Or: why I hate wheel steering
unless your boat has a real wheelhouse, and is longer than a few bathtub lengths.
The setting: San Diego
Bay, Sunday noonish, after a typical weekend touring the many assorted officers clubs in the city.
The Players: US Navy
nurses met the night before somewhere at the above storied locations, 3 young Navy
The Boat: Old, shortened rig sailboat about 33 feet LOA
, average condition. A wide and commodious interior
suitable for our live aboard captain
We set sail on the slack tide (motored away from the dock), retired the anchor
detail (stowed the cooler) and dipped the colors rounding the Admirals sendoff party (mooned and heckled the black shoe training facility at the Amphibious Base) as we headed out of Glorietta bay (across from the Hotel
Del Coronado) heading windward to pass underneath the Coronado Bay bridge, towards Point Loma. We raised the sails
, the ladies found seating in the cockpit
, while we moved about smartly, stowing things that didn't need to be stowed and making small sail trimming changes. Boy, the nurses must have been impressed! We were on starboard tack and about pass to leeward of one of the major bridge pilings of the famous Coronado Bay Bridge...
We began to head
up; the bow swinging towards the piling! Our friend and captain
muttered something then dashed below! Should we finish our beer
or rag the jenny? The nurses exchanged looks. The piling loomed larger...we began to count the barnacles
just visible under the low mean tide mark...jeez, there is a small ladder right there....
Yes, the chain had broke from the wheel
to the steering
and we did some quick problem solving. Things were dire. We lacked an emergency
tiller. The nurses were very quiet.
We put our friend with the largest guns
(biceps) down below. He muscled the rudder
post to and fro while we relayed steering commands from the cockpit
. Once tied to the dock
, the nurses beat a hasty retreat and mumbled words under their breath. We repaired to a bar, drank some black and tans and mourned the loss of potential dating opportunities.
Not sure if the my dislike for wheel steering is a rational one or just one derived from missed oppurtunities....