My first post!
I own my boat for 2 years now. I took many friends on a day trip, and on some longer trips. I had mixed experiences but I always have a set of rules for myself and/or others:
- I'm in charge. It is my boat. If I make mistakes
, or anyone else, it is my fault entirely.
- I'm in charge. See above.
- I watch my crew. All the time. See above.
- And I've learned not to trust the 'I have xx years of experience'... See below.
My sailing experience is not so broad as many here. I sailed a lot on lakes here in the Netherlands
in what most of you would describe as dhingy's. 7 meters (21 feet) open sailboats. Fast, and lots of fun.
My sea sailing experience is very little. I did a 2 week course in Greece
before I bought my boat. And I sailed her to England
But I do have a feeling for sailing. I can be very clumsy with other things in life, but somehow I am not clumsy at all while sailing. I learn extremely quickly. I *feel* the boat, the wind
, the sails, the rudder
. It is natural to me.
That's all very nice and convenient but doesn't make me an experienced sailor. I know that. So I do read a lot, try to learn from others, and I try to sail as much as I can.
But back to the topic. Last year we went on the first sea sailing trip with the boat, to England
. A 20 hour trip. I invited a friend I met on the sailing course in Greece
. I trust him. We were a team in Greece (the instructor went down below to sleep sometimes, she knew we could handle it. she had never done that before she said). But, since we both never sailed a serious sea, let alone the North Sea, I invited a colleage. He had 'years of experience' also as an 'instructor'. I sailed with him one day in calm weather
on the big inward 'sea' (lake) in the Netherlands
. It was fun.
So we went of, and I brought two other friends with no experience. They proved very usefull and obeyed orders when needed and were just fun crew.
The experienced colleage however.. was a pain:
- he refused to sleep (watches). He "wasn't tired". Yeah right. My mistake: I allowed it.
- he refused to use life lines. Untill, after the 3rd time, I told him very very strongly he would sit down below for the rest of the journey if he ever did that again.
- when too tired, he almost hit a big ship (on a canal from the sea to Amsterdam). It came out of a side canal, but he thought he could hit the gas (diesel) and run in front. It went ok but was scary. A police boat happened to be closeby and the guys were mad. At me. And I took responsiblity and appologized to the officers.
- he bored us with 'tough tales' the whole journey. At the end of the day, nobody believed them anymore...
and now the best...
- in the first night I was asleep and was awoken by my sailing buddy I met in Greece. He wanted me in the cockpit
since he didn't trust the judgement of the colleage.
When I came up above he was heading right for an anchored ship, in the middle of the sea. I asked him what he was doing. He said it was anchored, so he could pass just in front of it. It was on our courseline. I immediately told him to steer away. After some hesitation, he steered 10 degrees. I waited 5 seconds to see if he got smarter. He didn't. I told him to steer 40 degrees more immediately. At that moment we were already within 0.5 Nm of the ship. At that same moment we all of a sudden (in the middle of the night) were in a pool of light. A HUGE beam from the anchored ship shone at us. I felt embarrassed. I took the helm
, steered some more away from it and passed in front at a 0.5 Nm range from it. We could very very clearly see the ship.
My lesson: people who shout the hardest that they have experience, probably don't. People who are quieter but love to join you sailing are mostly a lot better. And friends who don't have experience but are very eager to learn are the best crew to be honest.
But my biggest lesson: who ever you have as crew: you are the captain
. Even if they have more experience than you. If they do, listen to their advice. Learn from them. But in the end, you are always responsible.