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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Worst navagation error
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Thread: Worst navagation error Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-09-2008 10:34 AM
jimmalkin You're right, of course, but I suspect that we all tend to get a bit more "dreamy" well off-shore on a beautiful night with a full moon and a beam reach... Having said that, however, I also have to keep slapping myself from not taking "home waters' for granted. Once told a crew to keep the Statue of Liberty off to starboard as we headed south out of NY Harbor. Went below and five minutes later felt us going aground on a charted sandbar directly S of the Statue. The crew had kept the Statue to the starboard, but as it is on an island, had started a circle around it... eight embarrassing hours with tour boats, water police, coast guard, park police etc until the tide floated us off...My fault for lack of clear and complete instructions.
07-08-2008 07:00 PM
sailingdog Jim-

You were lucky you were in open water... doing that near shore is a good way to find charted rocks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmalkin View Post
This isn't thousands of miles, but years ago while at the helm and on watch from St. Thomas to Bermuda I was so entranced by the bright shiny path of the full moon leading me directly on course to Bermuda that I steered down the path for my entire watch. Just before watch change - the "duh" moment. The moon had been moving to the west and I had been steering a lovely banana shaped course away from Bermuda. But it was such a lovely night that I almost forgave myself.
07-08-2008 06:27 PM
jimmalkin This isn't thousands of miles, but years ago while at the helm and on watch from St. Thomas to Bermuda I was so entranced by the bright shiny path of the full moon leading me directly on course to Bermuda that I steered down the path for my entire watch. Just before watch change - the "duh" moment. The moon had been moving to the west and I had been steering a lovely banana shaped course away from Bermuda. But it was such a lovely night that I almost forgave myself.
07-08-2008 04:25 PM
sailortjk1
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
The lights were the headlights of a car from the opposite direction. The flashing was caused by the train passing between the two vehicles.
OFF TOPIC

Same thing happened to me on the Blue Star Highway (You probably know it well) but it was not a train, it was two deers crossing right in front of me and the oncoming car. Hit the breaks as hard as I could, went from 80MPH down to about 50 in no time, just missed the second deer by about 6 feet.
07-08-2008 03:51 PM
Gary1
a case of the stupids.

Many long years ago, a couple of years after I bought my 29 foot boat, I got a great deal on a brand new Danforth compass. Took it to the boat, installed it behind the tiller, where it was easily visible, and checked it (in the slip) against my existing, old, faded, hard to see, etc. compass that was mounted next to the companionway. They matched up, so I ASSumed that all was well.

The following Friday, the wife, dogs and I head out for a 'routine' crossing to Two Harbors, hoping to beat the crowd.

By 2000 (that's 8PM for you lubbers) we had not spotted the Island which was strange. I checked my brandy-new compass and it said we were right on course. Finally, are 2300 we heard a bell. I headed for the sound, since I knew something was way wrong. The bell was atop a sea buoy. I got the number off of it, and headed down to the little nav table to figure out where we REALLY were.

We were about 20 miles north of where we wanted to be.

We turned around, and the wife says, 'I think your new compass is broken.'
I wasn't so sure about that, but I knew the old compass worked, so we set a new course using the old unit. Lo, the two compasses did not even come close to agreeing!

Got into Catalina just before daybreak. The wife, mad, went to bed, leaving me to puzzle the problem.

I dug around, crawled into the lazarette via the hatch in the cockpit, and not more than three inches from my brand new compass was a couple of 1 1/2 inch galvanized chunks of pipe that were part of the exhaust system.

Duh. I never thought about that. My bad.

Anyway. we got back to our slip in Long Beach using the old, trusted, (if barely visible) compass. The following Saturday, I took the boat out and 'swung' the compass, using the convenient harbor wall which the Port of Long Beach built exactly true north-south. The deviation card for that compass read like a multiplication table until I finally decided to pull the pipe out and replace it with hose.

So, that was my dumbest stunt in navigation.
07-08-2008 09:14 AM
whroeder
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Whats the strangest thing you thought you saw and what did it turn out to actually be.
Years ago, we were stopped in the middle of the Indian River (Florida lagoon) when I spotted a small plane flying south, low and slow.

I commented to my wife: if that Japanese Zero starts to strafe us we'll have to jump overboard.

As it went overhead, we saw the red balls on the wings. It was going to an air show in south Florida.
07-07-2008 09:26 PM
bubb2 My biggest navigation error. In pea soup thick fog on long island sound. Visibility was not any better 10 to 15 feet over the bow. I was double checking everything as I was heading for an Mid-Sound buoy. Well I found it and scraped the side of it. The error was in low visibility, plot to one side or the other of fixed objects,
07-07-2008 09:11 PM
sailaway21 tjk is hardly alone. I read this and thought about false EPIRB signals and such-then I thought of this thread.
BBC NEWS | Wales | Police say UFO was just the Moon

As Cam's post points out, if you've water under the keel and are confused as to location, actually following the Rules of the Road makes sense! Take all way off the vessel and await developments. Sounds too simple does it not? The alternative reminds me of my high school bud who was driving one night and saw flashing lights up ahead. His words, "so I speeded up to see what it was". The lights were the headlights of a car from the opposite direction. The flashing was caused by the train passing between the two vehicles. He stopped in time-barely.
07-07-2008 08:48 PM
ger3926
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I like to win things so can anyone top a navigation error of 100 million miles?
The mist was just right and the angle was just right and their was no known shore lights in that direction.
I was convinced I was looking at planet.
It was a mast head light for a sailboat at anchorage. Probably one of those new led bright ones.

So beat that if you can.

Only Cap. KIRK can shoot by Sextant a Star at night - he got a private horizont.
- when you see 3 white lights - and they are no stars - be sure, its a train.
07-01-2008 04:29 PM
MedSailor
Lucky...

Even though nothing happened, it still gives me the creeps....

I was going though Dent Rapids in BC an area of AMAZING current. We had been through there before and had a great deal of respect for the rapids and went through right at slack. We normally went around to the left of the little island that is right through the rapids but we wanted to get going (to make our next current appointment) and didn't want to swamp all the sailing traffic with the rather large wake that this 76ft megayacht makes, so we went around to the right of the island. We fished these waters often and thought we knew the area.

So we've just passed though 17kts in this 1.5million dollar yacht when in seemingly open water our graphing depth-sounder shows what looks like mt everest beneath us. 4ft of water was what it read when we passed over it at 17kts. We draft 4ft+ and the sounder is mounted about a foot or so down. The lowest part of the draft is of course the 2 giant props powered by 800turbo cats. We passed over it like nothing happened, though I about crapped myself.

The lessons? Well there are may, but I'd say the most applicable one here was to not get too focused on the danger that lies ahead and forget to look at what's beyond it. We spent so much time planning our approach and transit through the rapids that we forgot to look at what was on the chart for the next mile or so.

Stupid and lucky....

MedSailor
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