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post #1 of 27 Old 02-27-2020 Thread Starter
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Tell a memorable story from your sailing

For sure all you salts who have been sailing some time have some great and memorable stories to tell... strange happenings or coincidences. She all have great "perfect sails" or seen amazing sunsets... That is not what I would like this thread to be about. Rather I would like to here unique and memorable experience(s) you've had with your boat. I have had several. Here's one.

I was returning from the Caribe and was waiting in St Georges Bermuda for a weather window to complete the second and final leg of the journey to LIS. As is the requirement I stopped at the Customs Dock, retrieved my flares and so on, picked up the last weather report and headed out the cut. As I did I hailed Bermuda Harbor Radio to clear out.. the final requirement to depart Bermuda. BHR came back and said Shiva had already cleared out! No I had not... I was out bound for LIS. BHR... sorry captain... mistake is mine... the boat just left was Shiva and bound for Boston!

I never actually saw the boat.... until about 10 years later when I decided to moor for the season in Northport Harbor. As I motored south down the channel to the town dock I surveyed the many boats anchored there. Very crowded harbor. I came up past the town dock and did a 180 to pull along side and tie up. The boat in front of Shiva.... was Shiva... a dark blue C&C35 homeport Marblehead MA. Finally caught up to my name sake! Turns out Shiva was bought and moved down to the NPT where the owner lived... and very lovely people too!

Can't make this stuff up!
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-27-2020
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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

THE MAN WITH TWO BOOMS:

When I was a kid, I had an Uncle who was not a particularly timid man, but was nervous about sailing and particularly feared collisions at sea. He only sailed with us once on a windy day marked by particularly close calls. The first was an old steel powerboat that stayed firmly locked onto a collision course with us until a man dove out of the cabin, grabbed the wheel from the petrified woman at the helm, spun the wheel, so that the powerboat veered sharply and passed close astern of us.

Later that day, spying a large black schooner off in the distance, my uncle said, “That boat is going to hit us.” Dad explained that it always looks like that at a distance. As this big boat loomed closer, she turned out to be the then-brand-new replica of the yacht ‘America’, and she was ‘hunting’ us. As we passed a couple dozen yards apart, it turned out that they were filming a documentary, and had people onboard waving madly with a camera crew recording when the people they passed waved back.

At the end of the day, having returned safely to the mooring, as we were lounging in the cockpit and my uncle was just starting to calm down, an Ensign was beating through the mooring field in the normal way that she would to pick up her mooring. The Ensign tacked very close astern of us and then rammed a neighboring boat with a rig rattling crash. My uncle’s fears were realized.

A few weeks later, I told this story to an acquaintance on the yacht club launch. He knew the boat and had heard about the incident. In a reassuring way he said, “You won’t have to worry about him for the rest of the season. They took his boom.”

As this acquaintance explained, the collision we witnessed was one of several. The owner was a brand new sailor who had been through a short course on sailing, bought an Ensign, and started racing. In his first few outings, he’d hit several boats going to the starting line and then hit the boat in the mooring field. Members of the fleet decided that they needed to do something and so they stole his boom. When I saw my Dad, I told him the story.

This was not as cruel as it sounds. From then on, members of the club made a point of inviting him out sailing with them. Whenever possible they coached him on boat handling and sail trim, and offered him a chance to steer on the way to and from the race course.

A few years later, my Dad was watch captain on a night race. During the evening, as the boat ghosted in the light breezes, his watch mates chatted, each recounting their sailing experiences. One of the crew said he had an Ensign with two booms.

When asked why he had two booms, the fellow explained, “It’s an odd thing. Someone stole my boom. I filed an insurance claim and ordered a new boom. It took months to get, but at the end of the season, a few weeks after the new boom arrived, the folks who stole my original boom returned it. The insurance company didn’t want either of the booms, so I now have two booms.”

Dad of course realized who he was sailing with. When he later told me the story he said he was relieved to have a dark night so that the man with two booms could not see the expression on Dad’s face.


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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

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post #3 of 27 Old 02-27-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

two booms are better than one! Funny story...

++++

Now here's another.

Here's another one for the memories hall of fame.

It was a quiet Sunday morning in English Harbor. Shiva was anchored in Freeman Bay and I decided to take the dink to the market to get some groceries.
On my way back I stopped at the Dockyard to find Mavis who did my laundry. As I returned to my dink there was a little girl... perhaps 8 or 9 yrs old standing there doing nothing. I wondered... where are her parents???

I went up to the girl and asked her where her parents were...perhaps asleep on a boat tied stern to in the Dockyard I thought. No... she told me her mother was aboard Ghost Boat (their boat) anchored close by near the mangroves and was feeding her newly born bother. Apparently her mother had dinked her to shore to "play" and returned to feed the baby.. Odd I thought. I asked her if she wanted to go back to her boat and she said yes and so I went to the Galley bar and hailed Ghost Boat on the VHF, Her mother came up and I asked her if she was OK with me dinking her daughter back to Ghost Boat. She agreed. I suppose boat people are very trusting. At least she was.

On the way back to her boat I asked her if she would like to play with my kittens. I had two little ones on board. If she did... her mother could dink her to Shiva and she could play with them whenever.

One day Vickie her mom hailed me on the VHF to take me up on the play date offer and in 15 minutes young Faraday was aboard and playing with Dr. Would and Sideshow. Then I set he up with paper and colored pencils to do some drawing. She made a wonderful drawing I have framed and it's been with me ever since.

I went on to meet her dad and we spent time together and I helped him sail Ghost Boat, a Valiant 40 to Wrightsville beach where he picked up Ghost Boat II, a Stevens 50 which he still owns today.

I returned to the States and sailed locally and one day in Newport I saw Ghost Boat II anchored off a few hundred feet away. I dinked over to catch up with Rick. He told me that Faraday had become an incredible skier and sailor... a big boat racer and skipper and had done trans Atlantic delivery of Swans and if I remember correctly skipper of White Hawk! WOWSER! That little girl accomplished a lot in 15 or so years!

A few months ago I came across an article on the www which mentioned Faraday as being key member of one of the Sydney Hobart yachts: Wild Oats X with an all female crew. They came in 2nd.

I decided to reach out to Faraday on social media. She was now married and mother of 2 little boys, teaching yoga and living in Australia. When she replied I asked her if she remembered making the drawing back when she was a little girl in English Harbor. I mentioned I still had the drawing and would send her a reproduction to show to her boys who are now learning sailing. She told me Rick is living on Ghost Boat II in Columbia!

Faraday sure turned out to be one amazing human being.

Faraday's Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/just_livin_fbr/

Here's her wonderful drawing.
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-27-2020
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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

Many years ago, we left Cape Cod rounding Monomoy and headed east for Yarmouth NS. I had done the pre-work with Canadian Customs and got a CANPASS that allows for easy entry.

We like wine. We had a couple of cases aboard. We had a bigger boat at the time, 52'. We were fully prepared to pay whatever duty was required. Like I said, we like our wine.

After a totally uneventful passage, we arrived about 10 miles outside of Yarmouth and could clearly see the land. It was near dusk. Then the land disappeared and the fog came in thick. Having spent a lot of time cruising Maine, this was not particularly unexpected or worrisome. We headed in. Yarmouth is a bit of a serpentine entrance, we were tired, but we got in without issue, even with a tired crew and tied to a mooring.

The CANPASS protocol was to call customs on the phone. It was 2:30AM. Not sure if anyone would answer, I dial.

They pickup...humm Canadians work late. I'm talking to some guy in Ottawa. I give them my CANPASS credentials. "Do you have anything to declare?" Yes sir, 2 cases of wine. "Have you started to drink it yet?" Yes, as a matter of fact we have (I'm sure he could hear the banter of my crew mates). "How big is your boat?" 52 feet. "You'll need bar stock, welcome to Canada."

Canada's a great place to cruise.
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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

My most memorable sailing experience happened back in 1984. It was the very first time I spent the night on my own boat. I had owned the boat for about two months at that time. It was a San Juan 23. I was anchored in the Manatee River, just south of the mouth of Tampa Bay, with the woman who was to become my wife. The sailing that day was wonderful, and the night was magical. I most definitely will never forget it.
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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
My most memorable sailing experience happened back in 1984. It was the very first time I spent the night on my own boat. I had owned the boat for about two months at that time. It was a San Juan 23. I was anchored in the Manatee River, just south of the mouth of Tampa Bay, with the woman who was to become my wife. The sailing that day was wonderful, and the night was magical. I most definitely will never forget it.
hahahaha that happened to me a dozen times.... just kiddin' Great memory to have and to share!

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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

Ah! On the subject of first sails and girlfriends becoming first wives:
The first night sail on Diana

After graduating from college, I decided to save up some money and buy a boat to live aboard while I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So, I landed a couple minimum wage jobs, during the day working for trailerable boat dealer who with no sense of irony called themselves, Expressway Yachts, and at night valet parking cars. My weekdays were full of commissioning chopped glass wonders while my nights and weekends consisted of sprinting across hot Miami parking lots.

After a few months, I had put away enough to buy ‘Diana’, (named for Diane, my then girlfriend, soon to be first wife, and eventually to be my first ex-wife). 'Diana' was a near derelict 1949 Folkboat. I spent the next seven months replacing the rig, rudder, and keel bolts, sistering the frames, replacing floor timbers and a bit of planking, constructing a new cockpit and interior, replacing a piece of the stem and forward face of the cabin, plugging worm holes, wooding and painting the bottom, topsides and interior.

My yard bill was paid up through December 31st, and so I needed to get the old girl launched in time for the New Year. The yard closed down mid-day on Christmas Eve and would not open again until January 2 at which time I would owe for the next month's rent if 'Diana' was still on the hard. So it was that ‘Diana’ was splashed around noon on Christmas Eve. Typical of launching a wooden boat that had spent much time out of the water, as she was lowered on the marine elevator, she filled with water as fast as she was lowered until she sat submerged with her water line a few inches above her bootstripe.

Four hours later, with the flooding at a manageable rate, I bailed her out and floated her off her cradle. Even though the seams had mostly swelled closed, the theory with a wooden boat that has been out of the water for a period of time is that the planking must continue to swell for another week before you can stress the hull by going sailing. The yard let me tie up in the launch way for Christmas week but required her removed before the yard reopened.

That week, I slept on a slatted grate that I had made as a temporary cabin sole, my foot hanging into the bilge so that the rising water would wake me and let me know that it was time again to bail.

After a fast week, it was suddenly New Year’s Eve and 'Diana' needed to be moved. I had permission to tie up between an old oddly placed piling and the bulkhead at the edge of the yard. I figured as long she needed to be moved, I might as well go out for a first sail.

This was to be my first sail on the Folkboat, and my first sail as the skipper of my own keel boat, one of the first times that I had single-handed a boat this big, and one of the first times I sailed single-handed at night. I pushed off just as the sun was setting into a classic sky-on-fire Florida sunset, beating east toward the narrow pass at the southern end of Key Biscayne in a light ghosting breeze toward a rising blood red half moon on the ever darkening eastern horizon.

A Folkboat is a marvelous little boat that can sail herself seemingly for days at a time. Inexplicably, I sat up on the cabin top, steering with the jib sheet in hand; bearing off by tightening the sheet and heading up with an ease.

‘Diana’ was devoid of anything modern. She did not have an engine, an electrical system or running lights. Being a few inches less than 25 feet on deck, I simply carried the required flashlight to shine on the sails. She had no lifelines or stanchions. Navigation was piloting with a folded small craft chart and a tiny compass that was more at home on a car dashboard than the cockpit of a boat. She had no radio and GPS was decades from being invented.

If you have spent time single-handing after dark, you know those emotions borne of being alone at night at sea; the profound sense of being more alone than you have ever been in your life, the sense of tranquility, of speed beyond that felt in the light of day, of self-reliance and of fear that it is only you who can make the right or wrong decision out there, and only you who pays the consequences if the call proves wrong. The overhead carpet of unimaginably distant stars made me feel even more infinitesimally small, and insignificant.

After hours in the chill breezes, I reached the mouth of the narrow, unmarked, coral-bordered channel into the Atlantic. Resisting temptation, I turned back for home on a broad reach in a building breeze.

The trip back into the lights of Dinner Key is lost to memory but when I arrived at the harbor, it suddenly occurred to me that I had never brought a boat this big into a dock alone under sail. I sailed back out into the mooring area and practiced a couple approaches to the piling.

Youth is an amazing thing that brings a confidence that can only be had when you don’t know the consequences of making a really big mistake. Seen through the rose colored optimism of youth, it made complete sense to me to steer into the dock controlling the direction of the boat with the jibsheet while sitting on the foredeck. I figured that if missed the piling I would fetch up on sand bar just ahead of the piling.

In youthful confidence I came roaring in on a beam reach, sitting on the foredeck, jib sheet in hand. At the moment of truth, I freed the jib sheet and Diana pirouetted gracefully up into the wind. I grabbed the clew of the jib and moving it from side to side, steering and slowing the boat. Coming to a dead stop right next to the piling. Polite as you may I threw a bight of a dockline over the piling.

And there I stood, dockline in hand, congratulating myself on a job well done, cold and numb, a toothy grin across my face, scanning the docks for some witness to my brilliant feat of seamanship. No good deed of seamanship goes unpunished and in my moment of self-congratulatory elation, nature took its turn by hitting ‘Diana’ with a gust from the opposite side of the jib from where I stood perched on the narrow foredeck, and shoved me hard towards the rail. As I went over the side, I dove for the shrouds, grabbing the lower shroud with my forearm, slicing it deeply on the Nicropress fitting that should have been taped for just such an occasion, and dropped feet first into the cool December waters of Biscayne Bay, but still keeping my grip on the boat.

As I hung over the side, legs in the water, I tried to decide whether to let go and fall backwards into the water, or pull myself aboard. Remembering a paycheck in my wallet, I pulled myself over the rail and back aboard.

My scream as I went over the side had drawn a crowd from the boats tied up nearby, an unwanted audience who arrived just as I pulled myself back aboard. As I lay there on the foredeck, winded and bleeding, soaked and shivering, the air suddenly filled with the sound of fireworks and firecrackers bursting in the distant darkness and a chorus of Auld Lang Sine from the drunks in the local juke joint wafted out to tell me that I had just entered into the brand New Year of 1974.


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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

Brilliant and well written... He can sail and he can write! Thank you Jeff!

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Re: Tell a memorable story from your sailing

My father and I, (all of 13) were dropped off in Atlantic City by mom. Plan was to bring Friar Tuck home to Rye. Boat was a '29 Alden Schooner Design #270. After messing around for 2 hours trying to start the Lincoln Marine engine, Dad gave up and yelled "lets go". It was about 5 pm as we sailed off the dock. Once we were out side, Dad exclaimed, "going to go below and take a nap. Hold this course". 'Round midnight I realized dad was hard asleep or dead. At day break Dad popped his head up. How we doin'? Me, "WELL THERE'S THE F-CKING STATUE OF LIBERTY SO I GUESS WERE OK!!!!! " Ya see, he liked scotch a lot.

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2015 Around Long Island Regatta

Hey,

Here is my story:,my experience on the 2015 Around Long Island Regatta (ALIR) on R JMS, a 1986 C&C 35.

In 2015 the ALIR started off Breezy Point, near Coney Island (now it starts in NY Harbor). We had 5 guys on board. I'll use initials: RS (boat owner), ED, BS, DR, and me. RS, ED, DR were all very experienced racers. Back then I had lots of 'beer can' racing experience, but only 1 ALIR under my belt.

THURSDAY 1300
Depart Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club and and head to start area. Weather: Warm, hazy, wind S 12. Forecast: T Storms at night, Windy. Our start is at 1520

The trip to the start (2-3nm) was windy and rough. We motor S into steep waves. BS is seasick. We get to start area early. Hoist main. Too much wind. Reef main, hoist #3 headsail. [In hindsight we should have raised the main much earlier, as the ride with it was more comfortable and the crewman probably would not have been seasick].

Start: Very windy, SSW 20-25. We have a very fast trip east. Boat is at 8+ kts for long stretches. Very wet ride. I am soaked [I was too inexperienced to have put on my foulies before the start and too busy to put them on after the start].

Rain 1 hour after start. Very heavy. Foulies on (too late). Bad visibility, dark skies. Little Lightning.

1730 Wind down to 15-20. Set heavy chute, drop #3. Boat is VERY fast. Big following seas. We surf at 10+ kts. See top speed of over 13.

Sunset: Wind continues to build. We douse heavy chute and hoist #2 headsail. Difficult to steer.

2200 I am on helm. I do my best. No visibility. No reference points. Steer by compass. Quite a workout. Following seas lift stern, boat wants to pivot into the wind. Need to force the bow down. Then steer back up as you surf down the wave.

FRIDAY 0100: I go off watch until 0500. Head below and try to sleep

0500 back on watch. Light wind, fog. Light air spinnaker is up. Lots of wet sails on deck.

1040 We round Montauk point. Close beat up to Orient Point. Beautiful day. Sunny, dry, warm. Everything dies out nicely.

1630 Round Orient Point and back in the Long Island Sound.

1700 In Long Island Sound (LIS) . Flood begins but we still have foul current. Wind W 10-15 and building. We sail NW toward Connecticut. Strong foul current so we tack SW towards Long Island. Get close to shore and tack NW again.

1800 Wind up to 20+. Switch to #2. Wind up more. Reef main. Crew is tired but we continue to tack our way west. Why not just sail NW until we reach CT and THEN tack SW? I do what I'm told. We see boats ahead and behind. We think we are doing well but can't tell. Beautiful day. Seas calm, ride is great. Boat goes fast.

Wind clocks SW and we can steer on the rhumbline. Yeah, no more tacking.

1900 Wind drops. Reef shaken out. Wind down more. Raise #1. Hot pasta for dinner. We did this last year and a hot meal raises your spirits. But pasta without wine is not civilized. I smuggle a bottle of Merlot on-board (dry boat when racing). I go below and get it. RS is surprised but allows it (a 750 ml bottle doesn't go far for 5 guys) and we all have some wine with dinner. I get passed a plate and I eat on the rail. Life is good!

2030 Sun down. Moon up. ED drives. I am on watch. Nice night,

2200 I steer. Boat is fantastic. Speed 6 kts. Right on layline. Easy motion. Moon provides enough light to steer by. I am tucked in on the low side. I barely have to touch the wheel. My watch goes by very quickly. At the end I don't want to leave the wheel. Sailing does not get any better than this!

SATURDAY
0100: I go off watch. RS on watch and steers. I fill him on on conditions then go below. It's cold and I sleep in my foul weather gear.

0500 back on watch. Wind light but never dies. We have to tack N, then back to S then back on course.

0700 I steer for an hour. Getting close to finish. Should be less than 2 hours.

0800 DR steers. Nothing to do now but keep the boat moving.

0830 RS steers as we cross the finish line. We know we did well but don't have results.

The crew springs into action. We take down sails, clean up boat. The boat owner and 2 crew are taking the boat back to Port Jeff. Another crew and I are getting off now and getting a ride home. We clean up, pack up and jump on the launch to the See Cliff Yacht Club.

Inside the club we head over to the scoring table to get the results: After racing over 190 miles, we won our class by 41 seconds! We came in first in class (spinnaker, division 4), and 6th in the fleet (over 60 boats).

That's why we worked so hard, short tacking in the Long Island Sound instead of sailing into foul current towards CT. That's why we did so many sail changes, hiked out in the rain, dragged sail on deck and below. We worked hard, as a team, and were rewarded for it.

In case anyone is interested, I created a short video of my experience and it's available here:


Barry
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