What's your biggest bonehead move sailing? - Page 26 - SailNet Community

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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 11-19-2008
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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
The one that actually almost got me killed 3 times in just as many seconds was while I was still tied to the dock. I was stepping off my boat by way of the boomkin, which as it turns out was covered with ice. My leg slipped between the boomkin and transom, I was able to catch my self on the backstay long enough to keep my leg from breaking off at the ankle, but slid down until I lost my grip. My head just barely missed the dock but hit and broke the ice on the water. I was hanging upside down and sideways by one knee with my other foot and head under freezing water. I pulled myself up, ripping my stern light out by it's roots and lost my cell.....I don't know what I did to my leg but am still reminded of it. Non-skip teak pads go onto my boomkin...someday.
Doesn't West Marine sell crampons?
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Old 11-19-2008
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Lost anchor... and daughter published it in a magazine!

If you search behind Cedar Island, VA you will find a perfectly good Fortress, lost at 3AM. Long story, much funnier if it had been about someone else, but no harm done, other than being down my main anchor on a long cruise.

My daughter then memorialized her fathers foible in an article for Latitudes and Attitudes for all to read. At least she is earning money for college.
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Old 11-19-2008
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My worst move. Anchored in the Bahamas and the wind shifted leaving me off a lee shore. But we had engine problems which would have required tacking out of a tight channel in very windy conditions. I checked both anchors and was dug in tight so went to bed and did not stand an anchor watch. About 3 am woke up to the sound of breakers and ended up on the beach about 2 minutes later. Turned out the surge of the waves caused one anchor fluke to bend over and that anchor pulled out. The second drug until it caught under a rock ledge which at some time broke off and jammed in the flukes preventing it from resetting.

Next time, stand an anchor watch.
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Old 11-19-2008
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45.63N 122.67W
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For single handing I've developed a method of motoring in slllllooowly and pointing the bow for the 2-3 knot current that courses through the marina from my port side on approach. I don't have a typical slip and have to parallel park along the main dock. With crew, I can pull up and drift back while the crew gets the bow line cleated. When singlehanding I'm presented with a few problems, no crew, motor on port side of the tiller, no extra hands and that #$% current that likes to swing my bow to port when I grab a dock line from aft. My space doesn't afford me the ability to motor right into the space, its situated inside an unused finger.

My solution? Throw her in neutral and nose in slowly allowing the boat to drift down river on the final 15 ft of approach, with the tiller amidship. Sprint forward, grab the bowline, and jump onto the dock and cleat the bowline. The current drifts the stern into the slip and I just wait until it creeps up to me and cleat it off and step in and kill the motor. This has worked flawlessly all summer.
In the fall, the current is a different story....
My eye opener was when the current was lower with the reduced release of water from the upriver dam. (Nevermind what that does to expose the sandbar in the middle of the marina for those fixed keel boats like mine...)
When I did my usual and cleated off the bow, the stern never swung. The boat just sat there perpendicular to the dock, motor still running in neutral with no way to swing it back without stepping aboard and throwing a line to the dock, stepping back off and pulling the stern to the dock.... the plan was good, if I just would have paid more attention to where I stepped to get back on the bow when attempting to get back onboard.

So now I've managed to get a good soaking (thank God my catlike reflexes helped me catch the dock and bow so only the left leg [the one with the keyless entry for my car was in] went under - that AND I fell straddling the bowline) and somehow [ splash! ] managed to attract the attention of otherwise uninterested other boaters and overheard "honey, I don't think he knows what he's doing" but had managed to toss a line cleated to the stern and had been pulling the stern in by the time "hubby" took the time to poke his head out of his cabin. No help needed. Thank you very much! LOL!
Now I'm in a different spot and can motor right up to port and cleat off.
Ah, the benefits of fleet moorage.
Signature picture courtesy of Cal20 Class Assn.

Last edited by Calabego; 11-19-2008 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11-19-2008
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Doesn't West Marine sell crampons?
Mouth of the Frazier river was just like home (Chesapeake)......sand/mud flats
If I needed to get anything from West Marine it would have been a GPS

Last edited by wolfenzee; 11-19-2008 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 11-20-2008
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Ok, just thought of the only other one - so far, knock on wood.....
The fleet is at the Island for a picnic/campout.
The pier is arranged in 2 concrete fingers extending down river at least 100'.
Room for many large boats and a few small ones in parallel.
The docks had already been filled by larger yachts so the '20's had to find space where they could. Nesting would be the best, so some nested 3 boats deep just 50' off of the start of the finger. Several boats were leaving early, but nested inside, so all the others had to move. Ours in particular saw the inboard boat leaving, but space was opened up just 40' downriver. All we had to do was pass a nice Olson 30. We get the permission to walk the lines past his boat to the dock and I do the walking. Another feeds a long bowline cleated by yours truely to the bow of my boat. One person onboard the nest (with a neck brace mind you, so he was elected to do the least of the work) to hand me the stern line once the nested boats pass the Olson. It works perfectly, until the bowline slips off the cleat. (who cleated that anyway!!!??) Everyone on the dock watches the unpowered flotilla drift down river, the stern line too short to throw to me. The single "captain" thinks to start rowing toward the dock, only to propel the mess toward a rather large and expensive yacht moored downriver of our intended spot. He's onboard and reaches out with a 6' boathook, and his deck is easily 10' off the water. By this time the fella holding the long line has coiled it and threw it to the "captain" and began carefully pulling the nest back to the dock, but instead of cleating off so we could pull hard, the captain just held on to the line, serving as the human cleat.
It worked, sort of, we couldn't get the nest to the dock without lineing it up with the yacht. I reached out in front of the yacht and caught my boat midships with my foot while more or less sitting in a crabwalk position, and luckily the momentum and weight weren't too much. With a foot or so to spare, I managed to leg press the nest away from the yacht and with combined effort, brought the nest to its intended moorage. Moral of the story? Ha, too many to list...
Signature picture courtesy of Cal20 Class Assn.
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Old 11-23-2008
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Dropping a tin can of fluid film 100 feet aloft? God that sucked. Needless to say, I bought beer for the crew...and spent an hour and a half scrubbing the housetops and deck...
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Old 11-25-2008
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well just one....I was taking a guy from work sailing....oday daysailer...we put the boat in and bent on the sails...started off in a good wind...but the boat just didnt feel right....I told him it seemed we were overpowering the wind somehow...the boat felt sluggish....after twenty minutes or so I noticed some water in the bottom and started looking for the reason...well water was coming in through the centerboard line holes...which are about six inches or so above the floor of the boat...so we started back to the landing where we put in...bailing after a bit because the water wasnt stopping....what happened?...I left the drain plug out of the bilge...live and learn...funny but he hasnt mentioned sailing again........
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Old 11-25-2008
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I was in the Navy, on a destroyer based out of Philadelphia. In the summer of 1972 we went to Winter Harbor, ME to show the colors at the annual lobster festival. With the XO's permission I brought along a borrowed Sunfish.

On the day of the festival while the off duty crew was motored ashore in the ships whale boat yours truely launched the Sunfish off the torpedo deck. Didn't I think I was special. My very own liberty launch and babe magnet. My sailboat.

The festival was outside at a community park right at the town landing. Somehow I managed to reach the pier without getting the seat of my pants completely soaked. I doused the sail, tied off to the pier, pulled the centerboard and and the rudder and lashed everything in place.

There were people from all over the northeast in town for the lobster festival, include a number of pretty coeds. Two of them caught my eye right away. I maneuvered into position and started a conversation. The conversation took off and things were going well. Somewhere between the lobster, the beer and the blueberry pie I asked if either of the girls would be interested in going sailing. They were both interested, but I could only take one out at a time. Whoever wants to go first, just take a seat in the boat while I get everything rigged and hoist the sail. Off we go into a nice fresh breeze.

Now, if you've ever sailed a Sunfish, you'll probably remember that the sheet is lead back to a wire traveler on the stearn, and the tiller is rigged under the traveler....usually. In this case I had sort of overlooked that detail and had the tiller on top of the traveler. Well, on our first tack this didn't present any problem. I had full control of the rudder from about midships to hard left. Not until I tried to manuever away from some rocky outcropping did I realize my predicament. Without any right rudder there was only one thing to do, come left and jibe. The results were, as you would expect, an unplaned dip in some pretty cold water, with everyone, including most of my shipmates watching.

We managed to get the Sunfish back on her feet and sailed back to the pier. She was the last person to accept a ride from me that weekend.
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Old 12-01-2008
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This is easy for me. In preparation for a trip down the ICW from New Jersey I pulled the Atomic 4 from my Pearson 30, tore it down and replaced all the seals and gaskets. That done, in late October (with no one around) we launched and I proceeded to move her to my slip. The marina is in a tidal creek and there was a slight ebb running so I motored slowly downstream toward the slip. I put the transmission in reverse to slow down to enter the slip...no reverse. I put it in forward to go downstream and turn around for another try...no forward. The engine ran fine, just no drive to the prop. The boat was slowly moving past the pilings at the end of the slips so, thinking I was King Kong, I stepped out on the port waterway and grabbed a passing piling which promptly snatched me off the boat and dumped me in the water. Fortunately the ebb had stopped and the boat didn't move much but I couldn't get back on board. The swim ladder was tied to the stern rail so that didn't work. Finally, fueled by pure adrenalin and after several tries, I managed to hoist myself on board and warped the boat into the slip. I crawled into the engine compartment where I saw the nuts and bolts from the prop shaft connector lying in the bilge. I had put them in finger tight and forgot to tighten them with a wrench. After about 100 yards, they dropped of and left me high and dry...oops, I mean low and wet. It only took a few minutes to tighten them and they lasted all the way to the Bahamas where, as far as I know, they are still driving the old girl but the not so fond memory still remains.

Dick Pluta
Islander Freeport 41
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