...the heart rates come down and then the Cap'n starts reaming me another butt hole saying that I almost caused a crash and damage to his and the other boat. Stunned, I say I told you that we were on a collison course with plenty of time to alter the course safely. He then said I was an incompent sailor because when he said "ducking", I should have released the main, it's basic sailing.
... I haven't made that mistake again.
Yup, the skipper was right, but his mistake was not noticing you NOT
uncleating the main sheet. Even with a crazy experienced main trimmer on the boat, I'll usually say something like, "we'll duck... main sheet's ready to easy?" etc.... I'll call the ease as I bear away. Ducking is normal practice, but everyone has to be on the same page. Skipper must be VERY clear about the timing and sequence. The jib trimmer will be down doing their thing concurrently. Done correctly, a good close duck is a rush!
And as you said, the mistake hasn't been repeated!
.. Early mistake. As a kid, I was sailing with a friend in an O'day widgeon. We were docking after a few rounds of racing, and I came in a bit too fast. My friend went forward to fend. He used his hands instead of feet and got his thumb smashed between the dock and the boat... I felt awful for days.
Also did a crummy what I thought was a half-hitch, and turned around to see the boat (this time an FJ) floating away from the dock.
More recently, a friend (the skipper of a 120' motor yacht) and I were pulling up to dock next to his boat. We weren't really paying much attention and at the last moment realized we had to climb up on large tractor tires that were bolted to the dock to get to the cleats. Yeah, short dock lines, the blow off side of the dock, and upwind from his 120'er where lunch was waiting for us... came about 3 heart beats from losing control and drifting quickly into the big boat. Yes, we had both jumped off my boat on to the dock with lines that were a good bit shorter than we ideally needed. Of course we hadn't put a couple of fenders over the other side 'just in case'. Didn't think that this kind of simple error was in the realm of possibility. We were sure were close to having to explain a lot of potential cosmetic damage to the owner. It was just plain luck, not skill, that we managed keep my boat in control, but only at the very last possible moment... Lot's of dicey moments jumping back and forth getting longer lines together. Rule one, no matter what or who you're sailing with or on, talk the docking strategy through and have a 'plan B' for the odd chance that things go south.
And one more... Calling for a spin hoist when it wasn't my job, kite goes up early, fills, we start going sideways and hit the windward mark... have to do our turns while watching a bunch of boats sail by. Ouch.... Owner/skipper not pleased. Mast man not pleased... matter of fact, everyone pretty unhappy.
yup... that's the emoticon that sums it all up pretty well.