|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|12-22-2012 03:18 PM|
These experiences and facts are very helpful for my husband and I, who are taking to the seas at the ripe age of mid 60's. We have very little hands on experience, but intend to teach ourselves, and get a teacher. We are buying a 36' S2-11C, 1983, so we expect to have some issues as we begin to travel. We'll also be living aboard, so we'll learn a lot about our boat over the days. Thanks for the information.
|06-04-2012 05:41 PM|
interesting article; really illustrates that being close to land is more dangerous.Bad conditions at sea are no problem for a wellfound boat, which is almost always stronger than the crew
|05-24-2012 12:27 PM|
Enjoyed the article. Seems I've enjoyed many of the same over the past 40 years on both power and sailboats. Hopefully I've learned from them.
|09-04-2010 03:57 PM|
Great article. The bouy incident reminds me of one night about 20 years ago, before we were certified seniors and GPS was some Geeks dream, we were sailing a friend's Cal 40 from Galveston to Puerto Isabella. We left after dark as well, it was overcast, no moon or stars and pitch black - one of those nights when you can't see your hand if you hold it up to your face.
As we were sailing through the safety fairlane (that's where all the mega oil tankers park for the night, waiting for first light and the pilot boat to come get them), heeled over about 15 degrees and hauling. I looked forward under the sails and hollared to Dave, "fall off, fall off!!!!" We were just before broadsiding a black hulled tanker - fortunately, we did not plow into it, but it was a crazy experience and we all vowed to forever leave with enough light to be well offshore before "twilights last gleaming".
|06-16-2010 06:28 PM|
Nice article with many thing's to think about.
|03-11-2008 06:16 PM|
While I'm not a geezer (only 64), some of my favorite fellow single-handing boaters are. Here are some things they've learned and taught me:
1. Winches are unnecessary if you're willing to settle for 'gentleman's luffs'. That means those geezer muscles won't have to spend five hours a week at the gym just to keep you in shape for those winches. You can go there instead for the wenches (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
2. If you're unwilling to settle for gentleman's luffing, consider electric or hydraulic help with your winches. There are a number of options here. Sailnet and most other major sailing supply houses will be happy to discuss them with you.
3. Lazy jacks and in-boom furling will help keep you off the cabin top, and your hip from needing surgery. Ditto roller furling headsails.
4. Think about your crew: could your geezer body lift that twenty-something grandson of yours out of the water, even with a lifesling and a block and tackle? See item 2, above, for consideration about some extra emergency horsepower.
5. Keep at least two days of your meds on board the boat, in case you find yourself unexpectedly away from your slip. You're on a sailboat, after all. Weather and mechanical things happen.
6. Windlass. For the obvious reasons. Alternatively, see item 2 above, again.
7. Look at your dinghy and your method of getting on and off while on the hook. Are they safe for a geezer? If not, what changes are needed? Make them.
8. If you don't do a lot of racing, consider setting your boat up w/ a self-tacking head sail. Life is so much easier for the cruiser!
9. Autopilot. Even if you're not a geezer.
10. Think cockpit: what can you do to keep you from having to make unnecessary trips up and down the companionway steps? Every trip not made is one more opportunity to avoid a broken hip. Some possibilities include handheld VHFs, ditto GPS, ditto cooler for your Ensure and sandwiches, stainless thermos w/ coffee, etc. All in the cockpit, placed strategically to keep you from tripping over them.
Now, there may be some boaters out there who are not geezers who might think Hey, there's an item or two here that might save me some work. Go ahead, but when you're describing your boat changes to friends, you might want to use the word 'simplify' instead of 'geezerize'. It's an image thing.
|02-29-2008 12:45 PM|
On Golden Pond:
“I was sitting on my boat yesterday drinking a cup of tea. I got to figuring the cost of owning a boat and then I went on to try and justify the cost. As an arbitrary figure, I assumed that a day underway is worth $100. It would cost at least that much to rent a boat for a few hours. Then I assumed that having a place to drop in, make a cup of tea, have lunch, maybe drink a beer and putter around was worth $25 per visit. I estimated that in the past two years I have justified over $11,000 worth of sailing and puttering. That's a lot less expensive than visiting a psychiatrist or a doctor every time something feels amiss.” Jack McPherson, Washington state
“Old dogs can learn new tricks, including building muscle, respiratory and cardiac capacity. Anyone who does not exercise regularly is making a deliberate decision not to feel as well as they might and to accept a lesser quality of life. They will be forced off the water long before their time.” Barrie Smith, Florida
|“I read articles about older people and their depression, health problems, and loneliness . . . All they need is a boat.” Jack McPherson, Washington state|
“Boating is, and has always been, the single greatest joy of my life. Making it safer—being out on safety patrol as an Auxiliarist at least once a week—is now my main occupation.” Thomas Shaw, North Carolina
“I am completely convinced that boating helps keep me young!” Carmine Ippolito, New York
“[My husband] died that winter at the age of 76 . . . I decided to keep the boat and attempt single-handed sailing. I ventured out alone, first onto the Portage River and then the lake. I was scared. Was I good at sailing? No, I did a few 360° tacks and couldn't always get the main up all the way. But I learn more every time I go out and it's good to be back on the water.” Joanne Leussing, Ohio
On Boat Handling at the Dock
“Your wallet can be a good teacher. I came into the dock way too quickly and destroyed my bow pulpit and anchor against a steel piling. Now I approach at a barely perceptible speed.” Mark Rosen, Florida
“I backed out of the slip and started my turn down the line of docked boats to the channel but was immediately swept into the port pilings and three sport fishing boats. The culprit was a six-knot cross current rushing toward Lake Worth Inlet. Subsequently, the claims appraiser at BoatU.S. told me I was the 12th boater that year to have the same thing happen to them. My mistake was not asking about such conditions; however, I fault the dockmaster for not warning all transient boaters of such conditions.” Stu Dance, Maryland
“We were told on the radio that there was only a ‘little current.’ The current turned out to be so strong and the docking instructions so bad that once we were in position for the slip, maneuverability was impossible and we hit another boat. After that, we only select marinas that are in basins with no current.” Bob and Glenna Davis, North Carolina
Boat Handling in Rough Weather
“Unknown to me, the harbor had shoaled badly in the winter storms and, with the following sea, we got in trouble. By the time I realized it and took the helm from my crewmember, it was too late. We broached and rolled over. There was no loss of life or serious injuries but the boat was a total loss. What did I learn from it? You’re never so experienced that you can make assumptions about anything on the water. I should have been at the wheel. I’ll let my crew run the boat now only when conditions are good. At night or in poor weather, I’m at the wheel.” Miles Stray, Connecticut
“ I was caught out in a norther for two nights while single handing from Key West to Burnt Store Marina. I lost the anchor and dinghy and became very cold, tired and hungry, which is my definition of an adventure.” Dr. John Raffensperger, Illinois
“Being an excitable type, I was articulating everything, including how dumb I was to start us out from Solomons at 1600 hours without really knowing how far we'd have to go to get in somewhere. The more I wrung my hands and moaned at our predicament, the more my friend Dave Ballantyne revealed the temperament that led him to flying choppers in the Marines. As time passed, he replied less and less to my spoutings and would say calmly as we worked our way into the Little Choptank, ‘I think I see our next green flasher.’ We finally dropped anchor in about 10 feet of water and rode out the storm through the night. Dave was amazed as daylight returned that we were nowhere near the shore in any direction. Not knowing the Chesapeake, he assumed that 10 feet of water naturally meant you were right up next to something. What I learned from that pre-GPS caper is (1) to imagine the entire trip in advance, to the extent possible, (2) to be sure you allow daylight if you're in unfamiliar waters, and (3) above all, stay calm and FOCUS if you can!” Dave Bowes, Maryland
On Alcohol and Boating
“I lost a winch handle over the side after drinking a beer 25 years ago. Since then, I only drink under conditions of severe hypothermia.” John Raffensperger, MD, Lake Michigan
“When I was younger, it took at least a six-pack of beer to make the boat move. Now I have at least as much fun with Gatorade.” Henry Gattone, Georgia
“Drinking anything stronger than juice or water underway is stupid.” David Kessler, Washington state
“One mistake was not sticking to my judgment when there was a bad weather forecast. I bowed to peer pressure and left a secure harbor for a 45-mile trip.” Bradley Whitney, Massachusetts
“My biggest mistake was not checking the weather before taking a 160-mile offshore trip.” James Taylor, Texas
“I learned that the Chesapeake is not a quiet lake. We were caught below the Rappahannock River headed south with a strong north wind. The waves were steep and we broached twice, breaking three windows. The mirror on the saloon wall and all the furniture was thrown into the galley. A passenger said, ‘If I ever see another tree, I’ll never go boating again.’ When we finally reached Hampton Roads, I was only able to turn right by ducking into the lee of a large freighter, which kept the waves off my starboard side.Now I’m more careful to monitor the weather channel as well as the forecast on the marine radio. We also don’t go south of Solomons Island.” Jack Stickley, Maryland
“Over the years, you are simply more aware of how quickly things can change from pleasant to damn unpleasant. So you avoid those situations whenever possible.” Barrie Smith, Florida
“Within minutes, the sun came out and the sea calmed. A number of elementary conclusions can be drawn. We will not soon play ‘dodge ‘em’ with a Chesapeake thunderstorm. We will not belay the mainsheet under any circumstances and we will always, as we did, explain basic safety provisions to any passengers, particularly inexperienced ones.” Rear Admiral NOAA (Ret.) Harley D. Nygren, Virginia
“When there’s only the weekend to sail, one tends to go out even if the weather is not good. We now pick our weather and have stayed at anchorages for a few days waiting for fog to lift or storms to pass.” Arthur Krieger, New York
“I would rather be in the marina wishing we were on the water than on the water wishing we were in the marina.” Bob and Glenna Davis, North Carolina
On Running Inlets
“Many years ago, I was on my dock and heard that the football tuna were running about 10 miles offshore. I jumped in my 24’ SeaRay and headed out. But instead of being cautious, I foolishly took a shortcut and went out of Moriches Inlet. There wasn’t enough water and a wave hit and swung the boat sideways. Another wave blew out all of the windows. What did I learn from this? Have respect for the water and don’t take chances just for a fish.” Carmine Ippolito, New York
“On the way in, I broadcast inlet conditions on Ch. 68 (the fishing chit-chat channel) so the others can consider the situation.” Alan Reff, New York
On Using Charts
“We were approaching the Richelieu River Bridge and hadn’t sighted any day markers or buoys. We started to pass under one of the two 50’ spans when a boater behind us sounded warning blasts on his horn. He then went through a 25’ span on the west bank. We were suddenly in four feet of water with a strong (seven- to eight-knot) current. We carefully spotted the two (badly faded) day markers. The bridge is marked on the chart and we had not checked the chart carefully before approaching the bridge. It is now highlighted on our chart!” Ron and Doris Alderman, Vermont
“A storm three years earlier had closed the channel we’d selected on the chart. The markers still remained, but [the channel] didn’t exist. We learned that using local knowledge is critical. It’s important to call ahead to dockmasters or TowBoatU.S.” Joseph Hlavin, Jr., Florida
“We thought we should have been there by now and checking the depth readings with the chart, we found we were south of Block Island and heading for Portugal. The Loran was installed shortly thereafter.” Arthur Krieger, New York
“They were ahead of us and we simply followed behind. Suddenly I saw a rock shaped like a fence post sticking about a foot out of the water. It was only six feet away. Lesson: You’ve got to read the chart, regardless of circumstances.” Joanne Leussing, Ohio
“I have become almost obsessive about preventative maintenance. Each spring I go through all the systems checking operation, looking for corrosion, bad wiring, cracked impellers, blockages or reduced water flows, etc. My goal is to get through the boating season without breakdowns or failures. Occasional oversights have kept me humble.” John Rutter, Washington state
On Boating at Night
“I don’t like to boat at night. Years ago it seemed like a great adventure. One night we thought we were seeing the city lights of Catalina and it ended up being a tug towing two barges with long lines between them and lots of lights. As we approached the barge in the darkness, I realized by the time/distance that it could not be the island, and changed my course just in time to pass around the barge tow line.” Ed Snyder, California
“I’ve learned that when you’re tired, you make mistakes.” Kelly Beyer, Tennessee
On Modern Electronics
“We left Perry Sound in Georgian Bay, headed for Kilarney. Several hours out, the GPS went out—later turned out to be an opening in the antenna cable. About 100 miles later, we were several miles off course, ending up on Triangle shoals NE of Kilarney. The boat took a good pounding and the rudder was damaged but no leaks and we continued sailing all summer. Lessons learned: If you are going to depend on GPS, have a backup. Lesson 2: Don't lose traditional navigating skills.” Jack Behrend, Illinois
I’d just as soon forget this but it won’t go away: I was sitting happily on the flybridge of our sportfisher with no one else aboard. I was headed to a yacht club and noticed I was flying the wrong burgee. Protocol overrode clear thinking and I went forward. The wind had been picking up and the boat topped a wave and swung 90° into a bank. What did I learn? Accident-free records are meant to be broken and autopilots can help.” Wilbur Tapscott, San Francisco Bay
“Don’t touch the automatic pilot after dark.” Kelly Beyer, Tennessee
Miscellaneous Thoughts and Observations
“After several mishaps, I got the message and started doing a lot of READING about all facets of boating.” George Fisher, Texas
“I learn something every trip. I think [checklists] are more important than people realize. They often permit the operator to see something that is not quite the way it was the last time.” Charles Ford, Maryland
“I’ve learned to ‘think like a river’—stay on the outside at the bends for best depths.” Kelly Beyer, Tennessee
“I no longer forget to put the plug in the bilge drain.” Dean Kessler, Sr., Puget Sound
“I told the crew the symptoms of dragging anchor and then ignored them myself when they occurred. We went up on a lee shore… I spent most of the night working on it.” Dan Allen, Maine
“Over the past five years I’ve been racing my Tartan single-handed. I’m not trying to make a statement; it’s a great teacher and great fun. Single-handing places a premium on making sure everything works the way it is supposed to and is properly maintained. You learn to think ahead. The downside is there is no one to yell at or blame.” Barrie Smith, Florida
“I have had to teach my husband the controls . . . there should always be another person able to bring the boat in.” Ursula Yanno, Florida