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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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  #431  
Old 03-05-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

I have a few...

Wife and I were on our first trip south from Jacksonville (first real trip under sail), we got to the mouth of the ICW off the St. Johns. There was a Navy ship being worked to the north (restricted area) and a few piles of rocks to the south, along with a buoy. The winds were from the south, so we had to pull the sails down and motor, but I forgot to put the outboard in gear. We got the main down, I climbed up to the bow to pull the jib down, but my wife couldn't keep it pointed into the wind. I kept yelling at her "INTO THE WIND!", but by the time that happened the wind picked up the jib and spun the boat around. After doing about 3 loops, I said screw it and went back to just motor down the ICW until we got into a safer spot. I then realized my mistake and we got the sail down. There must have been 5 or 6 fishing boats out at the time, along with workers on the Navy ship, I'm sure we were the talk of the marina that night.

On day 3 of the trip, our outboard died and brilliant me decided to toss the anchor over the stern while we figured it out, reacting rather than thinking. Some jackwad power boat roared past us while I was trying to figure out the problem, I had to cut anchor to avoid the motor being torn off the mount by his wake.

Lessons learned.

EDIT:

Oh this is a good one.

I was a teenager and did a Sunfish sailing class with my dad at our local NC mudhole. The lake was a real mudhole, I thought I was going to get some kind of disease if I touched the water. Anyway, my dad is kindof large, but did fine for MOST of the class.

BUT! For our final, we had to go out and do a few maneuvers, then flip the boat over and right it ourselves, which meant swimming in that nasty water. Also, the lifevests they gave us were those cheap orange ones that most people keep aboard to be OK by CG standards, but are insanely uncomfortable.

Well, my dad went to do his practical and flipped the boat over, but the mast got stuck in the mud. He also had trouble lifting himself up onto the centerboard to right the boat again. After a few minutes his face started turning red and it became clear that the lifevest was causing circulation/breathing issues. When our instructor realized this, she yells out "HANG ON JIM I'LL SAVE YOU!", at which point a crowd gathers (this is a popular walking/running lake). She jumps in the water and drags my dad back to shore, who was humiliated by the entire event, but fortunately ok. We have a lot of friends that walk around the lake on weekends, turns out a few of them witnessed the event.
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Last edited by Shinook; 03-05-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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  #432  
Old 03-05-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

"Borrowing" an 84 foot oyster located near San Francisco and accidentally running it aground yesterday morning..............

Ok - just a bad joke!
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  #433  
Old 03-14-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

What's really great about this thread is the number of years it has been going for. I've made a few really dumb mistakes in the year that I have been frequently sailing. They have all related to not paying attention to tides and winds (particularly before attempting to sail keelboats with no motors). I've started paying attention to both. I've been reading this thread in the hopes that it will help me to not mess up as I take my first trip in my recently acquired boat. Thanks everyone for the great stories on here and the wisdom that can be gleaned from them.

SO HERE GOES:

A friend and I had been fixing up his boat for a couple of months to get it seaworthy. We fitted new spreaders for it, inventing tools for guessing the curve of the mast (which we cut into them with a jigsaw).

We finally had the mast up, and the boat was ready to sail. We got two cute girls onboard for the glorious maiden voyage to be. We brought a picnic, knowing that we would be out all day. We started the outboard and triumphantly began raising the sails as we motored out.

We paid no attention to the wind. We did not check the tide.

(We had always sailed dinghies together, and the dinghy dock is not inside the marina. You just sort of push off the dock and sail whichever way you want.) Seeing that we were under sail, we cut the motor. We went out the upwind, up-current entrance to the marina. There, it quickly became apparent that we could make no headway. It also became apparent that we could not come up through the wind to tack. There was no room to gybe. My friend tried to restart the outboard to no avail. I started to fall off, pointing straight at the rocks in order to gain speed for a second tack attempt. No dice. We were fighting to sail away as we drifted toward the rocks. He took the helm and I tried to start the motor. Neither of us had better luck than the other had had. We were frantically trying to fix this before we hit the rocks.

At this point, we ran into the rocks.

His fridge door opened, spilling the pool of condensation that was under the freezer. We thought we were taking on water.

I jumped on the radio, with no idea of how to call for help. I believe I said:

"Ship in distress. Ship in distress. Coast guard, do you copy?"

Keep in mind, we are still essentially inside of the marina.

Coast guard asked whether we were injured, how many were on board, location, etc. They asked for a description of the boat. I thought this was a very stupid question. I thought this because it had not occurred to me that there were boats other than 30ft sailboats, all of which are essentially white with white sails. I was at a loss for how to describe the darn thing. It had not occurred to me to use the vessel's name. I said:

"Describe? Uh... we are... white with white sails."

CG - "White with white sails?"

Me- "Yeah, but if you come to the south marina entrance, you'll know which one we are."

Right? The only white sailboat with white sails ON THE ROCKS.

At this point there was a crowd watching. People taking pictures. An ambulance. Two firetrucks.

The Coast Guard said:

"White ship with white sails, white ship with white sails. This is the Coast Guard."

Me - "This is ... white ship with white sails. We're still here."

CG - "The harbor patrol is on it's way."

Harbor patrol showed up in about 30 seconds. The guy threw us a line and insisted that we tie it to the bow. (We had gone bow-first onto the rocks.) We argued. He insisted. We thought the ship was sinking, so we did what he said.

He pulled us up onto the keel which dragged over the rocks, spilling the boat sideways as we hung on for dear life. The (spade) rudder twisted sideways and broke. He towed us, commenting "Cant you turn the rudder straight? You keep turning."

It was another 6 weeks before we had the rudder fixed and attempted the second maiden voyage. We left the motor running even as we sailed until we were well clear of shore, a habit we have maintained ever since.
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  #434  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?



Hold y beer, watch this.......as one does an accidental gybe double reefed in 40 some odd knots of wind! OOOPS!
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  #435  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
Hold y beer, watch this.......as one does an accidental gybe double reefed in 40 some odd knots of wind! OOOPS!
Meh.. A nice clean break. Nothin' some scrap and a few rivets won't fix.

Just lucky no-one got brained by the boom as it was going across..
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  #436  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor_sf View Post
It was another 6 weeks before we had the rudder fixed and attempted the second maiden voyage. We left the motor running even as we sailed until we were well clear of shore, a habit we have maintained ever since.
Were the girls with you?
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  #437  
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

They've both come out with us again.

One has really taken to it. She insisted on helping pull the head on my old, rusty Atomic 4. (And on helping pull the engine when it came to that. AND on storing it in her yard so she could take it apart.)

She sounds like a catch until you hear HER biggest bonehead move.

During a night sail, I told her to blow the jib, and she walked away. I shrugged and blew the jib myself, then watched it fall to the deck. She had untied the halyard and, without uncoiling the rope, let go of the whole thing. (I suppose I should've specified that I meant to blow the jib SHEET.)

Of course, she climbed to the spreaders and retrieved the halyard, so... she's more like the babe of my dreams than merely a catch.
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  #438  
Old 03-15-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor_sf View Post
They've both come out with us again.

One has really taken to it. She insisted on helping pull the head on my old, rusty Atomic 4. (And on helping pull the engine when it came to that. AND on storing it in her yard so she could take it apart.)

She sounds like a catch until you hear HER biggest bonehead move.

During a night sail, I told her to blow the jib, and she walked away. I shrugged and blew the jib myself, then watched it fall to the deck. She had untied the halyard and, without uncoiling the rope, let go of the whole thing. (I suppose I should've specified that I meant to blow the jib SHEET.)

Of course, she climbed to the spreaders and retrieved the halyard, so... she's more like the babe of my dreams than merely a catch.
If you haven't married her yet, you have a new biggest boneheaded move.
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  #439  
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

hehehe All in good time, mister B. Don't want to scare the poor lass off.
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  #440  
Old 03-16-2013
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?

3rd sail on the Catalina 25, which also made it my 3rd sail after taking classes.

It's March, nice out. My wife and I go through the Montlake Cut over to Lake WA. I don't check plan on going very far, so we're not carrying much fuel, clothing, or fuel.

We're sailing between the 520 and I90 bridges when I see another similar size boat (in retrospect it was probably a 22' boat) go under the I90 bridge. I thought I remembered it being tall enough (it's not). I say "let's go around Mercer Island". My wife says I'm nuts. I do it anyway, against her smart judgement.

We're close hauled and have a good amount of heel going through. Nothing touches, but the masthead light looks really really close. I know what it's like going under 40' bridges, and this was much closer. I go below to look at charts and discover that the documented bridge clearance is 29'. The lake is about 18" to 24" down, so we might be at 31'. Our mast is 35' from the waterline (tall mast C-25), so I know we can't go back. I start doing math in my head to figure out heel angles to fit. It's not pretty since we'd now be sailing downwind.

At this point I'm feeling like the stupidest and luckiest guy in the world because I never take risks like that, but hey, at least I still have a mast. My wife is really annoyed with me. The only good part is that I do get to sail around Mercer Island! It's a nice sunny day and the sailing is going pretty well.

At the south east corner of Mercer Island we have a lot of trouble making headway. There is wind coming out of the south in one place, and a few hundred feet over it is coming out of the east. We have old blown out sails and aren't tacking very well. We're overcanvassed for that one portion of the trip. I'm just out of my experience level.

A big gust heels us way over when we are close hauled and it's pretty uncomfortable. I jump up and dump the sails. We motor slowly (to save fuel) for quite a while before getting to calm wind and back into more open water. We sail again with a really pretty sunset from the north east corner of Mercer Island back across Lake WA to the Montlake cut.

When we got back to our dock on Lake Union it was 8pm, the fuel tank was just about empty, my wife was freezing, and we were both hungry. However, we had a mast.

Luckily she still sails with me! I always have paper charts with me too (on that trip I was using an iPad with Navionics...they often cut out bridge clearances in their versions of charts).
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