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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2010
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I'd have second thoughts about going out with someone who called off a daysail merely because his gps/depth sounder wasn't working.
Anyway, it's his job to make sure you're comfortable, feel safe, and are having a good time. All of that makes learning much easier.
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Last edited by FSMike; 06-10-2010 at 05:46 PM.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
I'd have second thoughts about going out with someone who called off a daysail merely because his gps/depth sounder wasn't working.
I'd agree with you on GPS ... but depth sounder is a pretty critical piece of equipment in a lot of areas ... Charleston Harbour for example.
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeltiC View Post
Yeah like you said...there will be different situations each time.
I'm not entirely sure what I could have (should have) done better (differently) last time.
But I was in tears afterwards!! : (
Dont take things in life too seriously because few things are fatal. Talk about different situations a couple of weeks back I had to aproach my slip idled in reverse. I was being pushed by gust of 50 knts.
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Old 06-10-2010
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Kelti - I strongly suggest that you consider taking a course or going out with someone other than your boyfriend at least once or twice to learn the basics. I consider myself a very good teacher when it comes to strangers, but when it comes to my wife, she and I have an understanding that I'm not the right person to teach. We learned this when we started dating and she decided she wanted to learn to ski. I had been skiing for years, and tried to teach her - it didn't work out well (there were tears, but 20 years later we are still together ) Once she took a class and had the basics, then it was fine with me teaching more advanced aspects, etc. Same with the boat, the first couple times out she was just a passenger. Then she went out with someone else to learn some of the basics. Now, I'm able to work with her on more advanced issues, like sail trim. Going out with someone who knows how to teach to at least learn the basics should make the entire process much less painful. I'd also suggest reading at least one good intro to sail book before going out with an instructor - it will make your time much more productive.
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I'd have to say, while a general point, that one of the most important components of a successful docking is a briefing beforehand.

The Captain needs to lead this discussion. It should include a play by play of the docking you're about to do. You need to discuss how the dock will be approached, who has what responsibility, the expected wind and current conditions at the slip and how they'll effect the boat, etc, etc. It should include what your responsibilities are, what actions you need to take. You need to be able to have all questions that come up along the way answered.

While performing the plan you already developed and discussed ... you need to stick to the plan and keep communicating. Also, you need to be willing to abort the docking, regroup, reevaluate, and try again later ... when it seems to be going poorly. While some unexpected things can be corrected "on the fly" you always need to be willing to abort.

I generally sail with those who have never sailed before but have always made useful deckhands of them by communicating their actions clearly. Yes, I communicate their actions to them. The Captain will, and should, tell you what you need to be doing in clear, concise language. It is not a power trip, and it should not include scolding ... it is simply what is necessary to safely and effectively operate a boat.

I do the same sort of "briefing" before gybing, tacking, anchoring, generally navigating channels, or around boater traffic. It may seem tedious but, once again, communication is key.
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Old 06-10-2010
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Buy a set of wireless walkietalkie headphones with a speaker mike....time and time again I watch some poor hapless wife, girlfriend daughter etc, get lambasted because the Captain just is not proficient nor calm thru the process. Have him slow it down, way down, speak quietly into the mike and walk the boat in. Nothing a mate can do when one blows thru the mooring or bounces off the dock..a good competent skipper docks calmly, with clear, crisp direction....anything less than either find another skipper, take lessons yourself or just walk away..tears and boating are not an endorsable combination
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Simple advice. Work with your boyfriend and understand the tasks he wants you to perform when you are about to dock. I am assuming he will be at the helm and you are being the helper for the docking.

The first few times for new people are always difficult. It is the responsibility of the skipper to go step by step and provide instructions that are easy to follow. Sometimes there maybe sudden changes in strategy required based on what is happening and the helper needs to be flexible and follow new instructions without panicking. Just have faith that the person giving instructions knows what they are doing.

Trust me, it only gets better with experience.
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Old 06-11-2010
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Have you ever seen "Top Gun"? Watch Maverick and Goose effortlessly land their Tomcat on an aircraft carrier without dumping the plane off the stern of the boat- it isn't because Tom Cruise is an excellent pilot, (yeah, his dad let him fly on the driveway, yeah.. oops, sorry wrong movie), it's because their plane has an arrestor hook. a hook that catches a wire stretched across the aircraft carrier that prevents the landing planes from sliding off the end of the boat and going swimming. What does this have to do with you and your boyfriend and his boat and your tears?
You and he need to create an arrestor hook for your boat, sometimes known as a springline.
I assume you are back at the dock. I also assume that your BF's boat has an unused (or underused) cleat on the boat somewhere on the side alongside the dock. Insist that BF find or buy a line that will measure (with a lot left over) from that cleat to the dock cleat furthest out on the dock. Then insist that BF measure from the boat cleat to the dock cleat , attach the line to the dock cleat, and make a big loop on the other end of that line. This is now your "arrestor hook." when you come back to dock, the first thing you do is toss that big loop over th end cleat on the dock, and lo and behold, the boat snuggles right up to the dock like a piglet attaching to mama, and you can now bring the bow home with a dockline expertly snaring a cleat or a boathook, snagging a cleat. No yelling , no tears, everybody is happy and you look like an old salt.

It saved my marriage.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2010
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Thank you all...for your wonderful advice.

I know that each time out will be different in all aspects of sailing. And I know I have lots to learn before I feel totally comfortable and confident.

In response to your question, Faster, I was handling the lines (if you want to call it that) and he was steering the boat. He had me get off at the dock and (since I am not very fast with tying the only knot I know) I wrapped it around the cleat as I was told. Then apparently the stern started to swing away from the dock, he told me to loosen the rope which I did and then he demanded that I get back on the boat...which I did.
Was it my fault that the boat started to swing out? What could I/we have done differently? Afterwards he said that I have to keep an eye on the boat and to stabilized it and make sure it doesn't move. So, what was I supposed to have done...reach out and grab it by the lifelines to hold it in place?????
I'd probably have fallen into the water if I tried that!

I wanted to take a 'crash course' this Sunday, but he thinks it'd be best to wait till I had a bit more experience 'under my belt' first.
*sigh
So, we go out again, not this weekend...but the following one...and we have to go for fuel...before we do anything. Does anyone know of anyone who delivers??? (J/K)
Thanks again for all your help and suggestions...I'm sure you have not heard the last of me!!!
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Old 06-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeltiC View Post

I He had me get off at the dock and (since I am not very fast with tying the only knot I know) I wrapped it around the cleat as I was told. Then apparently the stern started to swing away from the dock, he told me to loosen the rope which I did and then he demanded that I get back on the boat...which I did.

Kelti, read my post above. When it comes to docking, my wife and i alternate. I handle the bow lines and she steers, and handles the throttle, and the next time we trade. By using a spring line, three things have happened.
1. We don't yell at each other any more. At least while docking.
2. The stern of the boat doesn't swing free.
3. The bow person NEVER has to leave the boat until the boat is stopped, and the helmsman has secured the stern.

Take this little piece of harsh honesty for whatever it is worth. It is HIS boat, HIS responsibility. It is HIS job to make sure you know your job, and HIS fault if things don't go well. You can't do your job well if he doesn't show you how to do it well. It is also his responsibility to make sure his crew (you) know your stuff. Like knots. and docking protocol. That is stuff that needs to be practiced, but it is up to HIM to make sure it happens because it is HIS boat.

Feel free to print that out and practice it in from of a mirror. if you go sailing with him again, methinks you will need it.
This can either be a really big and vital part of your relationship, like it is for my wife and I, or it can be a relationship killer.

There are three ways to discover the true measure of a man.
1. Marry him.
2. Fire him.
3. Put him at the helm of a boat.
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