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Old 03-06-2012, 09:26   #1
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Depressing Day for New Sailor

Good morning all. Let me preface this message by telling you a little about myself. Just learned how to sail last year on a Catalina 22. I've taken out a Hunter 18 quite a few times and have been singlehanding it through a narrow channel (without motor) out into Pensacola Bay without difficulty. Well, yesterday I decided to take out the Catalina 22 for the first time in the year since I learned...also without anyone on board who knew how to sail. What a comedy of errors. Here's what I did wrong:

1. Forgot to vent the fuel tank - engine stalled just outside the channel
2. Pinched the fuel line after realizing I didn't open the vent to the fuel tank - stalled again about 5 minutes later while raising the sails
3. Couldn't get enough tension on mainsail. This Cat 22 was different than the one I learned on and didn't have a vang, just a Cunningham that was completely loose which caused the boom to be sitting really high. Found that and adjusted it with little help.
4. Got seasick

All this has me feeling rather depressed. I've been reading these forums religiously lately as I would love to retire aboard a sailboat one day. I know I'll never make these mistakes again and that it's all part of the learning process, but it really shook my confidence. Anyone else get a not-so-graceful start to their life as a sailor?
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:36   #2
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

I feel you had a GREAT day of sailing. You went, came back, learned something and didn't break anything. What more do you expect?
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:38   #3
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

It looks like you have made it!! There isnt a sailor here who hasnt suffered a series of errors like that. We have all done it. There will be lots more mistakes in the future. But thats just a part of the pathway to good seamanship.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:03   #4
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

And I thought I was the only one who got my boating education via the school of hard knocks. FWIW, I find that if I think things through before I start something, I get fewer bumps and bruises.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:06   #5
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Good day, Navy. Only 5,000 mistakes to go before you're an intermediate!

Reminds us all of our salad days. If we laugh, we're laughing with you, thinking of our own mishaps on the learning curve (and we're all still on it). Check out the The Sailor's Confessional forum to see that you're in good company.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:08   #6
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Smiled with your story. OTL----opportunity to learn!

You got some really good hands-on learning and best of all: Caused no damage!
Hate and love my learning curves. Learning makes us better sailors.

All of us get opportunities to learn!
Hope you're already on the water today.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:08   #7
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Sounds like you did great! If only all my day sails were that successful.

Welcome to the club!

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Old 03-06-2012, 10:18   #8
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Have done everything you did years after learning to sail. You're ahead!
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:23   #9
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Thanks for the replies! It's good to see that I'm not only bonehead out there I got a pretty good chuckle later that night, too.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:24   #10
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

A few more items to look forward too 1.) loose your dinghy while sailing, hopefully you find it and 2.) as you are setting your anchor in a crowed harbor, everyone always is watching, get the painter caught in your prop. That will always make for a great story.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:36   #11
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Sounds normal to me. I've done the fuel tank thing, I've fouled the prop with a line. I've run aground into the cat-tails right at the enterance to the marina, broken a tiller, fallen overboard, dislodged the rudder while seeing "how shallow" i can go. dropped tools and parts overboard. I've put the rail so far down the cockpit flooded and overflowed into the cabin. I've learned from every mistake. I've also felt that I should just throw in the towel. But I don't. Stick with it, A year's time is not nearly long enough to have made enough mistakes to become good at sailing.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:39   #12
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

ye went out, ye came back without dying--ye did GREAT....keep up the good work. we all learn from our misteaks...have fun and smooth sailing.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:43   #13
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

I cant count how many times I've forgot to open the tank vent in the dingy! It's always foremost in my mind just before I board the dingy, then I start loading things, helping other in etc... and forget!
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:47   #14
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

If I had a dollar for every mistake I have made I would be sailing the Queen Mary now. Wait until you get the first time anchoring stories! They can be thrilling. Have a beer and laugh about it and go out and do it again with different mistakes. Reading will keep you from some mistakes but not all. GO FOR IT.____Grant.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:53   #15
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Re: Depressing day for new sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyPT View Post
Thanks for the replies! It's good to see that I'm not only bonehead out there I got a pretty good chuckle later that night, too.
If I listed all the mistakes (some potentially fatal at that) I made in the first two years of sailing, it would...well...cut into my sailing now.

You had a great day of learning with some unpleasantness.

The proof? You got back in one piece to write about it.
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