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Thread: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-10-2015 10:42 PM
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

My biggest boneheaded sailing experience. I was young. Doing deliveries up and down the east coast, to the Caribbean, worked for a sailmaker with generous leave times etc. I get a call from a racing and drinking buddy. His younger brother and his trophy wife with some friends want to charter a boat to cruise Buzzards Bay, Elizabeth Islands, Martha's and Nantucket. The charter company wasn't comfortable with their experience level and he asked to send them my resume if I could do it. I agreed. It was all great. Nice people. One single lady guest took a shine to me which kept me from sleeping on the cabin sole.

My mistake was they insisted on being in Cuttyhunk Harbor for a night. We arrived late after dark and it was blowing 18- 24 out of the Southwest. I had been there before and thought we will just grab a mooring and pay in the morning. No moorings. They beg to stay. I want to go anchor back outside the harbor entrance. I give in and drop anchor in the far northeastern corner. With 5 to 1 scope our stern was 50 or 60 feet from hitting the breakwater. I stayed awake the whole night with my hand on the ignition key thinking we would drag on the breakwater.

In hindsight I should have ignored their pleas and anchored safely outside the harbor entrance. Those that know Cuttyhunk know what I mean. I literally get goosebumps every time I think of that bad decision. Total bonehead.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
12-10-2015 08:20 PM
Pinnacle 2
Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Originally Posted by macswift View Post
I can't believe that anyone has done anything more stupid than this:~
The Skipper of the Sailboat 'Alacazam' Does Something Really Stupid
OMG thanks for the laugh, had tears running down my face.
11-12-2015 12:29 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?
11-02-2015 01:11 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 01:13 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 04:40 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 10:16 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 02:12 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 07:34 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 05:58 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!
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