Regardless of our knowledge and abilities at what ever it is that we are doing, sometimes we are going to screw up. In sailing we hope that the screw up is not anywhere that it can be witnessed.
But we all know, when we pull off some fantastic feat of seaman ship no one is around, but mess up and the whole bloody marina will be entertained.
It is a great weekend after noon and I had to give a check out to one of our members on a Newport
30. He was pretty good, worked hard at his lessons, and loved sailing.
I stand off an easy distance and let him do all of the pre sailing checks and get the vessel totally ready to sail. I have a long list and write down points for each item.
He singled handed ( with me on board ) and departed the fairway under sail, no engine
. The check ride went perfect. Until I stuck my prize fighter nose into the mix. Oh, did I mention it was Happy Hour and most of the returning boat crews were well into their after sailing rums up at the Warehouse Restaurant outside bar, that overlooked our docks
He has the jib
down and cruising furled on the deck
away from the side that we are docking
on, fenders set, dock
lines led and ready. He has the main sheet run out and controlling our speed holding on the sheet with one hand smoothly letting it in and out to control our approach speed.
He is looking great, I am out of his way up forward of the mast
. he has a perfect approach. I open my big mouth and say, " Luff up the main, you have It made. "
He does and the boat slows, and slows and is just short of the end of the the finger slip.
" My Fault, I'll get off at the bow !. " ( Big NO-NO ...Never get off at the bow). So, I break one of my stead fast rules.
Oh, this is going to get really good.
I step over the bow pulpit, top sider toes barely on the prow, with the bow dock
line in one hand, the other wrapped around the head
We inch closer and closer. Ah-ha, I can step back on to the dock , while facing the boat and easily step off and haul the Newport
30 into the fairway. No worries.
As I step back, my foot reaching out for the dock, the front of my belt catches securely on the bow anchor
that is fastened to the bow pulpit.
Now, both of my feet are hanging in space, and the rest of me , arms , legs etc, are waving around as I am hanging from the bow by my belly button. Am I looking good or what ! Yep , very impressive.
The boat inches closer and closer as the member
brings in the main a bit
and we inch closer and closer. I have pulled myself up by the headstay and get free of the capturing anchor
Now I can reach my foot to the dock, and pull the boat in.
Securing the vessel to the dock, rousing good cheers, claps, whistles , and cat calls and boos came blasting from the whole fleet of the sailing club members who had already returned for the day and resorted to ruming on the outside sitting area of the Warehouse Bar.
How was I going to recover from this ? With a flourish I took a deep bow, the boos got louder, and told my student he had passed his check ride, and to meet me for rum
with the wild bunch up at the bar.
Lesson: I learned to keep my big mouth shut, and re-enforced one of my major rules...NEVER GET OFF THE BOAT AT THE BOW.
As far as I am aware, this is the only instance of a living breathing human hood
ornament flailing off the bow of a 30 foot sailing vessel in front of a bar full of sailing sots.