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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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  #51  
Old 08-17-2007
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I guess this is a good place for my first post.

I bought a Siren 17 this year, and the 3rd time I took it out was during our camping trip to the 1000 Islands. I had the boat docked in a spot I figured was easy to get in and out of as I'm new to it all and my auxiliary power is just a small 36lb thrust electric trolling motor that I didn't quite trust yet. The marina is in Wellesley Island State Park, I'm sure someone here must be familiar with it, it's a small marina with a row of slips that looked very easy to sail from, I was in one of these slips way out at the end.

So I had the boat ready to go, wife on board, the wind a good 8 knots or so straight onshore down the bay, so I decided to tack out without using the motor, I had enough room so I raise the main and walk the boat to the end of the dock and hop on, push the bow off the wind and sheet in the main expecting to sail upwind on a starboard tack, and quickly turn to port once clear of the dock...But that didn't happen! The boat blew downwind and headed straight for the back of the marina! I tried to turn and nothing, I ended up blowing into the very corner of the bay bouncing off the rental boats feeling very embarrassed. Now those of you quick on the uptake will by now have realized I forgot a very key step after raising the main and before leaving the dock...

I forgot to lower the centerboard. I finally realized this only AFTER the park marina employees mustered up a boat to tow me out of the marina. But wait, there's more! on the way back the next day(under power this time) I got about 20 feet from the dock and the boat just stopped dead, by this time the wind was blowing out of the bay so I assumed the trolling motor just didn't have enough power to go directly into the stiff breeze that was blowing this day, so I frantically tel my wife to start paddling while I wave the rudder back and forth in a vain attempt to get some extra thrust, guess what the problen was THIS time! That's right, the centerboard was fully down and hit bottom.

So I am still new to all this, and after this trip I felt like quitting this sailing thing, but after a bunch more sails in my home port (Buffalo) I am hooked. I still make mistakes (got caught in some weeds a few weeks back, a story for another day) but as I gain more confidence I look forward to sailing more and more every weekend, we are going to try an evening sail tomorrow, I mean, my boat has lights, and they even work now! It's time to use them.
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  #52  
Old 08-17-2007
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
Great post, Mike.
The prospect of further humiliations is a great sharpener of the mind! We all learn much the same way, but each time get a little better, and a little quicker, at recognizing our errors. One advantage, often overlooked, is that, once aground, we no longer panic and rush about, but merely muse, "here we go again" and set about freeing ourself. It's all the beginning process of acquiring seamanship; something none of us was born with. It doesn't hurt us to hold the humbleness tight in the mind, we'll probably be back for further instruction from the sea. And it allows compassion to rise freely for others as we pass a line with a calming, "been aground here myself a couple of times".

Thanks again for the story and your enthusiasm.
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  #53  
Old 08-18-2007
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so many to choose from...

having been a lifelong sailor, i've had ample opportunity to join the "bonehead club"...
to set the stage, i was 23 and living at va beach w/ one of my college buds. the beachfront cottage we lived in (den of iniquity it was) had a hobie 16 and we were footloose, fancy free and..well 23. to add another twist there were two sisters involved. collectively we came up with the bright idea to go sailing. i was the only one w/ any experience(granted i had been single handing since 5), so bravado was also in play here. there was a decent breeze (okay, it was blowing about 15 knots), and we pushed said hobie into the surf and hopped on the tramp.
did i mention that there were no pfds on board and that i was the only one w/ any sailing experience?
well we are cruising right along paying little attention to the breeze freshening ever so much..i'm just happy to be sailing with the prospect of some female companionship awaiting our eventual return.
we are all sitting on the windward side getting a little air under the pontoon. the two sisters (combined weight about 230 lbs) didn't have a firm grasp and went sliding straight down to the leeward side..well, that put us right over.
frank (my co-conspirator) and i righted the boat, while the fair maidens tread water. so we get everything straightened out and the last words i heard before a splash was.."i'm gonna stay with the girls" frank jumps back in expecting me to maneuver around to pick em all up.
i'm sitting on the tramp soaking wet as the sails fill and i'm on a broad reach headed away from shore...it was at this time i grabbed for the tiller only to notice it dancing nicely astern away from the boat. i am heading out into the atlantic at great speed..(the bad news i am completely out of control..the good news, i'm making great time)..i look back to see frank and the girls bobbing in the surf about a mile offshore..quickly i lose sight of em.
i figure the only way out of this mess is to climb back on the pontoon and snatch the rudder bar and tiller and flip it back forward. so here i am screaming along, no life jacket, blasting through 2-3 foot swells and hoping i don't fall overboard. i snagged said rudder bar flip it over, scramble back on the tramp and try to regain control of this runaway train.
i sheet in the main and start trying to make my way back to shore. i was 165 lbs soaking wet and no match for the 18+ knot breeze i was enjoying. yup..as i head back in i managed to get knocked over twice. the best i could do was try to reach back to shore making really long tacks along the beach. now i had plenty to think about in between capsizing..most notably the fate of three of my friends bobbing like corks in the ocean, the good news it was mid september so the water was still warm, although being a good mile from shore didn't instill great confidence.
i get back close to where we initially went over..no sign of them..now i'm dealing with the prospect of trying to explain to their parents how i had killed their progeny, through abject stupidity in a quest for pu**y.
as i made my way closer to the beach, i saw the three of them standing waving..it seems a passing powerboat scooped em from the drink and dropped them ashore.
we still laugh about this adventure some 27 years later...
oh... and btw..

i didn't get laid that night
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Last edited by sanctuarysam; 08-18-2007 at 07:35 PM.
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  #54  
Old 08-18-2007
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Well, we went out today and had a nice sail. But this time it was not me that made a bonehead move, it was my wife! I sent her up to catch the dock and tie the front of the boat up, well she stepped on the dock with one foot without grabbing one of the posts, so of course she pushed the boat right out from under her other foot and plunk! Down she went. So after I ask her how the water is while trying to stifle my laughter I tied up the front while she waded up the ramp. Funny stuff.
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  #55  
Old 08-19-2007
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Mine was while skippering a J-22 on Baltimore's Inner Harbor with a crew of three besides me. It was our usual Wednesday evening open sail with the Baltimore Downtown Sailing Center, and we knew there was a chance of afternoon thunderstorms, so we hadn't ventured out much farther than Fort McHenry.

Still, the dark bar on the western horizon I'd been watching was coming up faster than I counted on, and the wind died pre-storm before we'd made it back past the fort into the Inner Harbor to where we could have tied up at the Bay Cafe, or gone over the Navy Reserve docks. I had the sails down and we were rocking her to try to make way over to the nearest bulkhead by the frieghter docks so that we could at least tie up, and I was starting to think of putting out a bucket on a line over the bow for a sea anchor if nothing else.

Happily, a little sloop out of Limerick, Ireland of all places, came along and asked us if we'd like a tow, which we gladly accepted. When the squall came it was 30-35 kt winds and rain, but no lightning. The little sloop fell off the wind a bit as she was towing us and instantly got pushed around, but we followed her around in a big circle until she was back into the wind, and by the time we got to the fuel dock near downtown the wind had died back down to normal.

We all got off on the dock, caught our breath, thanked our saviors, then raised the main only and went back to the sailing center's docks just across the harbor.

When I got there the dockmaster asked me why I was under tow, and I said "Because they offered one." Then she asked me why I was towed all the way to the fuel docks and I said, "Because we were on the end of a nice safe towline, and I figured I'd stay that way to the dock where we could regroup." She seemed satisfied with that answer and nothing more was said about it.

As a bonehead move I suppose it's not too bad, though if the tow hadn't come along it could have been more scary. The lesson I learned is to look for safe shelter as soon as the sky gets that dark bar on the horizon on days when storms are expected.
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  #56  
Old 08-19-2007
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Hmm... posting this on the internet might put you in the dog house for the night...
Quote:
Originally Posted by eMKay View Post
Well, we went out today and had a nice sail. But this time it was not me that made a bonehead move, it was my wife! I sent her up to catch the dock and tie the front of the boat up, well she stepped on the dock with one foot without grabbing one of the posts, so of course she pushed the boat right out from under her other foot and plunk! Down she went. So after I ask her how the water is while trying to stifle my laughter I tied up the front while she waded up the ramp. Funny stuff.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #57  
Old 08-19-2007
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Alright, picture it. Key West florida, we're loaded with fifty plus passengers. I had shaken out the reef from the day before. We had put a single reef in the main. This was on the schooner Liberty Clipper. So we have the passengers lined up. Start having them haul up the main. The throat's cruiseing up the mast no problems. The peak's moving then goes tight, way to soon. Quietly we shout back and forth, trying to figure out whats wrong without alarming anyone. Finaly the captain sees that one nettle has been left tied. With as much tension as was on that reef line there was only one way to get it loose with out lowering the sail. The captain climbed up onto the boom and cut the nettle loose.

The passengers never knew what went wrong, but the whole crew knew that I had forgot to double check the lines. I felt like a right @ss.
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  #58  
Old 08-21-2007
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Nice to see this thread still growing.
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Old 08-21-2007
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I wouldn't know where to start with my most boneheaded moves. My lawyer has advised me not to speak about them in a public forum such as this.
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Old 08-21-2007
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bock bock bock BOCK!
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