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Old 08-11-2008, 19:00   #1
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Location: Sausalito, CA
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Sinking my motor boat dockside

I have a sailboat moored of Sausalito and I was getting tired of rowing to it.. so I bought an older 19ft Century motor boat to go to it, and to motor around the Bay. I don't know anything about motor boats, I just bought a cheap one, had the hoses checked and replaced, the air in the trailer tires filled.. and off I went to Sausalito to the motor boat ramp.

I lower the trailer on the water, release the boat, tie it at the dock and then go off to park the car and trailer.

When I come back the boat is flooding with water. I scratch my head and think: is that normal?. I get on the boat and flick the bilge pump on, get off the boat and look at the water.. now at the floorboards, about the bottom 1/3 of the engine s under water. I expect the water to drain off. I look some more and it seems that the water inside the boat is still rising. I suddenly realize: The boat is sinking!

I rush to the parking lot, get in the truck drive back to the ramp and cursing try to back up into it, unsuccessfully. I try to calm down.. after a few more tries I manage to get the trailer in position, I get in the water up to my knees, get the boat aligned (now sitting a little lower on its waterline) and get the winch strap attached to the boat and pull it into the trailer.

About this time a fisherman's boat had arrived on the ramp next to mine and one of them was looking at my troubles with amusement.
What happened? did you forget to put in the plug? he asked.

Plug? what plug? I said.

He and the other fisherman looked at each other and then both bursted laughing. 'Just pull the boat out out the water and I'll show you'.

Well.. it took about 15 minutes to drain the water from inside my boat.. and about 5 minutes to walk to the nearby bait store and buy a plug.

Those were my 15 minutes of shame.. which I hope never get repeated.

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Old 08-11-2008, 19:45   #2
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You're a big man to post that, everyone should be able to laugh at themselves. That's one of those things that fall into the category of "when" not "if", everyone does it sooner or later.

John Davidson
S/V Laurie Anne
1988 40' Brewer Pilothouse
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Old 08-11-2008, 19:51   #3
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Originally Posted by andrejsv View Post

Those were my 15 minutes of shame.. which I hope never get repeated.
If you plan on being a boat owner for a long time don't count on that being your last shameful mistake.

If you are lucky your mistakes will only cost money.

When you can't back off the trailer no matter how high you rev the engine then discover you left the bow hook on let us know.
If your wife happens to be in the tow vehicle and you keep yelling for her to back the trailer farther into the pictures.
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Old 08-11-2008, 21:23   #4
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That is one of the most common mistakes we see at the local ramp when salmon season starts. You should see the panicked fishermen trying desperately to put the plug in while the boat is in the water Live and learn. Sounds like a mistake you will not soon repeat.
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Old 08-11-2008, 22:17   #5
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There was a time when I launched a new to me Cat -27 with an speedo out of the hull. Its much more embarrassing to have your children tell you the cabin is filling with water...
I went down in the two foot deep water and put my hand over the hole till we found the plug. I don't know why we were doing this at 9 pm at night either...but I learned alot that night groping around in the pitch blackness looking for the speedo sender. Thanks for reviving the memory.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:36   #6
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Going down to the boat ramp and watching people in various states of intoxiication launch and retrieve boats is truly one of life's simple and free pleasures!!!
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:20   #7
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Veerrry similar experience, but no so dramatic.

Rigged my sister-in-law's Laser II for the first sail of the season a few years back. (I was the only one who ever really sailed it, so it sat unused a lot of the time.)

It was on a trailer pulled up a shelf of rock next to their cottage. I ran the trailer into the water, paddled the boat over to the dock, bent on the sails, and went for a test drive.

After a while I noted that -- despite a pretty good breeze -- the thing was sailing very slowly. So -- still not thinking anything was wrong, just booooring -- I sailed her back, took off the sails and rudder, put her back on the trailer and tried to heave her up out of the water.

No luck. Could NOT get her up on the rock. Finally, my brother in-law and I and (if memory serves, my son and his) got her out of the water.

And then I noticed the water pouring out of the stern, where my sister-in-law had taken the plug out the year before (and lost it, it subsequently turned out -- we sailed her for the next couple of years with a wine cork stuck in the hole.)

I felt pretty dumb.

But I can vouch for the fact that a Laser II is unskinable.

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Old 09-11-2008, 15:27   #8
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Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
You're a big man to post that, everyone should be able to laugh at themselves. That's one of those things that fall into the category of "when" not "if", everyone does it sooner or later.
I could not agree more...Good-on-ya for having the self confidance to post that...I could not have..and have more then one skeleton in my closet I aint sharing...
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Old 09-11-2008, 16:14   #9
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I will share my Rainbow Rudder story sometime.
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:22   #10
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These are the kind of things in life that keep us human, and at times HUMBLE!

SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
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