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Old 29-07-2013, 18:08   #151
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: sydney, australia
Boat: 38 roberts ketch
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

This is not the worst, just one of many; a few years ago I'd bought an old boat with a dodgy engine and a messy rig – from neglect and a few years of being owned by a non-sailer – I'd hit the deadline for taking it off its mooring and heading south. Knowing the engine would only push the boat in perfect calm conditions, I dropped the mooring at about 4 in the afternoon, right after high tide so I could use the run out tide. But I was nervous – so the first thing I did was run over the bloody mooring line. Because I knew the engine didnt have much push, I initially thought the fact that I wasnt making any way was due to the engine being worse than i'd thought, was getting near to other moored boats, so I dropped the anchor quick-smart. That was when I realised 2 things; 1; the mooring line was wrapped around the prop and I was going to have to go into the water and free it and 2; This particular harbour is a breeding ground for white pointer sharks and someone had been taken a week before this. One week before. So I figure the odds are in my favour because it'd be unusual for it to happen again so soon – I'm a cup half full sort of person.
So I'm in the water, I can just reach the prop, my hands are cut from the bloody barnacles – blood in the water, white pointer juveniles, oh this is a good combination...
After an hour of struggling, I got her free AND back on the mooring. And no sign of sharks. Had a rest and went out with 4am tide. Without running over the mooring.
Many things went wrong on that trip – now I look back on it fondly because I learned how to be resourceful – although I'm still kicking myself for not figuring out that instead of spending a couple of hours running up that channel at 1 kn I could have put the bloody thing in reverse and done 5 backwards – the forward clutch was worn out but the bloody reverse had hardly been used...All sailors should do a course in lateral thinking.

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