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Gavin1 03-26-2002 04:04 AM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
I am writing an article on silly/stupid things sailors have done that got them in trouble. Any stories?

meqtpie 03-26-2002 06:55 AM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!

Give me a week, I am new at this sailing adventure and with the group I am learning with, sense of humor is profound, trust me, I know a good one will be pulled on me! Hey for all I know they might say I am too short to sail for starters!!! (4''11) Hope you don''t mind the jump in spirit I have, I know I am going to love this sport!

Jeff_H 03-26-2002 07:03 PM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
I gave you a story last week but here''s another. If you sail long enough and are lucky enough to survive, it''s easy to build up a lot of these boneheaded stories. When I was growing up, we kept our boats at the eastern end of Long Island Sound. Our sailing season typically began in May or so and typically the last sail of the season was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There was a reason for this particular day. Most insurance policies of the era called for boats to de-commissioned on Long Island Sound by November 1. For a small fee, a rider could be purchased that allowed you to sail until the last day in November so Saturday would be our last day because Sunday we would load up the car with sails and cushions and officially decommission for the year.

Most years that last sail of the year was a blustery, hair raising, shiver-me-timbers kind of event that made good telling when we got back in but was really pretty harsh when we were out there. I have always thought it was a bit like the guys that cut holes in the ice and go in swimming or the guys who lie on burning coals, it was not so great when you are doing it but it builds character and feels so good when you stop.

That was most years, but the last Saturday in November 1964 was unseasonably warm on Long Island Sound. Mom and my brother had decided that they had built enough character the year before. It was just Dad and I this year. When we left the slip it was one of those cool crisp days that one associates with early fall in New England more than November in New York. Over head the sky was a clear and bright blue as it ever gets within the reaches of the New York City Port Authority. It was one of those days where the visibility was so great that you could see things that you were sure must be over the horizon.

In moderate breezes, we set our course broad- reaching, more or less northeast out Long Island Sound. As the day wore on it became increasingly warm and slowly the pile of discarded jackets, then sweaters, and then flannel shirts piled up on the cockpit sole. We lie roasting in our cotton ''thermals'', and flannel lined jeans, basking in a sunlight too warm and too bright for any New Yorker to ever expect, especially at that time of year. Slowly we became lazed and dazed by the sheer comfort of it all.

And we seemed to have Long Island Sound to ourselves. The horizon seemed miraculously empty of moving boats. And there we silently sat, leaning back against cushions placed against the aft cockpit coaming, stretched out along the cockpit seats, legs hanging limply over the jib winch, Dad to port, Me to starboard, steering by the shadow of the shrouds falling on the aft end of the cabin. Not really awake, but certainly not asleep.

After a while we both sat up with a start, as one of the giant nuns that mark the shipping lanes of Long Island Sound drifted by almost unnoticed perhaps a boat length or so abeam. We both mumbled something about that being a close one and we need to keep a better watch, craning our necks to scan the horizon before lying back and declaring everything ''all clear''.

A few minutes later we heard some kind of voices, like a radio in the distance saying something garbled that we later decided was something like, "look out rocks". But it was garbled and sounded very distant. Off to port there were a couple powerboats anchored fishing and we figured they were shouting to each other.

That is until a moment later the boat leaped upward with a giant gnashing, grinding sound. Suddenly very awake, we sat up and realized that we''d hit Execution Rocks. Despite the name it takes a lot of sheer boneheadedness to actually hit Execution Rocks. The Rocks had a rather large and visible lighthouse. It had channel markers front back and on all sides. In fact the mark that we had passed marked the western end of Execution Rocks. And the whip cream on the cherry was the fact that the voice we had heard was the lighthouse tender hailing us with a megaphone. Nice move.

To make matters worse it was an exceptionally high tide and we were moving fast enough that we had actually jumped over a large stone ridge and were floating polite as could be in a little basin with stone walls seemingly on all sides. We dropped sails and began to probe the bottom for a way out. Using the whisker pole and a ridiculously long paddle that we carried solely because somewhere we had decided that we should, we found a narrow gap in the rocks. Slowly we poled and paddled the boat in a half circle until the bow pointed outward. Then we slowly poled and paddled our way through the labyrinth of stone until we were back in deep water and Dad decided it was safe to put the engine in gear. Checking the bilge we raised sail and headed back toward home.

When ''Windrift'' was hauled out the following week, Dad and I drove down to the yard to check out the damage. There on the leading edge of the fin keel was a dimple no bigger than a quarter. And with few mutual sighs of relief, and congratulations on our luck in not doing more damage, we walked for the warmth of the car and headed back to our home in Jersey.


Jeff_H 03-26-2002 07:19 PM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
One more, Manhasset Bay had (and probably still does) a plethora of yacht clubs of all kinds and persuasions. In the 1960''s there were three very traditional sailing clubs in Manhasset Bay; Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, Port Washington Yacht Club and Knickerbocker Yacht Club to which my family belonged. These three clubs maintained an engineless race committee boat named ''Worry Wart'' that remained on station and was used for round the buoy races for the weeknight beercans, the Friday Jr. ''Triclubs'' and the weekend one design races.

In those days, Long Island Sound Yacht Racing Association offered what they called the ''Moosehead'' Trophy for the race committee that did the silliest thing. One year that went to the Tri-Club race committee that towed the Worry Wart out just a little further and anchored her to square up the line and then immediately began the starting sequence. As it turned out, Worry Wart had been anchored just a short distance from a shoal and as the bigger boats went across the line and started up the beat they came to a sudden halt on the sandbar that gave Sands Point its name. Of course, a number of the smaller, and shallower boats, not expecting the deeper boats to stop so quickly, came to a sudden halt when their bows rammed into the transoms of the boats ahead. The way I heard it, the Committee actually managed to get off two starts before they realized that they were not starting a sailboat racem but a demolition derby, and in doing so had become the top seated candidate to win the "Moosehead" for that year.

Good night,

CANNIBALBAIT 06-01-2002 03:02 PM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
Jeff, I just loved the stories! So well written and felt like I was right there ,but glad I was not. More please, Carol

Jeff_H 06-02-2002 07:02 PM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
Thanks for the kind words.

Joe Bonerigo 11-21-2002 07:35 AM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
How many sailors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

It takes 3

1 to hold the bulb and 2 to drink enough to make the room spin.

pirateofcapeann 11-22-2002 04:54 AM

Stupid Sailor Tricks!
Stupid sailor tricks? Okay, here’s a quick one.

My last boat was a Columbia 22. The space between the shrouds and the mast was a rather awkward passage so it was easier to walk to and from the foredeck by going outside of the shrouds and using them to pull myself back into the boat. I’d gotten so use to this snap maneuver, that it became second nature to me.

Came the day a bunch of us got together for mast de-stepping detail. We’d use the mast of the next largest boat to lower the mast of the larger. It actually went quite well and when all was done, 5 boats were de-stepped ranging from 34 feet to my 22. Mine was done last with all hands getting together to muscle ‘er down.

All the other crews were waiting for me on the dock just in from my mooring as we were going out to celebrate the end of a successful and fun season. I picked up and made fast, then I clumped back down the deck, flung myself out and reached for the shrouds…

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