I love to learn the hard way!!! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 07-01-2010 Thread Starter
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I love to learn the hard way!!!

I am a stubborn stubborn man. I consistently learn all my lessons the hard way. I wish i knew why? maybe it has to do with my ethnicity (French, Portuguese and English) or maybe just maybe it has everything to do with my up-bringing. Regardless I just know that i learn things the hard way and i even learned that the Hard WAY! lol

Here are some of the errors that i have made and have had to correct in the reconditioning of my beloved lady Acrewed Interest (Hunter 25.5). If you learn the hard way this will not help you so stop reading. If not, read on and you may skip a few of these issues/head aches in your endeavors.

Hard Way Lesson 1

Tensioned my rig year 2. Borrowed a loose gauge from my uncle. First time i had ever used one, seemed easy enough... Nope it turns out that my uncles Loose gauge was for a much heavier rig on his J30 and i way over tensioned the backstay and first good sail of the year the headstay snapped in the rollerfurler sending the boat and her crew into a panic. Two of my extremely brave crew jump into action and hold the mast forward with both sails still up. while i run around blowing halyards and taking out the shrouds to lower the deck stepped mast on to the deck.
Mistake 1 over tightening with the wrong tool for the job.
Mistake 2 not having the presence of mind in the emergency to simply run the spare halyard to the forward chain-plate and crank the hell out of it to hold the rig upl Lesson learned!
Mistake 3 drinking a half of a bottle of Sailor Jerry after everything was under control (Hang Over in the morning)

Hard Way Lesson 2

I am sure this one has happened to someone else besides me. I simply shredded a Gib that had came with the boat. The first time it happened it was a tropical storm and i had been away for a while and didn't think anything of take my head sail off of the roller. I said to myself It will be fine others have theirs on still. Wrong! it started flogging @ around 10pm and it might of lasted for 10 mins before it shredded its self. My neighbor ran up the street to my house and knocked on my door and was concerned to say the least. The concern was the boat was going to sail off the mooring and take out other boats. We jumped in his inflatable and tried to get out there to get the sail down once i got on the boat it was far to late and i just left it. The sail shredded nicely and wasn't causing it to sail to badly. Got pretty soaked in the 70knt blow in the little inflatable though.
Mistake 1 don't go by what others are doing... go with your gut every single time, take the sail off.
The second time this happened to me it was because of a bad design by what ever owner installed a clam cleat on the toe rail laying on its side for the roller furler line. Shook loose unfurled and flogged all night shredded in the am. I removed the clam cleat and installed a regular cleat.
Mistake 2 no matter what ALWAYAS wrap your furled sail with at least 1 sail tie and cleat the roller line. This is boating its all about backups.

Hard Way lesson 3

Outboard motor disaster. Got an outboard Evenrude Yachttwin 9.9 long leg on AI. Had some trouble getting it to piss for a while but its running great now. The previous year i had an old peice of plywood on the motor arm real badly rotted and nearly lost the motor because of it. The wing nut style screw clamps that held the motor on happen to be fully extended not tight. I look back one day and to my disbelief the leg is kind of floating up to the side. I look again and i see that the motor is only being held on by one of the clamps. Crisis! all hell breaks loose and i grab a halyard this time (BING! light bulb) attached it to the motor and then jumped in to fix the issue.
So the year goes on and i pull the boat and decide that motor incident is never going to happen again and make a super nice replacement for the wooden piece on the motor mount. I even went above and beyond and plated the mount on both sides of the hull for a super strong low flex mount. Feeling great about the motors performance and its new mount i splash the boat and begin the season. Here comes the Hard way. I was at an event trying to set hook in some chop, backing her down on the hook the motor started cavitating in reverse. On one of the cavitations it decided to turn so when it went back down into the water the prop was sidways thus spinning the entire leg up out of the water and leaving it hooked up only by one clamp again even with the brand new rig.
Mistake 1 Through bolt the damn motor!!!
Mistake 2 Also tighten the pivot point so the motor will not turn on its own. keep it tight but movable encase of a docking issue. It is nice to have stern thrust in either direction while in tight quarters.

well that is all for now. lets here your Hard Way stories...

O before i post two more.
shrink wrap house is not a good way to dry a boat out over the winter. The cover creates a micro climate. moisture evaporates and then just drips back down.

and when removing stickers on gelcoat with a heat gun be carefull not to pop the finish. getting the gelcoat to hot makes bubbles and they burst ruining the integrity and the finish of the gelcoat.

Sail Wicked Hard!
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-01-2010
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Mav, dude, I'm right there with you brother. I'm convinced that the hard way is the only way. Your checklist looks like mine. So a toast to you.

But all that really counts is your last sentence. SN raise your glasses to "Sail wicked hard".
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-01-2010
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I find I remember the lessons a lot better when I learn them the hard way. I kept previous boats on a mooring for about 15 years. I had our boat on the beach a couple of times and learned a new weak spot with the way I designed our mooring each time.

Lesson #1: I had a large nylon mooring line that went all the way down to a bouncer block with a float about six feet up to keep the line from wrapping up and chafing. In a blow, the bouncer block got tipped over. Now my mooring line is upside down and quickly chaffed through. So I added a length of chain later on.

Lesson #2. Don't mix stainless safety wire with galvanized fittings. The stainless wire caused the galvanized fittings to wear out prematurely because of galvanic action. Found boat on the beach again and then switched to plastic wire ties on all the underwater fittings.

Lots of other mistakes learned the hard way, but I must try and maintain the little bit of dignity I have left.

S.V. Nikko
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA

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Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-24-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

We need some more Hard lessons. Come on people. I know there are more stories...
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-24-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

After working on my boat on the mooring all day I decided to take a break and motor around the mooring field. Got to the far side and saw a shadow in the water. After thinking for a few seconds that, "gee, if this was in the Caribbean I would think that was a reef" Bam-o! Hard grounding in my own mooring field. Arg.

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-25-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

Dang Barq!
How do you save "Harbor Face" running aground in your own mooring field? As a fellow B-27 owner I may need some tips.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-26-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

First time out on my Pearson Triton after a quick once over I said it all "looked" good, the bobstay broke and we snapped the bowsprit in 35knots as we left an anchorage 25nm from anything. At least I knew by the time we got back that the engine was reliable.

When I changed my mail sail I didn't put lines in for the reefing points because the weather was perfect and we were only going 20 nm. A nasty and unpredicted gale rolled threw and I had to run lines and set blocks in 45 knots.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-27-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

Too bad this post didn't go anywhere the first time. Here's hoping that changes. It reminds me of a short story I read many MANY years ago about a group of doctors who would meet and talk about their patients who had died and what the doctors should have done better. One of them tells his story, receives this group fest of ideas and discussion, then runs back to the hospital -- his patient hadn't died yet.

The moral of the story is to keep the stories coming and maybe the rest of us can avoid getting into the same fixes, though I am positive we will all still have plenty of our own fubars. I take possession of my boat in 3 days time so I will also try to share the mistakes, provided they're not too embarrassing. Actually, now that I think about it, I do have one. It was when the sea trail was almost finished and we were taking down the sails. I had not touched the engine up to this point and wanted to make sure I knew the start up procedures (yes, I'm that new). The broker then told me that forward was in the down position. Needless to say, I turned the boat one way and it starts moving in the opposite direction. At least I got it by the time I docked later, which turned out pretty well. A friend tells me that in one near-panic situation during a docking, he engaged the engine in the wrong direction. I'm hoping that always sticks in my brain, especially during the frantic moments...
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-27-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

The wife and I set out after church on Sunday to spend a night swinging on the hook at the local lake. The winds were pretty high (for us) but they were to abate somewhat so we hung out at the slip for awhile then headed out to sail a bit then find a nice cove for the night. With the winds and the Labor Day stinkboat parade the water was a mix-master. Even anchored back in a cove we got a good share of sloshing about. We finally move further back into the cove the lessons began (yes, this all happened on one trip):
1. When using a cheap halogen light for an anchor light, never pull it up to hang from the jib halyard. The wave action soon has it spun around the mast, main halyard, and stays. Dang. How will I get that undone in the dark?
2. When the main halyard is tangled with the jib halyard due to #1 never take it loose from the mainsail and pull. Now it's a real mess. No sailing now until we putt back to the dock with the aid of Mr. Johnson's 4 40 year old horses.
3. Remember back in coves there are underwater trees and snags. In the cool 50 degree morning one cannot pull up an entire tree with the anchor rope. It requires an upside down swim down the rope to fix it. Brrr.
4. Mr. Johnson's horses need fuel and when the tank gets low, it requires a tilt to keep the gas flow to the horses.
5. The trailer you stored at the marina to have ready to pull 'er out in the fall is never where you left it. The help shows you where it's at-in the bone yard.
6. Remember to put the box receiver hitch in the truck. You can't pull the trailer with out it. Good thing we only live 10 miles from the marina.
7. Old outboards tend to die an the most inopportune moments. Like motoring from the slip to the dock to put the boat on the trailer so the mast can be un-stepped to fix #1 and #2.
8. Starter ropes break on old outboards at the most inopportune moments.
9. Boats with no power move with the wind to the nearest shore when one gets frazzled and forgets to throw the anchor. It always has rocks.
10. Old outboards have a backup method to start using the broken rope on the flywheel. They will start after a few pulls (figured as ambient temperature x frustration level of the captain x length of the boat). But...old fuel line fittings on old outboards tend to break off.
11. While one is fussing with how to get the boat to the dock through the underground rocks, he finds out about the famous weak tiller connection on O'days when the swing rudder he forgot to pull up hits same rocks and snaps off the tiller.
12. Those rocks next to the shore are hard on shins while one walks the boat to the dock.
13. He finds that other sailors are very kind and helpful to get his boat out of the water, onto the boat, and the mast un-stepped. The even admit to having the same things happen rather than ridicule him.
14. Tires on trailers left at the marina tend to rot and fly apart on the way home. Thankfully the air stays in and he can limp it in since (see above) he's only 10 miles from home.
15. Be grateful for God's grace and the help of complete strangers. These are important lessons to learn because...
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Honoring S/Sgt Glenn English, Jr, Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism that cost his life in Viet Nam, 9/7/70.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-27-2013
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Re: I love to learn the hard way!!!

We decided to take the new to us boat for a test trail.
It was a beautiful August day. NOT a ripple on the water, literally. You could have drop a quarter and seen ripples for 50 feet. Zero wind; not even one knot. A truly freakish day. The fastest i've ever motored this boat.
We go out about 6 miles and go for a swim.

On the way back in; BANG! My transmission grenades! (didn't know it at the time) I was 4 miles out. My wife looks at me and says what do we do? It was about 2pm; i let her know the wind would pick-up right before sunset.
Lucky for me; my marina neighbor came by a half hour later and gave us a tow back with his Catalina 400. He happened to recognize me from a distance.

Lessons learned:
First - Never ever take anyones word for nothing, check it yourself. The transmission had "just been serviced"; 2 hours on motor. Discovered no fluid! My fault; should've checked.

Second - Don't call ahead to the Marina to ask for deck hands in case you need them for docking.
I felt like a rock star coming in. Camera's and video rolling as i had a truly roaring reception. I listened to this for the rest of the year.
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