Everybody makes mistakes
and most learn from them. I have and believe I do learn from them. Usually by an exhaustive mental debriefing that can last hours. Replaying events
in my head
. Thinking about what I've read and learned from others.
Occasionally one sees others make a mistake, but usually it's a passing encounter and you never see them again. That's an easy, "Oh well", hope they do better.
Don't know how to be brief here. I'm mentally wound up at 2:00AM. Need to express this to cleanse my head
No body got hurt by the way.
I met this skipper
last year. Coincidentally we have been in the same anchorages
since then. He bought a classic, well regarded "blue water" boat almost two years ago. Full keel
, transom/keel hung rudder
tiller, wind vane
, huge bowsprit
, two banger diesel
, etc. And in good shape.
Dreams of blue water
crossings. Has yet to take it out a pass to open water
. Said he has sailed maybe twenty hours since he's had the boat. Says he can't single
hand it. I'm thinking,,,, not if he never tries. I ask why, and he says the main comes off the track when lowered, takes to long to hoist, and no autopilot
. Me, "Well fix the slide stop, and use the tiller tamer." He didn't.
Had him talked into an offshore
hop with me last year. I gave him a forty five minute head start, but he was aground about the time I got my anchor
. Aborted that hop. Talked him into raising the main to heel the boat and he got free.
I left without him a few days later. "Oh well"
I helped him take the boat to the marina a few times, which was always an adventure. Says it won't turn, won't back up, won't stop. I tell him while many people with a similar design recognize the challenge they say with practice it can become doable, even easy.
I always resisted the urge to show him by asking for the helm
. Because I have no experience with such a boat. Just went along to handle lines and help if I could. I did show him how to turn the boat around at the dock
with the lines and current
, in light conditions. Now that's his answer to never having to back up. Doh!
Fast forward to this year. Took him weeks to get up the nerve to motor
across Tampa bay and come down the ICW
. Had things to fix, too. But apparently had to wait on a dead calm day, because that bay is crazy dangerous, don't you know. Even for a classic blue water boat I guess.
Anyway, I apologize for all this. Maybe I won't hit submit.
... Can I help him motor
around to the marina for fuel
, etc. I'm always willing to help.
I'm not a captain
, or an instructor. Just a guy racking up days on water on a boat I can handle. I've helped many new sailors
get a start on thier boats. Usually because they sailed with me or observed me on my boat and asked for help. I guess they thought I know what I'm doing. Maybe I do.
is an OK guy, but I don't particularly like him. A bit stubborn, hard to give advice to. Doesn't communicate well underway concerning intended actions of the helmsman or expected actions of the crew.
Anyway..... coming up on a turn to port into the marina channel. Looking for a marker. A boat has been approaching from ahead for several minutes. But when he realises we have passed the missing marker. He says, "We passed it". And immediately starts a 180 turn to port. I say, "Hang on, boat ahead."
It had been approaching at maybe 20 knots for several minutes. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought he hadn't noticed it considering the upcoming turn to port was planned and anticipated.
Next came the most unresponsive turn to starboard with the helm
hard over I have ever seen. I guess having to stop the momentum to port or something. The other boat never flinched, it wasn't that close. I said nothing, and the skipper had no comment or further reaction.
Then coming to the dock
on the port side....he noted the current
was behind him. In neutral early, no problem. He said if I reverse the starboard walk will pull away. I'm thinking good, at least he knows he has to deal with adverse current and walk.
Well, no, he had no intention of dealing with either condition apparently. As we glided along the dock about a foot off and maybe 1.5 knots I suggested he might want to throw the stern line to the dock hand.
He just looked at me without reaction. Finally tossed it but said nothing. (Like cleat this line)
Come to find out he was waiting for me to jump from the bow to the dock doing steerage speed, and cleat the bow line to stop the boat. Never put the boat in reverse. Said later that cleating the stern line would have buried his bow spirit in a piling.
I said the bow line would have done that as we motored away. He gave me the "Speak to the hand" gesture. Of course I had no intention of jumping and wouldn't even if he said to. I should mention the side decks were so full a crap there was no where to walk along them. Not sure it would be wise for anyone to jump at one knot
or more over all that and the pilings going by.
I thought we were going to turn around and go up current and starboard walk advantage, stop the boat and tie off. Nope, we came around for a second go at piss poor seamanship.
No reverse, but slower, tossed both lines to the dock hand. BUT SAID NOTHING TO HIM. So he did nothing with the lines and I don't blame him. I think he was waiting on some reverse thrust too. And what do you do if you are tossed two lines anyway.
We were close now, so I dug my heels into the crap on deck
and bear hugged a piling. As the skipper was yelling something about how his bow spirit was gonna strike. It didn't. I got got a little scrape on my shin. I'm not sure, but I don't think any other action was used to stop the boat.
I said nothing. Went and rested in the shade.
Later I made a couple of low key comments abouts using conditions to thier advantage, not fighting them. Or in this case ignoring them. (Didnt say that)
On the way back I asked if it was his standard proceedure to stop the boat with docklines instead of the boats power. He didn't respond. I said that is a method for duress or emergency
Nothing else said. Had a steak on board with him later at anchor
He's heading on next week. (I hope)
Almost feel like I'm done trying to help people crew. This one was the worst, but there have been exciting times on other boats.
Who am I to be trying to tell somebody about boat handling. But I have never had cock ups like this single
handing my boat.
Sorry for all this, so many words. Not sure I even have a question for the members.