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Old 01-07-2016, 01:31   #1
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Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

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 on deck. 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 or wind, 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.

Today's events... 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.

This skipper 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.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:47   #2
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

You are a very friendly, helpful and patient person! Please keep this behaviour, don't let it take a hit from this bad experience. Ignore him maybe?

Most people I meet at the marina are like you and I'm so happy about it and also strive to be helpful and positive.
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:04   #3
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

I second what blue wrote above. I had a jackass aboard our boat two years ago, who was just like the fellow you describe. He was also an anchoholic.

Put the experience behind you, there are plenty of nice folks out there.
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:53   #4
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Someone once said you can sell advice, but you can't give it away! Sad but true... Good on you for being willing to help someone out.

Sometimes it's like this, some people are just lost causes. If they dont want to learn, they arent going to learn.
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:58   #5
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

They're everywhere on the water (idiots) and their incidence increases with better temperatures.

R.J.(Bob) Evans
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:37   #6
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Introduce him to the local power squadron.

Tampa is Scott Morris, P 813 810-6914

ST Pete is Connie Beckman, SN 727 867-3088

They may be able to enlighten him through some of their courses starting with the public boating course. BTW, the SN after Beckman means she has had celestial navigation and a several other specialised classes. He may feel sensitive with someone advising him on his home turf.

You will find that USPS members are in the main always ready to help. End of my safer boating through education plug!

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Old 01-07-2016, 04:49   #7
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

"He may feel sensitive with someone advising him on his home turf."
the hallmark of an idiot!
btw: a fact not to be forgotten:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia -look at the percentage!
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:18   #8
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

This Blue Water Boat **** is just a stupid panacea promoted on forums to newbies. For someone who can sail and knows what they are getting, they are fine.

I feel sorry the moron was sold the wrong sort of boat.

Boating is repetition. Get out and sail, sail, sail.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:26   #9
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

it's his personality, not the sort-of-boat that's wrong!
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:43   #10
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

It's hard to talk about his personality without meeting him but if he's afraid of the weather or damaging the boat he probably realises he's in way over his head.

You can walk away and do nothing but if you want to help him you need to find out how to get through to him.

If he's proud try to emphasize you don't know loads more than him. Suggest a course, tell him you did one and were amazed at how much you learned. If he's afraid of damaging the boat because of the cost of repair emphasize a couple of hundred bucks on a course is alot cheaper than replacing a thrashed bow sprit.

You will get through to him, you just need to figure out which approach will work with him.

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Old 01-07-2016, 05:46   #11
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

The first part of your post, sounds like you are trying to pressure the guy to go faster than he wants to. If it takes him 5yrs to work up to crossing the bay...good for him.

I do agree that "blue water" is a joke. It typically translates to a boat that doesn't handle well in tight spots. Way too many people buy base on the image of a salty captain braving the storm at the helm when it really just leaves them feeling incompetent. A far more maneuverable modern design will typically serve them better.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:47   #12
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Don't give up the good work. You should bring people up with you not give up and go down to their level. I have received lots of help in my life and I give it whenever I can, not everyone appreciates the effort. I mostly sleep easy though.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:49   #13
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Plus I may be the one requiring help...
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:59   #14
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Through the years I have seen many people dream of owning a boat, and achieve it but that is as far as it goes learning the many things needed to operate a boat safely is not part of the dream and they have no intention of learning!
A friend and boat owner of many years is this way when it comes to docking he just gets close and lets the crew jump scramble and stop the boat but always says " good job" he would never take his boat out alone
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:31   #15
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Re: Dangerous skippers, and not wanting to say anything.

Poor communication can ruin friendships, marriages, careers, and dreams. This guy doesn't know how to sail and doesn't know how to ask for help. He is probably getting pissed because you know so much and don't tell him anything. You on the other hand know how to sail, he knows very little and he is not asking for advice and that is pissing you off. It sounds to me like much planning and coordinating needs to be done before heading to the fuel dock. He may believe the line handlers on the dock are the experts and already know what to do with them when tossed a line. IF you want to help him maybe discuss these things before hand if he is receptive or offer to help him find somebody that does want to teach him. If he is not cooperative to discussing, planning and learning I'd say wash your hands of him. Have you offered to let him ride on a properly sailed sailboat?
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