going forward.
It was not a cheap shot. It was factual. However in best interests: -

Its gone now.


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post #14 of 31 Old 10-28-2011
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some accidents[incidents] are so freaky no one can antisipate them but i've found that if i preplay certain possibilities over in my head i'm much better prepared mentally when the s**t hits the fan
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post #15 of 31 Old 10-28-2011
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I am reading this, and happy you are here to fight again.

I am thinking of our own state regs, might have helped here some (can't tell you how many people ignore them, including myself from time to time)... a tossable, and a horn have to be ON deck. That would not have corrected the engine trouble, or the sail issues.

Will you please post pictures, and descriptions of how you setup the new boat? How you will avoid these things going forward?
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post #16 of 31 Old 10-29-2011
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The Bear's two cents worth:
Thanks for the story and glad that you are alright to continue on in your never ending sailing lessons. It is a shame that you lost a boat in your lesson but they say the best lschools are usually very expensive. I must also thank you for the reminder that "for the lack of a nail.....a battle was lost". So many times we place ourselves in jepparty by failing to simply look or think before we act. We go complacently over confident in our ablities, overlooking obvious hazzards, and ignoring the basic safety rules.
We, who go out upon the waters must never ever forget that it is an alien world full of many dangers and is ever testing us and is very unforgiving.
I am glad that you and yours will continue sailing and I wish you smooth waters and soft breezes.
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post #17 of 31 Old 10-29-2011
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Failures are always traceable back to an original error in the chain. Often they are that little anomaly that was ignored or the limit that was pressed. That isn't usually the one that gets you, but did get the ball rolling. In this case, it is pretty simple. Heading out into heavy seas on a 27 ft unfamiliar boat was the original sin. I understand this was worse than forecast, but will have a hard time believing the forecast was for 2 to 4 and it suddenly became 20.

There are some things that seem odd. First, a 27ft boat is the smallest every sailed? There are people that started bigger, but its unusual. Then the motor fails on the first attempt and requires a tow, but while good enough to get out to sea on the second trip, won't start again. Not having a pfd donned when heading into heavy seas is also part of the chain of errors, but I don't know too many that would even attempt that solo. Lastly, the boat was tossed on the rocks, after having been lifted so high that its keel was exposed, but a jump to a rock was made in seas that high. Then jumped back again and the boat was seaworthy enough to be towed.

I'm very glad the OP survived, but do admit that the story sound like a bit of grog is involved in the telling. No offense intended.
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post #18 of 31 Old 10-29-2011
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I have to admit, it takes a lot of guts to tell a story like this. We've all done plenty of stupid things though and I sure can relate to having been very lucky in my past.

I read recently, in a book by John Vigor, called "The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat", where he writes; "Those of us who subscribe to Vigor's Black Box Theory know that there is no such thing as fortuitous luck at sea. The reason why some sailors survive storms or have fewer accidents than others, is that they "earn" their luck by constant and diligent acts of preparation and seamanship." Now I wouldn't go so far as to say it's always that simple, but he certainly has a very good point!

I worked for many years as a foreman at two jobs. One with heavy equipment and the other a woodworking shop. One of my main things I used to teach people was how to stop what ever machine they were running. It's amazing to me that most times people panic and just don't stop the machine. A good example would be an out of control car, with say a stuck gas pedal. So often people don't simple turn off the ignition. Sometimes in life we do actually have control, we just don't use it.

Now in the case of a sailboat, you have a few very good ways to stop it from hitting the rocks. First of all, shut off the motor/sails! Two good ways of doing this, without dropping them would be to let the sheets (being the ropes that control the sails) run free and to steer into the wind. I'd rather have them flog themselves to death than wreck the boat. Of course, that doesn't stop the boat from drifting, but the anchor in most cases would. And if it didn't, it would at least slow you down enough to do other things, like radio for help, don your PFD, say your prayers, whatever. You're anchor is your best friend at times like these and it should always be kept close at hand. I prefer to have mine under the cockpit seat, so I don't even have to go forward to get it down. Once it's over I can walk the line (as it's still slack) to the bow. It's also a very good idea to tie the bitter end to something, to prevent it from slipping through your hands. Having it on deck is also good though, my boat just doesn't have an anchor locker. I've even set it up before with a line already running to the bow (outside the stanchions) in anticipation. Think of it as your emergency brake.

Or you could do what my wife wants to and carry a small helicopter on deck.

Good luck with your future sailing!

Last edited by Charlie B; 10-29-2011 at 10:17 AM.
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post #19 of 31 Old 10-29-2011
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Any time I read someone's account of his mistakes, I review my own practices for points of weakness. That's why I appreciate people sharing these sorts of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
...I am thinking of our own state regs, might have helped here some (can't tell you how many people ignore them, including myself from time to time)... a tossable, and a horn have to be ON deck...
Interesting you mentioned this. We got pulled over in our Trophy boat by Law Enforcement on Lake Wally about 10 years ago, and it left a lasting impression. The reason we were pulled over was because my wife was pulling me on skis with my ~10 year old son acting as a spotter. Since he looked a little young, they wanted to check us out. They said that the previous week a family tried to claim their 3-year old son was a "qualified spotter" (which is the legal requirement - no specific age). My son passed their little quiz on hand signals, but then they did a complete inspection fir our compliance with state regs. I had an air horn in a latched tool box under the console. The law stipulates that it be within reach, and since the tool box was right by my foot, it met the legal requirement, though clearly not the full intent. Since then I have gone to great pains to make sure the horn is within reach on all boats (and a whistle around my neck on the Phantom). When we got the C250, I immediately ordered an organizer to keep the horn (and refreshments) within easy reach:


We also bought a LifeSling to meet the throwable requirement.

Last winter I bought a new radio plus a RAM mic, because I recognized the importance of having the ability to call from the cockpit and the handheld seemed to be far inferior for reception. I also bought a radio with AIS because of the large number of freighters and tugs/barges in our vicinity.

PFD's are always worn - no exceptions. Much of this comes from experience on the two smaller boats, and my childhood memory of my father lecturing me "it don't matter how well you swim if you hit your head on the way down." As you can see in the pic above, we do use auto-inflate PFDs for comfort.

So we check out well vs. a lot of the issues raised here. But reading over the comments here did remind me of one big deficiency we have. We do have a real nice anchor locker with two rodes/chains and two anchors. Last spring I was indecisive about which anchor I wanted connected to which rode, so I left them both disconnected. That is a major safety shortcoming which I will address as soon as the #@^$% snow stops. I may even consider moving one back to the cockpit locker, although attaching the bitter end is not straightforward in that location.

So once again following these threads has helped me upgrade our safety practices. Please keep the helpful comments coming, and the repetitive piling on to a minimum!


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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post #20 of 31 Old 10-29-2011
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So some here think leaving port without a functional engine is a root cause of the loss of this boat? Its time to invoke the Lin & Larry Pardey credo - not many sailboats really need an engine and our reliance on them makes sailing less of an experience. My first boat was a 27 footer with a seized diesel when I bought it. Sailed it for two and a half years without an engine and learned more about sailing that boat, what I could and couldn't do, than I ever would have if the engine had worked from day one. I regularly sail my current 37 footer on and off the mooring without ever starting the engine. I just don't buy it that you MUST have a good engine on a sailboat to be safe!
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