What's your biggest bonehead move sailing? - Page 9 - SailNet Community
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post #81 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
OK, it’s been a couple of weeks so I guess I can admit to this one.
We had a bone headed move a little while back.
After it was all over, we got a good laugh out of it.
No harm, No foul.

The crew and I made a mistake. Coming in after a 20 Hour sail, 6;00AM, tired and cranky. My wife and I are ready to dock. I always tell her, drop the spring line over the midship cleat, move forward and grab the bowline with your boat hook than drop that over the bow cleat. As she does this I stop the boat and after she has the spring on the cleat, I continue to back down and let prop walk nudge us gently against our padded pilling.

Well, that didn't happen. She grabbed the spring and dropped it, but it was not on the cleat. The bow started to drift out so she ran to the other side of the boat to fend off on that side. I thought we had a spring attached so I just kept the boat in reverse but nothing was happening,..... Except we were now going backwards and sort of kind of the stern was going under our finger slip. (Yes our docks are high and we have to use a boarding ladder) What the !!!! Julie what are you doing!!!??? I'm pushing off!!! What are you doing???? Why isn't the spring attached???!!!! Because you were too close on this side!!! Just get the spring on and we will be fine!

Needless to say, everything ended just fine. We were a little sideways in the slip for about two seconds. After I realized what was happening, I just put her back in gear and nudged forward so she could cleat the spring, which was simply lying on the deck.

Oh well, its all good.
We were a little crabby with each other for about ten minutes. Than it all went away.
If that was one of your most boneheaded moves you are pretty far ahead of the game.
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post #82 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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Originally Posted by Lancer28 View Post
How about this one...

One of my kids was playing in the head and pumped out the 25 gallons of sewage into the water while we were puttering along... Here comes a powerboat with a blaring soundsystem and a bunch of hooting kids, and they lost the skier right where my kid pumped out the head.

Ok to add some more GROSS to the story, they actually decided to change skiers there, so picked up the one that fell, and dropped another into the water... HAHAHAHA
Similar stupidity on my part. Bought the boat, took some friends for the delivery, and did the sea-trial with only the broker, not the previous owner. The broker did not know anything about the boat... or said he didn't because he didn't want to answer my questions.

We moved the boat 250 miles, from NJ to VA... with the head pumping directly overboard! I checked the valves and assumed that all valves worked the same. Turns out one valve had a little arrow drawn on it showing that the direction of flow was non-standard (or atleast not the same as all the other valves on the boat). So, we pumped everything overboard the whole trip... I still feel bad about that.

But wait... it gets funnier. I checked the holding tank several times... but looking at it, as there is no gauge. I figured it was the same material as my water tank, which let me see how full it was. But after a few days use by 4 people, I couldn't see any change, so figured I was wrong in my assumption I could see the level without opening it. I figured the head would get really hard to pump when the tank was full. Last leg of our 5 day trip, the head got hard to pump... so tank must be full. We didn't have a chance to pull into a port in order to pump it out... didn't want to try to get to the marina in the dark... so made the call that if you gotta go, go over the back... and hope nobody needs number 2. Few hours later... one of the crew needed to "drop the kids off at the pool", so we did the only thing we could thing was reasonable, we dropped the ladder off the back, which he stood on, and did his deed. Turns out, there's a pretty nice bidet flow from under the boat. The whole thing was comical, and there are photos if anyone is really interested. Hour or two later... the urge hit another crew member. Similar plan... hang off the stern ladder and drop the kids off. Worked like a charm.

Well, as it turns out... if you don't have that little lever pushed all the way down, the head gets difficult to pump... and feels like the holding tank is full!

I only discovered the holding tank valve thing was an issue when I went to pump the head out... and it wasn't pumping... spent some time looking at everything to discover that little arrow on the valve.



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post #83 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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On teling someone that the boat they had just purchased sight unseen through the 'net was "not as bad as all that" after he had had a very disappointing first impression.

On the ride out in my dinghy I commented favourably about the lines, the way that the make of boat was almost never prone to osmosis and was solidly and well built in both hull and deck, about the fact that the mast and boom seemed okay, even if we found that the standing rigging would need replacing, etc...

I was really doing my best, because this thing was a heart-sinking dog to look upon. Streaks of who knows what running down the hull from every scupper in the rotted-to-heck wooden toe-rails, windows that looked like whited-out cataracts fromt he sun fading and crazing that would mean that you could inadvertently push your finger straight through them....This thing was a bit dire!

Anyway, we tight the dinghy painter to a cracked and crooked staunchion (there were not enough horn cleats on deck) and clamber aboard. I spend 45 minutes doing a boat check. All the halyards, tracks, what could jokingly be reffered to as winches and other fittings. We bail out the bilges as step one so that the last thing on the check can be seeing how much water has seeped back in. Anyway...I lead him through a pretty thorough check-list of his new vessel and point out all the good stuff as well as stuff that needs replacing (with notes on where to get the bits cheap and a sort of ball-park price list). He begins to look a little less glum, and the possibility of sailing this mooring-minder across the BAY to his marina begin to seem possible (as long as the dinghy stays with us as an emergency escape!!!).

At last we get to the little 5hp outboard hanging off the transom. Oh dear. To short a shaft, too small a prop, and my doubts of getting this thing started are not aided by the fact that the lift-latches for the coling are both brocken so that you need to get under the stubs with a screw driver and then grab with a pair of pliers to lift them and open the motor.
The internals looks surprisingly good....But it does not start. Oh well, we can sail off the mooring and I know the detination marina enough to know we can either sail in, sail in and nudge for detail using the dinghy, or give a yell on the radio once we are in the area and see if someone wants to come out and lend a hand.

Not much water has seeped into the bilges since we bailed....
Check time available, plenty of daylight.

Winds, still light and useful (10-12kt), and lookign to stay that way.

"Okay, we go."

I watch him smile with a new and fragile confidence in his boat. We make things ready, The launch off the mooring has to be fairly no-nonsense as there is a sand bar not far behind us, so getting out of irons and moving is pretty critical.
The main (sorry, miserable remains of a main) is hoisted and I tell him to go forwards and throw off the mooring line when I tell him. He hears the first part.

I am just getting last minute things sorted like trimming the main sheet so that we can get moving as soon as the line is thrown when I feel the boat's motion change. I look up to see he has thrown off the line and is coming back to the cockpit. Oh well, don't make a huge fuss. Just get on with it....

I finish trimming the main to something liek what I think it will need to be when I bring the nose of the now backward-travelling boat around and step over to the tiller. I take it in hand, push to starboard....and have it snap off in my hand, leaving about a half inch stubb sticking out of the tiller stock.
I am holding the broken tiller and looking at it a bit stupidly, and then look up to see the guy who had just conjured confidence in hsi new boat looking a little pale and uncertain.

"What we need now, and I mean really now, is a big shifter or pipe wrench" I say.

"I have a leatherman here" he replies, not very optimistically.

And we feel the first thud of the keel into the sand bar.

We eventually used the dinghy to kedge out the anchor, and then to use the anchor rode to tie onto the mooring loop, and gradually worked the boat back onto its mooring...But that was about six hours of work including waiting for the tide to change.
We eventually moved his boat two weeks later, but his heart was no longer in it and he got rid of it.
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post #84 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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I was sailing a rhodes 19 with 8 of us packed into it on the Charles river. We got near the shore and some of the guys got into a shouting match with some people on the shore. I was steering us to follow the shoreline about 10 feet out when the boat ground to a giant halt. Everyone looked around and laughed. I had to jump into the river and push us off. I kind of felt stupid in front of my friends.

But the dumbest thing I ever did was take my brand new Hobie 16 catamaran out in a small boat wind warning. We flipped the sucker a few times and ripped the sail. I was 16.


Originally Posted by ReverendMike View Post
I'm still learning better ways to screw up, but to date: changing my mind regarding which way to go around a small island while in a strong following current . (Hello, my name is Mike and I have run aground )
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post #85 of 615 Old 09-20-2007 Thread Starter
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Live and learn eh? Personally, I love sailing in the heavier stuff. Of course, gettin shoved sideways while the coaming and house push a bow wave will teach ya to sheet out faster.
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post #86 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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We were on a hired yacht in Nara Inlet in the Whitsundays moored in deep water about 100 yards from the beach just outside the fringing reef.

It was a fine sunny day, having our lunch on deck and just enjoying the peaceful surroundings, when we see another hire yacht, a Beneteau 30-footer, coming up to anchor with one guy on the bow getting the anchor ready and supposedly keeping watch and the rest of the tourists in the stern.

They went past us at idle speed and headed straight for the beach, obviously totally ignorant about the reef. Suddenly the boat stops, pitching forward as the fin hits the reef. The guy on the bow utters quite a few expletives clearly heard across the still anchorage as the idiot on the helm puts the boat in reverse - and goes in again at high speed!!

This time the bow actually goes under by an inch or two and the bowman jumps around like he's on hot coals swearing like a trooper (mustn't like getting his feet wet - poor baby!) and they see us laughing at them from our ring-side seats.

After that, they gave up and left to find another anchorage. I don't suppose it crossed their pea-brains for one second that there was a reason we were anchored where we were...

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post #87 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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Well, since Simon asked...

When I was a teen, my twin and I were sailing on a Cape Cod Mercury on the Charles River. The sailing club set the Longfellow Bridge, which connects Boston and Cambridge, as one edge of the sailing area for a good reason. The Longfellow Bridge is lower than the air draft of the Cape Cod Mercuries.

Well, we ended up sailing under the bridge, with the boat heeled over quite a bit, and spent about an hour sailing on the other side of it. When it was time to sail back, we had just gotten under the bridge when the wind died. The boat stopped heeling and the mast hit the bridge.

Fortunately, some teammates from my brother's prep school sailing team were also sailing nearby, and they came over and helped us heel the boat over and get it out from under the bridge. We returned the boat to the sailing club with them none the wiser...


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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #88 of 615 Old 09-20-2007
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So many things to tell, so little disk space......

I could tell about the time we nearly sunk the boat dockside while filling the fresh water (forgot to put the cap on the tank), or about the time that we nearly rammed a buoy immediately after telling our guests how much experience that we (I) have, or about the time that we lost an anchor off the Salem Nuclear plant, or the time that I grounded my father's boat, hit a buoy, and nearly another during a single sail, but I'll tell THIS story instead.....

We arrive at Smith Island, MD and there is a 2-3kt current in the very narrow (75'?) channel. We make a pass to check out the public pier and do a 180 deg turn to go back and tie up. The boat gets caught in the current and we're going sideways down the channel, so I gun the engine to kick the bow around before we plant ourselves in a marsh. The bow comes around and we're now on our reciprocal course when I see a small marina immediately to port. I forget about the current and make a 90 deg turn to the dock. We get caught in the current again and are now up to full speed because I forgot to take the engine out of full forward. The dock is now getting REALLY BIG, REALLY FAST. I cut the engine..... and stall it. My poor wife on the bow is now looking at me like I'm a madman as we head for the dock. Just before we make contact, I fly the length of the boat, over the bow pulpit, an onto the dock to fend off. The rest of the boat is in the current and the stern is swiveling toward ..... a Hinckley...... I hold on for all I'm worth and pivot the bow on a piling and she finally stops. No damage, but a REALLY humbled skipper.

I told the marina owner (who's also a waterman) what happened before someone else told him. His reply was that if you didn't do something like that from time to time, then you didn't spend very much time on the water.

My wife and I now talk out maneuvers in advance, and stick to the plan.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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post #89 of 615 Old 09-21-2007
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I hit the Chesapeake Bay Bridge!Tried to take an 85 ft mast under a 80 ft section of the bridge; was going slow and bounced off. Bent one section of the roller furler extrusion and streched the forestay. Only 1k for repair but my wife won't let me forget it.
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post #90 of 615 Old 09-21-2007 Thread Starter
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Keep em coming folks.
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