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Old 02-11-2012, 20:47   #76
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

1. Sailing out of Fire Island Inlet, Fire Island NY. Wooden 25' Cape Cod Cat Boat. Had anchored behind a sandbar the previous night. Extreme currents. Morning broke warm and almost windless. Destination Atlantic Highlands, NJ. 3-4kt current sweeping me out the inlet. Lazily steering with my foot on the helm and sheet in hand. Up ahead large red sea buoy marking channel. Heading straight to buoy, thought I'd just head up and skim by. Current was so strong there was no answer to the helm. Hit the buoy on the port bow quarter doing about 5kts. This buoy, tall as house put my boat on the starboard rail. Cracked a strake, but luckily the impact occurred right at a big oak knee and a heavily built oak ice box. Thought I was sunk but she held and went on to sail to more adventures.
2. Same boat on way to Highlands. Crossing mouth of the Hudson river, took green water over the bow which took away the front hatch cover. Winds NW 30kts. Shadowed by large Coast Guard Cutter. Navigation aids: Wet chart and box compass between my knees. 16' pole for a depth sounder.
3. Same Boat to Manasquan Inlet, NJ. No engine very fresh breeze from behind, first time in the inlet. Narrow channel, full sail and bascule bridge dead ahead. Totally committed and only a toot horn to alert bridge tender. He was on his game. Sailed between a two foot opening as the bridge opened.
4. Same boat. Exhausted, sailed up to first marina I saw, lashed to a piling next to an ocean fishing boat and as it was almost dark turned in for the night. About 3am woke up and realized tide had gone out and boat was on its side. 5am the whole fleet decides to go fishing. Boat is stern to the channel. Every wake plowing into stern. 7am breakfast and another learning experience in hand.
5 Same boat. Watched nuclear power plant in the distance on the Delaware river for 8hrs
before making the turn to the C&D Canal.
6. Same boat. Surfed the C&D Canal at Chesapeake City.
7. Same boat. 6 weeks later. Cape Charles VA, boarded by Coast Guard. Warning ticket for dirty bilge. Told them to clean up the dump at Tangier Island. Have a nice day. It was raining,
it was Thanksgiving Day and I was eating crab cakes.
8. One month later. Short hop from Dewees Is,SC to Charleston. 12am, full moon and almost windless. Entrance to Charleston at jetty. Didn't see it coming. Submarine doing 15kts almost runs me down. Estimated closest distance 20 yards. It took 5 hrs to sail to Fort Sumter against the tide and a zephyr. Eventually crashed an burned at City Marina. Shorty treated me like a lost relative and another chapter was ended.
Oh, sorry, this was supposed to be about worst sailing experience.
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Old 02-11-2012, 20:54   #77
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tar34 View Post
1. Sailing out of Fire Island Inlet, Fire Island NY. Wooden 25' Cape Cod Cat Boat. Had anchored behind a sandbar the previous night. Extreme currents. Morning broke warm and almost windless. Destination Atlantic Highlands, NJ. 3-4kt current sweeping me out the inlet. Lazily steering with my foot on the helm and sheet in hand. Up ahead large red sea buoy marking channel. Heading straight to buoy, thought I'd just head up and skim by. Current was so strong there was no answer to the helm. Hit the buoy on the port bow quarter doing about 5kts. This buoy, tall as house put my boat on the starboard rail. Cracked a strake, but luckily the impact occurred right at a big oak knee and a heavily built oak ice box. Thought I was sunk but she held and went on to sail to more adventures.
2. Same boat on way to Highlands. Crossing mouth of the Hudson river, took green water over the bow which took away the front hatch cover. Winds NW 30kts. Shadowed by large Coast Guard Cutter. Navigation aids: Wet chart and box compass between my knees. 16' pole for a depth sounder.
3. Same Boat to Manasquan Inlet, NJ. No engine very fresh breeze from behind, first time in the inlet. Narrow channel, full sail and bascule bridge dead ahead. Totally committed and only a toot horn to alert bridge tender. He was on his game. Sailed between a two foot opening as the bridge opened.
4. Same boat. Exhausted, sailed up to first marina I saw, lashed to a piling next to an ocean fishing boat and as it was almost dark turned in for the night. About 3am woke up and realized tide had gone out and boat was on its side. 5am the whole fleet decides to go fishing. Boat is stern to the channel. Every wake plowing into stern. 7am breakfast and another learning experience in hand.
5 Same boat. Watched nuclear power plant in the distance on the Delaware river for 8hrs
before making the turn to the C&D Canal.
6. Same boat. Surfed the C&D Canal at Chesapeake City.
7. Same boat. 6 weeks later. Cape Charles VA, boarded by Coast Guard. Warning ticket for dirty bilge. Told them to clean up the dump at Tangier Island. Have a nice day. It was raining,
it was Thanksgiving Day and I was eating crab cakes.
8. One month later. Short hop from Dewees Is,SC to Charleston. 12am, full moon and almost windless. Entrance to Charleston at jetty. Didn't see it coming. Submarine doing 15kts almost runs me down. Estimated closest distance 20 yards. It took 5 hrs to sail to Fort Sumter against the tide and a zephyr. Eventually crashed an burned at City Marina. Shorty treated me like a lost relative and another chapter was ended.

Nice!
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Old 02-11-2012, 20:59   #78
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

True.
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Old 13-12-2012, 17:45   #79
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

I was anchored at Santa Cruz Island with my two sons several years ago, and decided to change locations. I was on my Catalina 30, my first boat, and had limited experience at that point. Well, I did not turn on the weather radio because I didn't want to wake my sons, and since we were just going "around the corner" I decided to tow my dinghy and kayak. So I raise anchor and start motoring the 6 miles or so to the new anchorage. All was calm until I passed outside the lee of the island.

Immediately I was heading dead into a head wind of 30+ knots, with some pretty good wind waves to boot. No probem, my 11 hp universal always scoots me along fine inside the marina. Fairly quickly I reach a point where at full throttle I am just barely holding position. Then my genoa decides to unfurl a bit on its own. Now things are getting very interesting. One of my sons wakes up and pokes his head out of the companionway. "Dad, is everything ok?". I calmly tell him to go below and I put the drop boards in place. Okay, it is time to just swing around 180 degrees and return to our previous spot. We start to get green water over the bow and starboard rail as I finally manage the turn. Now going dead downwind, the boat is behaving somewhat better. I glance back and see that the kayak is upside down and totally underwater, and being pulled along like a big orange killer whale. I somehow manage to pull it to the surface while steaming at 7-8 knots, and turn it back over. I figure the dinghy will be lost also, but dont care at this point. I make it back into the lee of the island and everything is suddenly warm and calm again. I motor back to our original spot, drop the anchor, and crack a beer. I think it was 0730.

Man was I happy to have gotten out of that situation without any injuries or worse to my kids.

Lesson: Check the Wx before moving or venturing out.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 14-12-2012, 07:32   #80
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Originally Posted by montenido View Post
I was anchored at Santa Cruz Island with my two sons several years ago, and decided to change locations. I was on my Catalina 30, my first boat, and had limited experience at that point. Well, I did not turn on the weather radio because I didn't want to wake my sons, and since we were just going "around the corner" I decided to tow my dinghy and kayak. So I raise anchor and start motoring the 6 miles or so to the new anchorage. All was calm until I passed outside the lee of the island.

Immediately I was heading dead into a head wind of 30+ knots, with some pretty good wind waves to boot. No probem, my 11 hp universal always scoots me along fine inside the marina. Fairly quickly I reach a point where at full throttle I am just barely holding position. Then my genoa decides to unfurl a bit on its own. Now things are getting very interesting. One of my sons wakes up and pokes his head out of the companionway. "Dad, is everything ok?". I calmly tell him to go below and I put the drop boards in place. Okay, it is time to just swing around 180 degrees and return to our previous spot. We start to get green water over the bow and starboard rail as I finally manage the turn. Now going dead downwind, the boat is behaving somewhat better. I glance back and see that the kayak is upside down and totally underwater, and being pulled along like a big orange killer whale. I somehow manage to pull it to the surface while steaming at 7-8 knots, and turn it back over. I figure the dinghy will be lost also, but dont care at this point. I make it back into the lee of the island and everything is suddenly warm and calm again. I motor back to our original spot, drop the anchor, and crack a beer. I think it was 0730.

Man was I happy to have gotten out of that situation without any injuries or worse to my kids.

Lesson: Check the Wx before moving or venturing out.

Cheers, Bill
I've had some similar in areas that don't offer weather forecasts, or localized ones anyway. It's really quite impressive how different things can be inside a protected cove.

It might seem like overkill but even just moving in the same anchorage I haul the dinghy and get ready for sailing. Leaving a cove or bay I honestly get my mind and the boat ready for gale force winds. It happens more often than I could have imagined.
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Old 14-12-2012, 07:58   #81
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

Set out to deliver my 28' sloop (Taipan 28) from my previous home, Hong Kong, to my new home in Thailand. Accompanied by a friend and experienced delivery skipper. Departed HK on the last day of Oct., technically end of typhoon season, with only an innocuous looking 1010 depression off Philippines that was not at the time predicted to do much of anything. Two days out, it turned into a tropical depression and then a named typhoon that made a sharp turn up along the Vietnamese coast and toward us (we were relying on land-based reports relayed via a sat phone with very spotty service). Anyway, by the time we realized what was happening, it would have been impossible to turn back. Sailed a few days in very bad conditions and finally dismasted about 100nm off Da Nang, where we lay ahull for another day as the storm's center passed about 25nm from our position. Engine problems, thoughts of jury rig, engine problems resolved. Motored into Da Nang. I am lead to believe we were the first western pleasure vessel to enter the harbor since the "American War." But another guy claimed the same thing a few years later, so who knows if we were first?
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Old 25-12-2012, 16:25   #82
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

I bought my boat (Block Island 40) last year up in Rhode Island and set out single-handing to Galveston, TX. I had practically NO sailing experience to speak of so, needless to say, there were some less than ideal situations encountered along the way. There were many close calls, miserable legs, oh-sh*t moments and times when I questioned my own sanity for being out there, alone, on a new boat, that I don't know how to sail, in the North Atlantic, in the winter. Bad decisions were made, and lessons were learned.
One very special leg of that trip stands out in my mind. I can't say that the leg from Wrightsville Beach, NC to Charleston, SC was the worst but it was special.

My autopilot had crapped out on me and I was looking for someplace that could repair it. Everyone told me that the closest place i could find someone that worked on them was in Charleston. So, next stop: Charleston.
I left the anchorage in Wrightsville at about 1000 a.m. I had a nice NNE breeze about 15kts. Everything was good except the fact that I had no autopilot and I was going to be at the helm for the next 160+ nautical miles.
As soon as I got south of Frying Pan Shoals and west of Cape Fear I figured the worst was behined me. That's actually when things went to hell. The wind started kicking up and was now blowing over 25 knts and climbing. I needed to reef. I put the helm break on, ran down into the cabin and got my Sailing book. I read the part about reefing one more time. I tried to put her "in irons" so i could do what I needed to do and keep her pointed in the wind and waves. only problem was wind and waves weren't coming from the same direction. I went to the mast, dropped the mainsail, got slammed into everything on the deck. Broke the lines on the duthcman system fell down off the cabin top several times, etc. By the time I got the reefs in I was bruised and bleeding, cold and wet, and severely pissed off (at myself).
Back underway now I'm having hell trying to figure out how to balancce those damn sails. To much genoa, to little genoa, fair-leads in the wrong position, etc. Everytime i try to make an adjustment I have to leave the helm and the boat rounds up. I play this game for about four or five hours until I get it halfassed figured out. Dawn finally arrives and the sun comes out, the sky clears up and the winds die down. The winds dropped below 10 knots but I was hesitant to shake out the reefs I worked so hard to put in. I didn't want to have to do it again if the winds picked back up. I figured I would roll like that the rest of the way to Charleston. Yeah, right...I got tired of cruising at 3 knots after about 3 or 4 hours. I was tired, cold, wet, hungry, etc. I wanted to get there so, out come the reefs.
Now I'm zipping along at a screaming 4 knots. Wind dies down to nothin'. Zero. Seas are flat. I'm thinking WTF? I was in the friggin' storm of the century 12 hours ago and now I got nothin...
Start motoring, sails start flapping....down come the sails. By the time I get to within 20 miles of Charleston the wind starts picking up right of my stern. I leave the sails down and just motor the rest of the way because I'm too tired to jack with it and i'll just have to drop them in a few hours when I get to the channel since I'm obviously not going to make it before it gets dark and I would rather be motoring since It will give me greater control.
By the time I reach the channel the wind is now howling again. I'm thinking: "this is just bullsh*t".
It's dark, I have the wind screaming up my ass, The channel entrance is what seems like 12 to 15 miles long before I even reached the jetties. Now a pod of Spinner Dolphins are around the boat and every few minutes one will jump up and put on a show. I'm sure that would be real cute in the day time but it scares the hell out of you at night when you're your trying to focus on channel markers, trying to figure out which lights are which, etc.
The tide is hauling ass out. Wind is hauling ass in. Waves are steep. I have the engine running at 2300 rpms and I'm doing over 7 knots trough the water but only 2 knots over ground. It takes me over 4 or 5 hours just to get from the channel entrance to the jetties. By the time I get to the jetties. I'm using a flashlight to look at the paper charts I have with me at the helm. I have the radar over-layed on the chartplotter and I still cant figure out what the hell I'm looking at because of all the damn lights everywhere.
I see the jetties on my chart plotter but I can't see them when I look out. I try to shine my spot light but it just reflects in my rigging and blinds me. I see the radar return from the jetties over layed on the chart plotter and just aim for the middle. There is some sort of boat coming up on my stern but he's been back there for about two hours and is slowly gaining on me. I try to raise him on the radio several times but no answer. Now it's raining, the wind is still blowing the tide is starting to slow a bit but I'm still only making 3 knots. Just as I'm approaching the jetty entrance and the "pucker-factor" reaches its zenith, the boat that's been behined me this whole time decides to shine a spot-light on me. It lights up my cockpit like Yankee Stadium. Screws my night vision and scares the crap out of me. Now I don't know If he's trying to warn me of some impending doom or just being a jerk. I try several more times to hail him on VHF 16. - No answer. I throttle back, go slow, now about 1.5 knots. He shines his light again. I shine mine back and see it's a sailboat. He passes me up going through the jetties. As he clears the jetties he starts calling a marina on the radio. Now I'm pissed. His name was either "Nemo" or "Finding Nemo".
There was no way I was going to find an anchorage. Charleston harbor has all kinds of twist, turns, channels, lights, traffic, etc. My best bet was to find a marina. I decided to try to hail the same one Mr. Spot light was hailing. I might even get to have a chat with him about his light. - No answer. Again I'm thinking: WTF?.
So, I hear a fella at another marina hailing an incoming vessel. I try to get him to answer me. No answer. I'm wondering if my radio has a problem transmitting. I keep tryng to raise the kid at the marina that hailed the incoming vessel. He finally answers and tells me to stand by. As I'm standing by, I hear a call on the radio to the inbound sailboat. It's from the outbound container ship approaching. I look around and see no ship so I figure he's not talking to me. All I see are lights from a bridge or something up ahead. He calls again and this time mentions a marker that the sailboat is passing. It's the marker that I'm passing. I answer him. He says we're about to pass so let's pass port-to-port. I say "sure thing captain" and I just hug the right side of the channel but I still don't see him. Then, all of the sudden I look up. Those lights weren't a bridge in the distance. It's a container ship about 100 yards away. HOLYSHIIIIT!!! Hard to starboard. After I passed him and my heart rate settled back down to a cumfortable 200 beats per minute, I tried the marina kid on the radio again. I finally get him to answer me and he tells me he's helping someone else right now and for me to just go tie up at the fuel dock and he'll be there in bit. I find the marina and I have to bust a u-turn in the marina, avoid hitting some expensive looking boats, get to the fuel dock and jump off with a bow-line in one hand and a stern-line in the other. It was everything I could do to tie it off before the current (coming from the stern) pulle the boat away. I wait about a half hour before this teenager shows up in a golf cart and tells me in need to tie up to the dock on the other side of the fairway. (the one I passed up before making a u-turn to come to the fuel dock. I untie, move off, make another u-turn, jump off onto the dock and tie her off. As I'm puting the spring line on he rolls up on his golf cart and tells me to move further down the dock. He forgot to tell me to go all the way to the end and he may have another "longer" boat come in and may need this spot. I just looked him in the eye and said "fu*K you kid, you want to move it? Go ahead. I'm going to eat and go to sleep". I gues the kid decided I was ok where I was. He just jumped in his buggy and left without another word. I then went below drank a few beers, fixed some soup, and passed out.
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Old 25-12-2012, 18:39   #83
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

I am glad you survived Flink, but sailing does not have to be life or death. You needed crew. You needed experience. I am glad you made it to Galveston and I hope you will still passage make. Never leave port without some type of sure plan to make the boat steer herself. Seems like I have learned that lesson a few times....
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Old 25-12-2012, 18:55   #84
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

I was wondering if checking weather forecast has become part of Flink's pre departure routine...
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Old 25-12-2012, 19:36   #85
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

I am still making passages. I am currently anchored near Pensacola, FL waiting for this storm to pass. I will likely hang out here until Thursday when its nice and pretty with a nice little breeze before sailing to Panama City, FL.

I have learned quite a bit since then. I'v logged over 5000 blue water miles under my keel since then. I check 5 different weather forecasting sites before I even think about moving.

I spend a LOT of time just waiting for the right weather.

Oddly enough, on the way here my auto pilot finally gave up the ghost while I was out in the gulf off the coast of Louisiana headed for St. Pete. I changed course and headed for Mobile Bay. Sailed for 10 hours, hove-to so I could rest, eat, etc. Then moved on.

I have a new auto pilot and will install it as soon as this thunderstorm passes (BEFORE) heading back out.
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Old 25-12-2012, 20:33   #86
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

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I bought my boat (Block Island 40) last year up in Rhode Island and set out single-handing to Galveston, .
BTW -Isn't the Block Island 40 a Bill Tripp design and one of the first FG boats from a mold??
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Old 25-12-2012, 21:09   #87
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

You are exactly correct sir. He designed it for the Newport to Bermuda race. It performed really well and encouraged others to build off-shore racers out of FG.

The design paved the way for production boats even though the BI 40 was never a production boat. Bill Tripp was a pioneer.

I love this boat. It's like sailing a battleship.
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Old 26-12-2012, 03:35   #88
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

Some of our stupid mistakes we dont want to tell the whole world, but enough time has went by that I feel ok about fussing up to how I almost lost my boat on the rocks- on June 1 2009- I dropped my main anchor with all chain rode over the edge inside the crater of Santroni- just under OIA- then I dropped a second one to be sure ( the second anchor had 40 feet of chain and the rest was - 3 strand rode)& tied the stern with 5/8s line to the rocky shore, 50 feet away- This area is usually well protected from the meltimi that blows from the North but will still get 25 knots of wind with no seas bouncing off the inside walls- I had spent 2 months the summer before in the same place- so I knew the place well- On June 1 an unforecast storm out of the south blew up and with winds increasing eventfully to a sustained 50 knots- with gusts 60 -65 knots the hole in the Southern end of the Calder was wide open but the seas and most of the big waves were hitting in a way where I was not directly impacted unless the wind changed direction- and the wind was slowly clocking around-and I was getting 6 ft sharp choppy seas with about 15-20 feet seas outside I would guess-my stern was only about 50 feet from the rocky shore and I was not sure what to do I waited too long to get out of there being so close to the rocks-now I was in trouble- I had a few hundred feet of chain out on my Manson Supreme with 5/8 3 strand snubber taking the shock off the anchor rode- 1 of my engines was not working because I was waiting on a raw water pump belt that was nowhere to be found in the EU at that time so I had 1 engine in forward running - me at the helm all night steering trying to keep the boat facings into the wind/waves-as the wind got up to 60 knots- - My 5/8 snubber shackle deformed and was destroyed and in those few moments it took me to get another line on the chain the force of it all cracked the FB Glass around the cleat and would have ripped it off in no time- had I not run a snubber through the chain and secured it-I went through 3 snubber in 24 hours because they kept chafing through- daylight came and the wind was still blowing with no sign of letting up I had one guy onboard with me so this helped-I was very worried that this chain was going to fail as the seas were increasing as the wind kept clocking around to give me more of a direct hit through the South opening- My dinghy broke its painter in the night and was long gone- and I had to make a decision , drop the anchors and rode and try and make a run off the rocks using both engines or sit there and pray the chain/shackle did not break -with the wind slowly creeping toward a more direct hit I decided to make a run for it- (to this day Im not sure what I would do if I had to do that again,) I could use the second engine for a little while long enough to get out of there I thought- So this was the plan- anyway we dropped the first anchor rode off and let it clear the boat then I freed the chain and let it run free and ran back to the helm both engines were running and as luck would have it we pulled forward about 20 feet , but then one prop got caught in a small mooring line and hung us up and we lost power and steerage as the wind now caught us on the side and within seconds we would be in the rocks , I looked down and we were within 10 feet of the rocks now and I managed to pull the Jib out and it caught the wind with a bang that sounded like a shot gun - we shot out of there like a cannon ball, all the time keeping the wind close to the sail as not to blow it out- I made it I was very did I say VERY lucky- that mistake cost me a few thousand in chain and anchor and dingy but that was a price I happily paid- the locals said they never seen a storm come up from that direction with that severity in 50 years- I went back to recover the anchor & chain, using scuba I went down as deep as 150 feet and could see to 200 or so but it was nowhere to be found-For a moment there I really thought I lost the boat and would have, but luck was with me- The reason I waited too long to move was its normal to get 25-30 knots in that area from the North and at that time it was not coming in from the south-but this time it clocked around -I spent many of sound sleeps with that set up so I was thinking ok soon the wind will die down but, it increased and in a few hours it was so strong I could not move without putting everything at risk- and I could not stay either-anyway _ bought a new & bigger Mason Supreme, chain & Dinky - then 2-3 weeks later passing through I saw the dink tied to a mooring and picked it up - Now I had 2 of them -Everyday Im out there is a blessing!-
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Old 26-12-2012, 04:48   #89
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Re: What's Your Worst Sailing Experience ?

the worst experience? hard to say!
last spring on the way to Sandy Hook NJ when the weather went to crap, the fog settled in, lost the gps, miscalculated the current, lost the engine....and suddenly looked at the depth.....spun the boat around 180 degrees till i could get the engine restarted and figure out where i was...when NOAA decides to emit an emergency weather alert.....

or maybe it was the year before... when i jumped down below at 2am to discover water above the cabin sole?

no i think it was the night i found myself between a large commercial vessel and a tug/barge looking for an unlit mark.......when out of the corner of my eye i see it screaming by on starboard......2 feet away....
still haven't recovered from that experience.

all three of these events share one common aspect. In each of them it was never just one thing that failed....more like a chain reaction.
well...actually two aspects. the first being "operator error"......
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Old 26-12-2012, 09:43   #90
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[QUOTE="Ram;1114949"I went back to recover the anchor & chain, using scuba I went down as deep as 150 feet and could see to 200 or so but it was nowhere to be found-For a moment there I really thought I lost the boat and would have, but luck was with me- The reason I waited too long to move was its normal to get 25-30 knots in that area from the North and at that time it was not coming in from the south-but this time it clocked around -I spent many of sound sleeps with that set up – so I was thinking ok soon the wind will die down but, it increased and in a few hours it was so strong I could not move without putting everything at risk- and I could not stay either-anyway _ bought a new & bigger Mason Supreme, chain & Dinky - then 2-3 weeks later passing through I saw the dink tied to a mooring and picked it up - Now I had 2 of them -Everyday I’m out there is a blessing!-[/QUOTE]

I have gotten into the habit of placing a waypoint over any anchor I drop in the water. Try that without a gps - LOL

You story and Flick's story seem to both be a reminder about an important sailing tenet.

When you first tink about taking an action, take it. If you get a glimmer of an idea you should reef, then reef. If you get a glimmer of an idea that you should move anchorage, then move.

Many disasters seemed tied to inaction rather than action.
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