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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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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BIANKA was docked at Chelsea Piers just up the river from the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th 2001. I was not supposed to be there that morning. I had planned to start a two to three week cruise out toward Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket the day before. But, I had trouble getting access to the Internet to take care of some business. The weather report also called for severe thunderstorms on Monday afternoon ahead of a cold front that would be coming through. So I decided to postpone my departure to the next day Tuesday September 11th. Between the storms and Internet issue I thought well what's the hurry.

On the morning of September 11th there was a beautiful clear sky and nice a crisp wind from the northwest that would be perfect for heading down Long Island Sound. I had about a half hour before departure. I was down below in the cabin stowing a few last minute items when I heard the first plane fly overhead. I had heard planes flying down the Hudson River on occasion but, I thought to myself that plane sounded awfully close. Just as I thought that I felt the impact of the plane as it hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The whole boat shook followed closely by the sound of the explosion. I poked my head up out of the hatch and could see a black mushroom cloud flowing up the side of the north tower.

I jumped into the dingy and started to bail it out previous nights rain. While I was doing that the second plane hit and again I felt the vibration of the impact. I rowed out into the Hudson River with my video camera and began taking video and listening to the local news station on the radio I took out with me. All the photos here are screen shots from the video tape I took.

It was a strange feeling being out alone on the river watching the scene. One felt very helpless. The current was trying to push me down the river and I had only the oars to keep me in place. Something told me to make sure I did not drift down toward the towers so I rowed and rowed against the current that was supposed to carry BIANKA and I down toward the Battery for the start of our cruise. I kept rowing and video taping until I heard the reporter on the radio scream: "Oh my God, oh my God the tower is coming down":

I could not see the south tower from my vantage point as the North Tower blocked it. But, I could hear the rumble and see the dust cloud start to expand around lower Manhattan. It made the North Tower look like it was a rocket about to take off:

I kept rowing against the current which was getting stronger but, I could not keep my eyes off what was happening just down the river. I kept rowing and then at some point I heard another rumble and the sound of twisting metal and watched in horror as the North Tower collapsed. With the TV antenna perched on top it seem to come down slowly like a candle slowly burning down. It only took a few seconds but it seemed like a long time until all that was left of the World Trade Center was a huge dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan and soon spread out into the harbor:

I suddenly started to feel the ache in my arms from all the rowing I did. I headed back into the marina and just stared at the river for most of the afternoon. New York Harbor was closed down to all traffic and that night was very surreal as I sat on the bow looking at the river. It was silent and calm as not a single Tug or any other boat was out on the river. I never did get out on that cruise. When BIANKA and I finally left Manhattan in early October I lost that dingy too in a gale heading down Long Island Sound. Considering what others had lost on September 11th I consider myself very lucky.
https://biankablog.blogspot.com/2014/09/september-911.html
 

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BIANKA was docked at Chelsea Piers just up the river from the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th 2001. I was not supposed to be there that morning. I had planned to start a two to three week cruise out toward Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket the day before. But, I had trouble getting access to the Internet to take care of some business. The weather report also called for severe thunderstorms on Monday afternoon ahead of a cold front that would be coming through. So I decided to postpone my departure to the next day Tuesday September 11th. Between the storms and Internet issue I thought well what's the hurry.

On the morning of September 11th there was a beautiful clear sky and nice a crisp wind from the northwest that would be perfect for heading down Long Island Sound. I had about a half hour before departure. I was down below in the cabin stowing a few last minute items when I heard the first plane fly overhead. I had heard planes flying down the Hudson River on occasion but, I thought to myself that plane sounded awfully close. Just as I thought that I felt the impact of the plane as it hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The whole boat shook followed closely by the sound of the explosion. I poked my head up out of the hatch and could see a black mushroom cloud flowing up the side of the north tower.

I jumped into the dingy and started to bail it out previous nights rain. While I was doing that the second plane hit and again I felt the vibration of the impact. I rowed out into the Hudson River with my video camera and began taking video and listening to the local news station on the radio I took out with me. All the photos here are screen shots from the video tape I took.

It was a strange feeling being out alone on the river watching the scene. One felt very helpless. The current was trying to push me down the river and I had only the oars to keep me in place. Something told me to make sure I did not drift down toward the towers so I rowed and rowed against the current that was supposed to carry BIANKA and I down toward the Battery for the start of our cruise. I kept rowing and video taping until I heard the reporter on the radio scream: "Oh my God, oh my God the tower is coming down":

I could not see the south tower from my vantage point as the North Tower blocked it. But, I could hear the rumble and see the dust cloud start to expand around lower Manhattan. It made the North Tower look like it was a rocket about to take off:

I kept rowing against the current which was getting stronger but, I could not keep my eyes off what was happening just down the river. I kept rowing and then at some point I heard another rumble and the sound of twisting metal and watched in horror as the North Tower collapsed. With the TV antenna perched on top it seem to come down slowly like a candle slowly burning down. It only took a few seconds but it seemed like a long time until all that was left of the World Trade Center was a huge dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan and soon spread out into the harbor:

I suddenly started to feel the ache in my arms from all the rowing I did. I headed back into the marina and just stared at the river for most of the afternoon. New York Harbor was closed down to all traffic and that night was very surreal as I sat on the bow looking at the river. It was silent and calm as not a single Tug or any other boat was out on the river. I never did get out on that cruise. When BIANKA and I finally left Manhattan in early October I lost that dingy too in a gale heading down Long Island Sound. Considering what others had lost on September 11th I consider myself very lucky.
https://biankablog.blogspot.com/2014/09/september-911.html
Wow! and double wow! That certainly beats anything that I could post.

Jeff
 

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BIANKA was docked at Chelsea Piers just up the river from the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th 2001. I was not supposed to be there that morning. I had planned to start a two to three week cruise out toward Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket the day before. But, I had trouble getting access to the Internet to take care of some business. The weather report also called for severe thunderstorms on Monday afternoon ahead of a cold front that would be coming through. So I decided to postpone my departure to the next day Tuesday September 11th. Between the storms and Internet issue I thought well what's the hurry.

On the morning of September 11th there was a beautiful clear sky and nice a crisp wind from the northwest that would be perfect for heading down Long Island Sound. I had about a half hour before departure. I was down below in the cabin stowing a few last minute items when I heard the first plane fly overhead. I had heard planes flying down the Hudson River on occasion but, I thought to myself that plane sounded awfully close. Just as I thought that I felt the impact of the plane as it hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The whole boat shook followed closely by the sound of the explosion. I poked my head up out of the hatch and could see a black mushroom cloud flowing up the side of the north tower.

I jumped into the dingy and started to bail it out previous nights rain. While I was doing that the second plane hit and again I felt the vibration of the impact. I rowed out into the Hudson River with my video camera and began taking video and listening to the local news station on the radio I took out with me. All the photos here are screen shots from the video tape I took.

It was a strange feeling being out alone on the river watching the scene. One felt very helpless. The current was trying to push me down the river and I had only the oars to keep me in place. Something told me to make sure I did not drift down toward the towers so I rowed and rowed against the current that was supposed to carry BIANKA and I down toward the Battery for the start of our cruise. I kept rowing and video taping until I heard the reporter on the radio scream: "Oh my God, oh my God the tower is coming down":

I could not see the south tower from my vantage point as the North Tower blocked it. But, I could hear the rumble and see the dust cloud start to expand around lower Manhattan. It made the North Tower look like it was a rocket about to take off:

I kept rowing against the current which was getting stronger but, I could not keep my eyes off what was happening just down the river. I kept rowing and then at some point I heard another rumble and the sound of twisting metal and watched in horror as the North Tower collapsed. With the TV antenna perched on top it seem to come down slowly like a candle slowly burning down. It only took a few seconds but it seemed like a long time until all that was left of the World Trade Center was a huge dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan and soon spread out into the harbor:

I suddenly started to feel the ache in my arms from all the rowing I did. I headed back into the marina and just stared at the river for most of the afternoon. New York Harbor was closed down to all traffic and that night was very surreal as I sat on the bow looking at the river. It was silent and calm as not a single Tug or any other boat was out on the river. I never did get out on that cruise. When BIANKA and I finally left Manhattan in early October I lost that dingy too in a gale heading down Long Island Sound. Considering what others had lost on September 11th I consider myself very lucky.
https://biankablog.blogspot.com/2014/09/september-911.html
Well told. Too well told, but it had to be said. Thanks and raise a glass.
 

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Thanks it was an unforgettable day. Being on the boat on the river was therapeutic considering what was going on just beyond the docks.
Great impactful story. I visited the WT site 1 month later and left with tears streaming down my face.
 

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Somewhat related

As many of you know I worked on Capitol Hill and in charge of organizing and feeding the House, Senate of the United States . This includes multi units each with over $4 million in revenue in all the major office buildings, private dining rooms of the Senators and Representatives and the catering which goes along with all these endeavors. I’ve had a front row seat to the Shenanigans for 10 years. With masters in poly s I and psychology it’s been quite an eye opener. Even recognizing that we are lucky to have the political system we have compared to others, the openness of it is exhausting. Since social media has taken over it has brought a cosmic negative shift to working there. While security was always number one it is no where what it is today. That was changed by 9/11. This is a prelude to my story

The morning of 9/11 a beautiful Sept day started nonchalantly. I parked as I do under the US Capitol Building as was greeted by the Capitol Police and the search dog as I had every day. I walked to my office which was down the hall from the Speaker of the House office at 6 AM and saw minimal people. I took the first hour to answer e mails and call the managers of the various units looking at staffing levels and their daily plans. At 7 we meet together ( 8 senior managers) for 15 minutes followed by the extensive catering meeting for the day. Normal days have over 50 events. It’s is o,porta this to go through each in detail as it entails a Senator/ Congressman and a powerful lobbying group paying for it ( congressman can’t by govt rules). Each function is a VVIP to them.

That concluded at 8 . I started visiting various units close by , the timeline may be off a little. At 8:30 as I walked by one of the inspection stations , the Capitol Police were in a buzz about a couple of Hijackings in the NY / Boston area. At 8:45 or so as I was in the private dining room of the Senate the TV showed the first plane flying into the WTC. I was standing with a number of Senators and their staff and their reaction was one of disbelief.
They all had cell phones going off. The police started their emergency procedures of whisking them to a safe spot in the building along with their staff, my staff. Then the second plane hit the WTC and everything moved in hyperdrive. Tourist were used out of the buildings at gunpoint. All Badged employees taken to safe areas.

There were rumors that a DC plane had been hijacked. My safe area with many cCongresspeople was in one of the courtyards open to the sky. I noticed that the Anti missals were out. We were surrounded by heavily armed military with arm held missiles and heavy weapons. There were milieu jets and helicopters streaking through the sky. At 9:35 there was a large explosion as flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon about 5 miles away. The fire and smoke were obvious. People were not panicked but were very visibly upset. We were all wisked away to begin evacuating the Capitol . There was a rumor of a fourth hijacked plane....and that it may be headed at the Capitol.
Congressman were removed immediately to their safe spots in the country. The rest of us were herded outside the Capitol grounds but kept together and vetted by the FBI .

The fire was still burning across the River. I was taken to my car had to stand as they meticulously searched it.
I was then instructed to leave DC which I did. At street level their was pandemonium as all federal buildings had been evacuated. All major hiways were turned to lead out of DC. The smell of the burninG Pentagon wa in the air.
I was very frightened as no one knew the extent of the attacks and if / when / where they would continue.

I decided to he’d for Haleakula ( I was not married yet) but informed my girlfriend ( now my wife ) to leave and meet me there. As a nurse she balked but wasn’t working that day and eventually did meet me there.

There are many details I have left out. I didn’t return to DC for 4 days as we were not permitted in the building.
I tragically lost two college friends in Tower 2. I had a few friends in the Pentagon who were safe. I will never forget the feelings I had that day and the fear on everyone’s faces and in their conversations.

As Americans we always felt somewhat safe from attacks but that ended that day. We in fact were the target .

Security in DC and at all federal buildings changed drastically. Hiring processes changed dramatically. While not quite as dramatic as mbianas story, I felt in the middle of the event which happened that day.

The military and police worked very well where I was despite finding out later they had no real information .
Things are much better coordinated now between differing departments.

The Capitol still has daily threats. Most are never publicized but those who work there know of them.
From a plane to close to the airspace mobilizing the F35 to the people stopped circling the Capitol perimeter with cars full of guns and explosive. They never stop.

While a very interesting place to work because of its history and national treasures, I am glad I have given up that area of responsibility for a different one closer to home. I no longer feel threatened when I go to work everyday. I no longer have to look at e dry guest as a potential threat or person of interest.
 

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I now live in Philly, but as a native NYer growing up just outside NYC these Sept 11 stories really bring me back. I was in college at the time in the Air Force ROTC program and was told of the attacks by our colonel. Many people I grew up with were deeply impacted by loss, I was lucky not to lose a close friend or loved one directly on 9/11, I know many that were not so lucky. That said, I would like to share a story of happier times.

Several years ago, my brother asked me to help deliver an older Catalina 30 from the South Shore of Long Island NY to Cape May NJ. An easy enough shot down the coast, no problem except that he was very firm on the dates and wanted to do it a week before I was supposed to get married. I spoke to my soon to be wife who had no experience with sailing prior to meeting me, and much to my surprise she was fully supportive and on board with the plan. Securing her blessing I set about preparing for this delivery and recruited another friend I race with to join us. The day comes and I board the train from Philly to NY to meet my friend and brother to finish prepping the boat with plans to get underway at daybreak the next morning after storms move out and we can catch the tide out of Jones Inlet. When he meets me at the station, he tells me we are going to our parents’ house instead of the marina to take care of a few things, no biggie, I grew up on the water as part of a large family. Stuff always comes up. Always.

At my parents place I immediately notice that a few things were off. Surprise! The first surprise of many is that my fiancé is there, and she is videotaping me, the next is that there are two sailboats tied up out back. One sailboat is my brothers the other I assume is the one we are delivering. But the surprise is on me, it is a wedding present she is surprising me with! A Catalina 30! One can only dream to find someone as supportive as my partner, I am indeed a lucky man. She didn’t know anything about boats or sailing before meeting me. Her one requirement when we ever spoke of getting a boat of our own was that she wanted it to have a seat with a back so she could relax. She engaged my brother and dad to help find something we could enjoy together. Amazing! I love this women. I was so dense that it took me a solid half hour to realize that this boat we were about to deliver was mine, not just some random boat. It took a bit longer to realize all the responsibility that entailed. I was about to take a 40 year old boat, my boat, offshore for the first time knowing nothing at all about it. I didn’t sleep much that night between the excitement and the stress of it all. I trusted my Dad’s opinion on the engine as he is a marine mechanic, and my brother’s opinion on the condition of the boat and rigging. But I didn’t know all these things myself. When it is your boat, it’s different. I am someone that wants and needs to know all the issues, every through hull location, drip, chafe point, a whole myriad of issue to worry about when you own a boat.

We depart as planned the next morning to heavy wind and high but calming seas but that is a story for another time. The highlights of that trip include most important my wife learning to trust my ability and instinct as a sailor, also... almost everyone getting seasick, my wife questioning the wisdom of her purchase, blowing out the main, making an unplanned stop in Barnegat, getting caught in a blow in Delaware Bay with zero visibility and no radar, and having to cut free an anchor. It was the start of a fun adventure that continues to this day.

Two important things I learned through this, my wife is an incredible woman, and my family is very good at keeping a secret from me.
 

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That story reminds me of one of mine.

Friends of my parents were in Maine, and I was told that they had asked my parents to keep an eye on their sailboat - a 19’ Pearson Resolute daysailer - while they were away. That entailed bailing it out after a heavy rainstorm, and my father, who was getting older, asked us to give him a hand when he saw my wife and me down at the club. We all took the launch out to the boat, stuck the Thirstymate into the bilge and started pumping. We discussed the boat as the water level in the bilge dropped. Nothing like the family Soling that I’d sailed and raced for a dozen or so years, which had recently been sold. Huge cockpit. Comfy bench seats. Simple rig. Minimal maintenance. No spinnaker. Wide. Stubby. Outboard motor. Full keel. After about 100 pumps and switching hands a few times in the July sun the sweat started to bead on my forehead and I stopped for a rest. Happy Birthday, my father said. Just the boat for a young family!
 

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We were racing an Olson 911 in a moderately long distance race. Conditions were a bit sporty running in 20kts of wind in close quarters with the competition. The skipper was grumbling that the boat felt sluggish, indeed we were having troubles hanging with boats that we would normally pull away from in those conditions. The knot meter had started malfunctioning a bit earlier and was indicating 2-3 knots boatspeed, which of course was nowhere near how fast we were going. We had gone through a tide line full of flotsam and speculated that something must have fouled the impeller. We struggled to keep up with the fleet but one by one boats got past us. Everyone was a bit grumpy and someone decided we needed snacks, and went below to get them. I remember hearing him go down the companionway ....Thump thump SPLASH! "Uh....there is a LOT of water down here!" comes the voice from below! Sure enough, he was standing in shin deep water!
A couple of us jumped into action searching for the source of the water, starting with the through hulls. Sure enough, the knot meter had come out of the housing and there was a geyser coming through the hole! The knot meter was working...it was measuring speed that the water was entering the boat! Fortunately stopping the leak was a simple matter of putting the knot meter back into the housing and locking it down. (Our theory is that the transducer wasn't locked in and a direct hit by a piece of driftwood from the tideline was enough to pop it out of its housing).
By this time the wind had built a bit more, and we were back with the slow boats in out fleet. We were very heavy and had to get the water out of the boat. One guy got on the bilge pump (the boat did not have an automatic pump), and we dug a couple of buckets out of the locker and started a bucket brigade scooping water out of the cabin and hurling it over the side! What a spectacle we must have been, with the frantic pumping in the cockpit and buckets of water flying out of the companionway from below! Of course our tactician was still racing so once in a while we had to cease our dewatering and scramble to our positions for a gybe.
Slowly but surely the boat got lighter and faster and we started to pull ahead of the boats around us and gain on the lead boats. By the time we got to the downwind mark we had most of the water out of the boat and had clawed our way back into contention. Upwind was our strength so we made even more gains on that leg, and we ended up finishing 3rd.
That was probably the most hard fought 3rd place we ever had, and more satisfying than many first place finishes!
After that, checking the transducer became a pre-race ritual!

Sent from my SM-G960W using Tapatalk
 

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Names and locations omitted to protect the innocent and guilty.

A small island in the tropics.

We were on a crewed charter. We've only done crewed once. It was a special birthday and my wife wanted to get waited on. Well that didn't last, after a couple of days of getting drinks poured for us and meals cooked, we asked to join the crew in the galley, the captain in boat maintenance tasks, etc. I guess we learned that for us, sailing is the whole thing, not just pulling on the strings and turning the wheel. I'm not saying this was a bad experience, actually it was great, but more like a cruise with new friends than customer-vendor relationship.

After about a week, we anchored off a small island. By that time the captain knew I was an engineer, and I knew he was an entrepreneur on the island. He owned THE one and only grocery store. He was having trouble with a fridge. It had just been "delivered" from off island. It worked before they brought it there. Could I take a look?

Well, yea, I'm an electrical engineer, I did take the thermodynamics class but fixing a commercial fridge? If you know an engineer or better yet live with one, you know we can tell you how to do anything, but usually we can't actually do it. Fixing this thing was HIGHLY unlikely. Nevertheless, I found my self trudging up to the store in tow behind the captain holding a small multimeter from the boat.

When I got there, it wasn't what I expected. The "fridge" was the trailer from an 18 wheeler, permanently mounted onto the store so that the doors opened inside the store. It didn't look like a hack job, the carpentry was good and the building was well constructed. The cover was off the fridge unit. A big power cord (like shore power) went from the truck to the building. Also in attendance was the president and general manager of the island's power company, who additionally served as the only electrician on the island. This man was electricity, from generator to plug. A young guy, didn't seem pleased to see me, perhaps seeing me as a threat to his dominance of this domain.

I tried to set him at ease, and more importantly set the expectations low. I had no idea what to do. There was no noise or lights emanating from the fridge unit. There was only one possible failure I could fix. No way was this going to work! So I did the only thing I could do, the only thing I knew how to do. I unplugged the power cable from both ends, and checked continuity of all the leads. To my astonishment, one of the leads was open. I'm thinking, no way. I opened up the connector, reattached the lead, plugged everything in, and the fridge fired up.

By this time a small crowd had gathered. They let up a cheer. The CEO of the local power company got a look from the captain. He hung his head low. I tried to reassure him that it could happen to anybody.

That night, we went to one of the watering holes on the small island. I was a celebrity. Everyone knew who I was. I couldn't buy a drink, they just kept arriving. One islander said to me, there was a guy like you who lived here before that could fix things, and he never had to buy a meal or a drink. I was being recruited. It was tempting. Little did he know how lucky I was that the power cord was broken.

Once in a very great while, the thing you need to do, is the thing only you know how to do.

And know this, there's a remote island were if you're handy, you'll never need to buy a drink.
 
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