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Thread: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2 Weeks Ago 01:29 AM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

In the days before electronic navigation or 'reliable' weather forecasts, I encountered a tropical cyclone at sea off Fiji in the SoPac. We were only about 25 miles west of Fiji's western reef, so we had no choice but to keep some sail up and try to work to windward away from the reef, or at least not go backwards too fast.
As we entered the eye some ten hours into the storm, it was suddenly very calm and quiet and being near sunset, there was an eerie yellow light all around. We came on deck and began cleaning up the mess; broken stanchions, the main boom broken in two places, cockpit locker lids broken or missing, etc.
It was such a wonderful respite that I gave no thought to what I should do and unfortunately I allowed us to reenter the dangerous semicircle of the storm again. What followed can only be described as another four days needlessly spent in hell.
The proper move would have been to power across the eye and reenter the back side of the storm, leaving us only a few hours more trauma as the storm moved away from us.
But as proper as that would have been, how many of us could intentionally drive back into the maelstrom?
3 Weeks Ago 02:11 AM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

I had bought new bronze wheel from Edson, and chained it to the helm station padlocked it , then came the next day to go sailing , cast off the dock with engine in reverse, backed out of my slip when I realized the wheel was still chained, lol!
Luckily the key was in my pocket, so no harm done ......
10-05-2015 02:13 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Now another real stoopid one but thankfully with no damage to man or boat. We were hauling the boats yesterday and the marina operators had us rig lines around the hull at the lift points so they could simply pull the slings around with no messing about time. I had done this a couple of days ago and had then worked on a bunch of other stuff like winterization and so on. As they called my turn I ran over to my slip from helping others with their boat and hopped on to pull around out of the harbor and into the area outside where the crane was picking us up. The friend who pushed me off yelled as I was about a boat length off that I was trailing a line under the boat. The basin is docks on two sides and rocks on two sides and I am now drifting with the wind and momentum towards the rocks about 2 boat lengths away. I couldn't understand where the line was from so I threw her lightly in reverse to slow momentum thinking I had to avoid the rocks. A second later she stalled when the line wrapped the prop and I really was now stumped as to what to do. I found the line which was a tail off the sling line and could not pull it free as people are yelling and running to help keep me off the rocks. I shifted the control into neutral, started her, and gave the tiniest shot of forward I could then back into neutral. After some struggling the line came free and I was able to pivot after freeing the line my helper had heaved to shore where a few people had gone to fend us off the rocks.
All is well that ends well I suppose but I cannot imagine ever letting that happen again....though I did try to leave the slip with the shore power on once more!
09-04-2015 05:40 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Originally Posted by danstanford View Post
Started out of my berth with shore power still hooked up. Fortunately I heard it behind me and stopped before I ruined anything except my pride.

The yellow dock line.
09-02-2015 11:16 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Originally Posted by danstanford View Post
Started out of my berth with shore power still hooked up. Fortunately I heard it behind me and stopped before I ruined anything except my pride.
I'm pretty sure most stink-potters have done that at some stage.. and I notice many shore-power connections these days are designed to disconnect easily without damage for just such an occasion.
09-02-2015 03:12 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Started out of my berth with shore power still hooked up. Fortunately I heard it behind me and stopped before I ruined anything except my pride.

09-02-2015 08:34 AM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Let me tell you about these 2 boneheads I met a few days later...

I was anchored in the harbour at Thessalon. It's a designated anchorage on the chart. The city marina is in the harbour. You can tie up for free during the day to do your shopping. Grocery store and liquor store are close by. Then anchor out in the harbor for free.

The marina guy told me that I couldn't tie up anyway because a racing fleet was arriving and they booked the entire marina for the night.

I was quite content being anchored in a protected harbour. Had a few beers and used my binoculars to watch for the approaching fleet.

I finally saw a boat approaching the harbour under sail. The winds were strong and I was expecting some action.

But the approaching vessel didn't look like a racer. It was too small and they only had a mainsail up.

Maybe they were just having fun sailing around all the breakwalls? The more I kept looking, the less fun they seemed to be having. Once they got a bit closer, I could see one guy on the bow, one guy on the stern, both wearing bright red life jackets and waving their arms.

I pulled my anchor out of the mud and motored around the breakwalls and towed their sorry asses to a finger dock in the marina. I lashed off to the next dock over.

I went to see how these guys were doing and the captain slapped a 50 dollar bill in my hand. I wouldn't accept it. I told him that this is what sailors do. He insisted, and I accepted. Didn't want to offend him, and besides, now that I'm lashed off, I might as well go to the liquor store anyway.

But he did tell me his story, and this is what happened:

They were coming down current from Sault Ste. Marie following the race fleet. They wanted to get ahead of them and decided to travel at night. They rounded a green marker on the wrong side and properly grounded themselves.

They tried to rock the boat like a car stuck in the snow by putting the motor in forward then reverse until the gearbox blew apart.

They had 2 anchors that they tried to throw from the boat to pull themselves off. They were stuck there for 8 hours until the wind kicked up and blew them free of the sandbar. They cut both anchors loose.

The guy didn't want to go into much detail after that, but I can just imagine these guys at night without reliable navigation, no power, no radio, no lights, no anchors, no motor and snotty wind kicking froth up.

To add insult to injury, the marina guy reminded us that we couldn't stay there because the race fleet was approaching and I hooked off into the harbour.

These poor guys couldn't move and soon found themselves surrounded by huge 50' racing boats and lots and lots of sailors. A normally empty marina became full in an hour. All these guys could do was hang a tarp over their boom and hide until it all went away.

Not much I could do except file this one under the "Glad it wasn't me" category.

Lessons Learned:

1. Navigate at night only when necessary.

2. Carry 3 anchors if you think you might lose 2 of them.

3. If all else fails, don't forget to bring a tarp.
09-02-2015 06:58 AM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Originally Posted by indicasteve View Post
I relaxed a bit and was pleased with myself.
That's the first sign of danger!
09-02-2015 05:48 AM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Hi all!

New member here, and like many others, I decided to make my first post in this thread.

I just finished a 2 month solo trip on my Pearson 26 from Windsor Ontario, up Lake Huron, then westward across the North Channel to Lake Superior. Many opportunities for bonehead moves. Let me tell you about one....

I just finished the northbound crossing of Lake Huron on the Canadian side and decided to anchor in Tobermory's Big Tub harbour for the night before continuing into town the next day, as many people do.

I heard that there were shipwrecks in the area and consulted my charts very carefully. The LAST thing I wanted to do was drop a hook on a national heritage.

The charts said the wrecks were at the far end of the cove, so I dropped the hook midway and I was pleased.

The next day, my plan was to motor over to Little Tub harbour, anchor in the cove outside of the marina and row the dink down the 1/4 mile fairway into town. I figured this was my best option to avoid a boneheaded move. I really don't like docking single handed in strange marinas.

It's a busy harbour. Very busy. You got pleasure craft, dive boats, glass bottom tour boats, commercial and sports fishermen, kayakers coming and going and I even saw one idiot swim across the fairway pushing a small child on an innertube.

The place is like a circus and I didn't want to be the center ring attraction. Not a good place to practice single handed docking, but it's an irresistible stop for provisions. The grocery store and liquor store are a stones throw from the docks, great restaurants and the prices are fair.

So I motor over to my planed anchorage outside the fairway and when I get there I see some uncharted white buoys. They look like swimming buoys or "No Wake" markers that you often see. Maybe there's a rock there?

When I get up close to buoy, it says "No Boats". What exactly did that mean? I wasn't making a wake, there were no swimmers and I was well off the fairway. I figured it must have something to do with stupid powerboaters.

I put the engine in neutral and coasted in at 1/2 knot looking for rocks until I was 300 feet from shore then set the hook in about 10 feet of water.

I relaxed a bit and was pleased with myself. I took some video of the 364 foot Chi-Cheemaun ferry landing across the harbour. It opened it's bow like a whale and I watched all the cars and trucks drive in.

When the excitement was over, I made something to eat and boarded my skiff and casually rowed the 1/4 mile down the fairway into town just like Joe Cool.

I was just about to rope off at the far end of the harbour near the grocery store when a marina guy comes up and asks me if I'm from the sailboat Josephine.

I proudly said, "Yeah, I just rowed all the way down the harbour from her."

He says to me, "The Harbour Master requires you to move your vessel because you are anchored on top of a shipwreck maintained by Parks Canada." "We've been trying to hail you on the radio for the last hour."

I said, "Oh F@#%". I felt just horrible. I did exactly what I didn't want to do.

I apologised and spun the dink around, sunk the oars deep in the water and powered the oars like never before. I didn't want to make a scene because I knew everyone in the harbour within earshot of a VHF was monitoring the situation.

That's when the oarlock broke free from the gunwale on the power stroke and I went ass over teakettle, banged my head off the transom and nearly did a backwards summersault right off the stern.

The gaggle of girls in their kayaks nearby were laughing their butts off at my predicament. One was taking a video. I felt like I was dying inside.

The gentlemen on deck of the Coast Guard ship moored to the wharf didn't look as impressed with my performance. The dive boat owners and glass bottom boat captains and all the other locals who knew the area expressed similar disgruntled looks. It was like someone pulled the plug on the drain and I was going down.

I tried to jury rig an oarlock by lashing the oar to the broken nub on the gunwale without success. I tried to paddle the dink like a canoe, but I just spun in circles like a one legged duck. I actually felt my soul departing from my body.

I was NOT going to ask those girls to tow me to my boat with their kayaks.

With dire determination, I managed to wobble back to ship paddling with an exaggerated J-Stroke technique.

It took forever to get back and every eye in the marina was focused on this idiot the whole time.

I hoisted anchor and thanked God there were no sunken ship parts hanging from it when it surfaced.

I figured that it might be best to reprovision elsewhere and got the hell out of there before any more damage was done.

Lessons Learned:

1. Those white buoys that say, "No Boats" might mean you too.

2. Undersized fine threaded screws should not be used to secure an oarlock to a gunwale.

3. No fail is complete until some young girl uploads a video of it to her Facebook page.
08-31-2015 10:03 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Originally Posted by sterilecuckoo58 View Post
I am sorry, you are not the only one who can flip a boat in a dead calm. I can do it too, and without the advantage of the open seas or river. At the Community Boating pavilion in Boston milady was going through the drill lessons the first time, there was no wind and I was preparing to rig one of those aforementioned Mercurys at the dock and demonstrate that I could (recertification process). They are sandwiched in like sardines tied so they don't rub, but that's about it. Rudders, sails and centerboards are stored in the shed so I had these items with me. I stepped on the boat, over she went, and I had a refreshing swim with centerboard, rudder and sail went in too; just love that muddy water.
Don't feel too bad, I did the same thing at the same place. It is the only time I have capsized something other than a pram or sailboard. I managed to drop the gear into the boat on my way over, but had to face the crowd at the dock having been dragged from the water by a teenaged girl half my size.
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