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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-18-2013 04:46 PM
Re: The Salt's Corner Table

I happened to look at this thread for the first time in a long time and I noticed WaltTheSalt's post #122. I would like to make a correction for the newbies out there. Walt says "How do I know I’m on a collision course? When the other boat’s bearing is constant. This is simple to figure out. Just line up the other boat with something on the shore. If the boat is moving ahead of the shore object it’ll pass ahead of you. If the other boat is moving back on the shore object it will pass astern."
This is not quite right.
Lining it up with an object on shore does not take into account all of the movement of both boats. Also, sometimes the shore is not visible. What you should do instead is line it up with a location on your own boat. If you see the other boat over the same spot on your boat over time, then your relative angle is not changing, and you are on a collision course. This also works for stationary objects like navaids, and the nice part is that it fully takes into account the movement of both boats, including leeway.
06-10-2013 12:39 AM
Re: The Salt's Corner Table

Okay - so, obviously I've been a little too busy lately to keep this thread updated...and I don't see that changing for a while...


Who wants to take over the reigns?

Obviously, with 20K views, it's a pretty relevant thread for newbs looking for a quick path to the best answers to oft-asked sailing questions on the interwebs.

It's really pretty just find the best response to said query, steal the hell out of it, and post it here. It's not rocket science. But it's pretty damn cool.

Surely one of you chumps is game enough to take the baton. Pay it forward, baby. Well?
09-07-2012 08:35 PM
Re: The Salt's Corner Table

[QUOTE=smackdaddy;781894]This about sums it up...[/QUOTE
I recently took a cousin of mine for his first sailboat ride. We did the MacMan Challenge, a race from Makinac Island Michigan to Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario. He raced motorcycles, snowmobiles and so on. He looked me right in the eyes after some sea sickness and 90 nautical miles of racing and said " I would have never believed I could have such a rush doing 9 miles per hour!" He was sincere. I forwarded the last post to him because it had so much meaning. Same story, and, the story ends with my boats name. BLISS!
09-07-2012 07:49 PM
Re: The Salt's Corner Table

Ever wonder about the pros and cons of mono vs. multi? Here's someone who knows:

Originally Posted by MMR View Post
I might as well weigh in also!

When we were thinking through this decision, we tried to focus on features that we felt would make transition to and maintenance of a live-aboard status workable for the two of us.

Carrying weight was the issue for livability, as well as really limited stand up interior living space in the Gem. Great for younger folks - less wonderful for us. We will miss the "one level" living of the Gem, but feel like access to the larger useable "living space" of our Irwin is a good trade off.

Underway comfort was a huge factor. We had the Gem out in several small craft advisories and frankly, while the boat did great, we got the crap pounded out of us. That's a function of the low bridge deck (every wave is a SLAM on the bottom) and the beam (14ft). Most likely this was a particular Chesapeake Bay issue, with the smaller period chop and power boat wakes. (When I did the delivery of s/v Felix with Dan we did open ocean from Cape May to Block Island and the Gem was a comfortable ride in pretty big swells.) A larger cat would not have those issues, and would have better cockpit seating for underway. In fact, we're seeing lots of larger (38, 40, 46, 50 ft) cats on the Bay in the last year or so.

I was surprised and delighted at the feel of the water/wind when I took the helm of the Irwin. I had forgotten what fun it was to feel the wind in the sails and the responsiveness of the rudder/boat. Its the difference between a Cadillac ride and a sports car hugging the road. One's a smooth ride: the other's fun to drive!

Our ideal boat is a Voyage 44 or something similar. A cat that size would eliminate the underway and living space issues above, but add significant cost to the equation. Not going to happen with our budget.

So. We compromised. I'm deeply sad to see the Gem go, but focusing fiercely on making the Irwin a home, because getting out there is the whole point.
Jump into the thread by clicking the little arrow by MMR's name above.
10-02-2011 06:10 PM
smackdaddy This about sums it up...

Originally Posted by NewportNewbie View Post
Just finished a singlehanded sail around the harbor. I got back in my car when I was done and thought wow…what a rush! I have head that same feeling before, but it was in a very different environment. Doing 135 mph on a Ninja ZX-6R. Check. Doing 165 in a Porsche Carrera 4. Check. Doing 5 mph in a boat. WHAT? How is it that I can get that same feeling or even a better one from such a low speed experience? I have put a lot of thought to it and I still can’t figure it out. Its the same reason that the Vikings wanted to be buried at sea. The same reason people live on boats and sail the world. There is something thats magical when you are out in the water and there is no motor and the boat is moving along in the wind. Is it adrenalin or is it zen? Yes maybe zen is more accurate. That state of mind where you are at one with your environment and at peace with the world. Where you and your boat are both working in unison to move through the wind. Where your mind is in the moment and you don’t have a care in the world. Sailing is one of the few activities I have done where 100% of my conscious mind is focused on the activity. All my senses are taking in the environment as I analyze the wind, water and the surroundings looking for any clues that may help me squeeze another half of knot of speed out of the current conditions. My mind has let go completely the stresses of the regular world. The utility bills don’t exist. I don’t care when the new iPhone is coming out. I don’t care that I will be at work tomorrow morning at 8 am. The only thing I am focused on is the windex showing me the direction the wind is coming from and how my sails are trimmed. This is bliss.
09-19-2011 03:06 PM
smackdaddy Harbor, Doug's answered many of your questions in the original thread (and dealt with a lot of crap as well). Click the little white/blue arrow by his name in my post above and it will take you to that thread.
09-19-2011 03:01 PM
Harborless Geez... What a story. Its your wife, what are you going to do? Maybe let HER be rescued and you stay with the boat? Doesn't matter I suppose since either way your 50' has to come into contact with the 900'. Sounds to me like your standing rigging was in need of a through examination. Yet even still it sounds as though you had everything, more or less, under control.
So many unknowns so it is impossible to be detailed but I wonder the amount of waster in your bilge? Also, did your Bilge pumps/utility pumps still work? Could they not handle the amount coming in?
Was the water coming through the holes in the decks from the chain plates?
No use crying over spilled milk, but it sounds like you spilled a pretty big glass.
You know why the Captain is the Captain right? He is in control. Of course, I understand your quandary. To overrule your wife on the high seas would not have meant for pleasant landings. Still, when were talking 50' boat worth big dollars I am of your opinion. If we arent in the raft, we arent calling for rescue.
It sounds to me that you guys were still pretty safe. I do not know the weather forecast but so long as the barometer was not dropping and your jury rig was holding up keeping your initial course was probably wisest. I recently read a Harvard study that concluded your first instincts are more than often the right one. Once you start second guessing you run into problems.
Sounds to me you will never have this problem again. You already proved capable of holding it together in less than good circumstances. Next time your experience will keep you on the right path.
Glad to hear you and yours made it safely home. Sounds like a truly epic (in the bad sense) day.
09-19-2011 11:39 AM
smackdaddy When we read or hear about a sinking/abandonment/rescue, rarely do we get the skipper actually come on this forum to give a first account of what happened, mistakes made, and lessons learned. You can see why in the "S/V Triumph lost in the atlantic" thread as it devolves into the typical ridiculousness.

Regardless, this is extremely valuable stuff. And it should be preserved. Thanks for filling us in Doug. And hang in there dude.

Originally Posted by DougSabbag View Post
Well, as the insurance check is "in the mail" I think I can let everyone know what happened, in greater detail, without concern for possible complications.

We left Boston on July 15th, and about a week out, the oil cooler malfunctioned allowing ocean water to mix with the engine oil. I changed the oil to remove as much of the water as possible, and did shut the thru hull for the ocean water to the engine.

The plan at that point was to continue to sail to our intended first target of the Azores, and attempt to replace the cooler there.

On July 26th, 2 Main (ketch rigged Gulfstar 50), starboard stays broke at the chainplate connections, just under the deck, then pulled through the deck leaving some holes on the deck.

Before I devised my own plan for dealing with this, I contacted both our insurance company and the coast guard to find out what our options might be, for towing, or assistance. I quickly learned it would cost $250K to be towed home.

So, I realized I could temporarily attach the stays using some line and make a connection from the end of the stays to the starboard jib sheet travelors; not deploy the main sail, and shorten the jib by furling it somewhat. If I turned back to Boston, with such greatly reduced sails, the SW wind would only stress the port stays, and we could slowly sail home.

The next morning, July 27th, we discovered a lot of water in the bilge.

Well, my First Mate / Mrs. Sabbag, basically threw in the towel at that development. And I couldn't (though I should have in retrospect) overcome her insistence on abandoning the vessel.

Considering what happened next, I really should NOT have CALLED THE COAST GUARD for assistance.

Per the mutual assistance program AMVER, a 900 foot oil tanker arrived, in only a few hours(!) and as I was afraid of, the **** really hit the fan.

You do not bring a 50 foot sailboat alongside a 900 foot oil tanker in 10 to 15 foot seas, unless you do not care about what will happen.

The tanker, (after trying to grab our deployed sea anchor with a grappling hook, but missed it because they were too far forward of the 500 foot line), decided ON THEIR OWN to intersect the sea anchor rode / line, which brought the Triumph alongside the starboard side of the tanker and the sea anchor alongside their port side. With the tanker still underway, the sea anchor was moving aft thereby pulling the Triumph forward.

Well, what happened next was unbelievable. The Triumph was pulled into their anchor / anchor housing, which effectively crushed the Triumph, smashing her from the bow toward the stern, as the 10 - 15 foot waves smashed us up into the metal. We had been standing on deck, and had to run to the stern to avoid the falling main mast, and all the flying debris and the smashing anchor! It was a scene from a horror movie.

From there it only got worse.

I wrapped a line from the tanker around my wife and pushed her overboard. They pulled her up to their deck in fairly short order.

But, when I (erroneously) went over board with one of the lines in my hands, it ended up requiring over 3 hours for me to get on deck.

I learned to vomit underwater in order to get rid of the water I was takin into my stomach, in order to regain bouyancy, and I "went down" numerous times only to (I learned later), amaze the tanker crew by coming back up.

By the time I barely managed to make it to a life bouy, I was losing strength from hypothermia, the repeated sinking / vomiting, and all the screaming I had been doing.

It is quite a sick feeling to be almost 1000 miles out to sea and realize nobody is going to jump in to get you / there is no helicopter with a basket and a USCG trained savior, and the only vessel around is as frightening up close as she could run me over like any piece of flotsam.

I was quite sure I was dead, but amazingly I am not.

If you are ever in a pickle, FIX IT YOURSELF, DO NOT ASK FOR ASSISTANCE, and tell your "crew" to suck it up.

ONLY, when you are in your life pod, after your boat has sunk, should you call for assistance unless you are prepared for what happens when a 50 footer meets a 900 footer.

Now, we are shopping for a newer boat, and have our sights on an AMEL.

If anyone knows of a late model (1990s) 53 foot Amel for sale, please email me at
03-29-2011 09:43 PM
Waltthesalt Avoiding collisions
I recently read an article that overcomplicated this subject. The basics are simple:

How do I know I’m on a collision course? When the other boat’s bearing is constant. This is simple to figure out. Just line up the other boat with something on the shore. If the boat is moving ahead of the shore object it’ll pass ahead of you. If the other boat is moving back on the shore object it will pass astern.

How do I maneuver? You can’t go wrong by heading for the other boat’s stern. If it’s ahead or nearly ahead always turn right.

Always make your turn large so it’s obvious to the other boat what you’re doing.
03-29-2011 09:09 PM
Waltthesalt Nav Light memory aids:
Red over Green … sailing machine
Red over Red… the captain is dead (not under command)
Reed over white… fishing at night
Red Red Red…. rubbing rocks ahead (aground)
Green over White… trawler at night
Yellow over white… the towline is tight (long tow)
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