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Old 28-10-2013, 08:55   #1
Neo
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Location: Salem, MA
Boat: Pearson 31
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Still A Newbie?

Yes. Four years cruising and I'm still an amateur.

What I Did Wrong Yesterday:

1. Left the dock to grab a mooring in gale force winds (30-35knots)
2. Left the dock in a rush to catch the last water taxi
3. Left the dock with a very inexperience mate
4. Left the dock not wearing life jackets
5. Left the dock without a boat hook
6. Left the dock with my stern line trailing in the water
7. Left the dock just before sunset
8. Left the dock and subsequently changed course abruptly without alerting my mate at the bow (who was not wearing a life jacket)

What I did right:

1. I was born

I noticed and pulled in the dock line as the launch was approaching with our boat hook; my mate managed to hang on at the bow when the boat lurched; and we managed to grab the mooring ball on the second try.

Would I have thought to drop the anchor if the prop got wrapped? Don’t know.

Did I have flotation handy in the event my mate went over? Not unless you call the sail locker handy.

How did that line get in the water?

I entered the narrow causeway bow first when tying her up at the long dock (with the wind blowing hard on my beam). I had to use multiple dock lines to turn her around and re-tie her at the dock before exiting. I forgot about the stern line that was release from the dock during the process.

Why no boat hook?

End of season. Cleaning out boat. Poor communication.

I am not bowed or deterred, but I have to do better. I cannot believe that I am still doing so many things wrong when the pressure is on, and that I am still letting the pressure effect my decision making.

I have got to relax and slow things down. As soon as we left the dock I noticed that the boat hook was missing. That started my head spinning. Otherwise, I may have noticed the dock line. No, actually my head started spinning when I heard we had 30 minutes before the last water taxi. That is when I started to rush and forgot the dock line while turning the boat. The raw, cold wind and impending darkness didn't do much to calm my nerves either.

And it all seems so much worse now that I've put it in writing.
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Old 28-10-2013, 09:24   #2
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Re: Still A Newbie?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo View Post

Yes. Four years cruising and I'm still an amateur.

(...)

And it all seems so much worse now that I've put it in writing.
Neo,

I love your post! This is exactly the sort of things that still happens to me: +40 years on the water, +10 years into extensive keelboat(s) sailing ... making 'stupid' and stupid mistakes as much now as ever.

One of the worst things that can happen to us is when we think we know already. The 'check everything, TWICE' greenhorn attitude may in fact be a part of consummate seamanship.

Glad to hear no casualties there ;-)

Cheers,
b.
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Old 05-11-2013, 21:54   #3
Neo
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Location: Salem, MA
Boat: Pearson 31
Posts: 535
Re: Still A Newbie?

Barnakiel, thanks for the commiseration.

Over the past some months I have been giving my son and daughter driving lessons, and I've been telling them that I am a good driver only because I know that I am a bad driver. I hope to be able to say that about my sailing some day, but for now I'm just a bad sailor who knows it.

Cheers to all the bad sailors out there.
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