What's your biggest bonehead move sailing? - Page 42 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #411  
Old 05-29-2011
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Last fall I took (and passed!) the US Sailing Basic Keelboat class. Eager to show off my new skills, and figuring that if the sailing center let me do it I was safe, I took my 6 months pregnant wife and 1.5 and 3.5 years old girls out in 20+ kts with gusts over 30 in a Rhodes 19 keelboat. I thought I could handle this since we'd sailed in these conditions during class.

We left the dock with just a reefed mainsail and ran halfway across the harbor in just a few minutes. Everything was going just fine until the first "safety jibe." I trimmed the main most of the way in, called out the jibe, and promptly broached as we came up broadside to the wind with a fully trimmed main. The leeward rail went in the water, resulting in two screaming girls.

I promised the girls that we would head back to the dock immediately. However, with the winds, current, and shortened sail plan, the boat was making no headway after several tacks. Eventually I decided to try the jib. This didn't help much, and only made matters worse when the boat got spun around during a tack where the working sheet wasn't released and put more force on the sheet than Mrs. MITBeta could handle. We ended up near the path of a harbor ferry just as the sailing center's rescue tender arrived.

While the tender captain was attaching our bow line to the tender to prepare to tow, I was securing the sails. Over the radio came the call for all boats to return to the dock as the winds were now at gale force.

Back on shore, the girls got over the excitement very quickly. I told the folks in the sailing center what had happened and they all immediately declared that one should never try to jibe in such conditions, instead favoring a tack with a 270 degree turn. (I have since come to learn that this is called a "chicken jibe.")

Damage done: heavily bruised ego, haunting dreams about the event for several months.

Lessons learned:

1. Don't think that just because you took one course that you're an expert.

Corollary: Know your limitations (passengers, crew, boat, weather, etc...)

2. Chicken jibe.

3. Think about beam reaching if the weather is heavy and getting back to the dock could be challenging. I realized after the fact that this is what we spent most of our time in class doing when the weather was this heavy.

4. Pick up a copy of "Little Rat Sets Sail" (US Sailing website...) to soothe the fears of the 3.5 year old so that she can be convinced to come sailing again...


I'm happy to say that the 5 of us have now been out three times this season, with slowly increasing duration and conditions, with favorable outcomes.

Yesterday we were out in 10kts. The boat was heeling slightly on a close haul, making the 4 year old nervous. I showed her how I could control the heel by easing the mainsheet, (just like Buzzy Bear shows Little Rat in the book!) and that soothed her a bit, but she still preferred the boat to sit squarely in the water.

For now I'm prepared to give her what she wants while slowly building her confidence in the boat and the skipper. I'm also looking for jobs that she can do while on the boat (look out for other ships, lookout for navigational aids, land features, etc., some limited time on the helm (which an experience hand on the helm as well), etc.).
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  #412  
Old 05-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapworth View Post
Nice recovery! If I fall of your boat please don't use a gaff on me.
Nah, I bought a LifeSling for you, buddy!
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  #413  
Old 09-12-2011
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Docking the 25 Catalina. Everything is lined up pretty good, not tight to the finger pier but only a foot or so away, an easy step.
I go to make the step and my shorts somehow get caught on the stanchion so my step is exactly a foot short of the finger pier. But somehow I'm only partly in the water. My elbows are on the dock and I still have the spring line in my hand. I look around and notice that the boat is still moving so I, from the water, cleat it off.
I then climb up on the dock, my wife throws me the stern line and I cleat that off.

I have slightly skinned shin and forearm and only the bottom inch or two of my shorts are wet.
I still can't figure out how I managed to step off a boat and miss the dock and still not even get wet.
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  #414  
Old 09-13-2011
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Possibly not my biggest bonehead move, but it's right up there.

Over labor day weekend I was invited to sail on a friend's boat for our annual regatta. On Sunday the wind was blowing 19 with gusts to 30. As it was only my second time on the boat, my job was mostly to haul halyards as needed, and be heavy on the rail (I'm pretty good at the second part). We rounded the first mark and set the spinnaker. Just as the spinnaker started to fill, another boat came below us and headed us up. The pole wasn't quite in position and the downhaul too loose. The skipper called for more downhaul, but the bowman wasn't in position. Since I was at the mast already, I grabbed what I thought was the downhaul, but pulled the topping lift instead. The pole went skyward, and the boat started to heel over. The bowman grabbed the downhaul (the actual downhaul, not what I did) and I jumped forward to pull down directly on the pole. The problem was that I had also cleated the topping lift with the pole WAY too high. No matter how hard we pulled, we were never going to get that pole down. The result was a truly spectacular, keel clear of the water - almost filled the cabin broach.

Here's a nice shot of us in action. In this picture the boat is still going down.
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  #415  
Old 09-24-2011
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either replacing my furling line with the jib furled out and cammed into place.. then going for a night sail and wondering why the hell are we out of line?! next day went and got the same line, same length from the same guy.. i didnt have to say it. he knew i botched something up.. next would be tinkering with the main at anchor with my brother. i asked him several times if he had REALLY tightened the sail stopper. he said yes. not more that 10 seconds later i hear, tink tink splash. i said what was that? he goes, oh you know exactly what that was..then resplashing after the hurricane i motor to the slip and make sure the jib is operating smooth and all i feel is friction. the guy who has an oday about 3 slips over stops looks curiously and says, man , thats a really interesting drum design.. how the hell do you get it to furl with it facing that way? i wasnt paying attention when i stepped the mast and the mouth of the drum was about 90 degrees offset. now commercially, thats another story all together..
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  #416  
Old 09-24-2011
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Backing into the slip, I put the throttle in neutral, (straight up position), and stepped off the back.

Oooops, straight up is actually forward...
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  #417  
Old 09-25-2011
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Safely tied in a sheltered pen on a cruise, I asked a fisherman for the weather forecast for the day.

Big mistake, I headed out into a front that left me exposed for a sail home fully reefed for the rest of the day in 35 to 40 knot winds, did I mentioned the motor had died.

Two kids seasick in the bilge and nothing to do but sail on to sheltered water 20 miles away. I was an idiot.
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  #418  
Old 09-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninefingers View Post
Backing into the slip, I put the throttle in neutral, (straight up position), and stepped off the back.

Oooops, straight up is actually forward...
Heh-heh, which begs the question ..... should one holler FORE!!! ?
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  #419  
Old 09-25-2011
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Originally Posted by Izzy1414 View Post
Heh-heh, which begs the question ..... should one holler FORE!!! ?
Thankfully the line off the stern is long enough to...umm...pull the boat back with my massive arm strength.

Did I mention I did it more than once?

It scared the crap out of me actually. Had I not been able to tug it back and wrap the line around a bollard, I was resigned to just watching the boat crash away into whatever was across the fairway.
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Old 09-26-2011
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Exclamation idiotic mess

This will be cathartic. First time out on a boat I just bought the day before. Was sailing in a bay that has overhead bridges, mistakenly went under a bridge a bit too short (aka lost), thin metal antenna scraped, no big deal. Realized I was not where I wanted to be and not wanting to be trapped in that area if the tide was coming up I hastily made a B-line back towards the bridge,but being paranoid about a demasting I put the engine in reverse as I got close to slow down. Mast cleared and I accelerated - STILL IN REVERSE-. Boat turned and the bow pulpit struck a large pylon. Damage was not terrible but ego bruised forever, had non sailor guests on board, I'm sure they'll never have anything like that happen again. Wow, so that happened.
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