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Old 18-09-2013, 11:46   #16
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Re: I almost died thread

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I was motorsailing from Santa Cruz to Halfmoon Bay in January. It was freezing cold. I left in the dark at 0600 and drinking hot coffee the way up. Needless to say after a few hours, I had to pee. I was adjacent Ano Nuevo...Great White capital of the west coast. I had the main up to steady the rocking of the boat, making 5 knots with the engine and autopilot steering. Realizing I needed to strip off some of the gear, I unhooked my harness and began to peel off a few layers to do the deed at hand, you might say. I moved to the side deck and was going to clip back in and realized I had a few more layers to route through. Before I was able to clip in, the main back-winded, jibed and the end of the boom grazed my neck. If I had been 2"s more forward, it would have knocked me over. There was enough fuel onboard to motor 700 miles. I probably would be bleeding watching my boat sail away from me. It gave me a few things to think about the rest of the trip.
Dang! I continue to say that everything you do is potentially a life or death issue. That goes from how you layer your clothing to stepping out on deck to tying off on a cleat or winch to lashing a barrel on deck. I get rather fussy when not tying X knot in Y fashion. We all have our peccadillos and this one is mine. It's not so much adherence to irrational demands as it is acknowledgement that even a single knot misplaced could cause sacrifice at a most inopportune time. EVERYTHING has meaning in your small little universe. I don't feel the need to contribute to the macabre to make the point.
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Old 18-09-2013, 11:47   #17
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Re: I almost died thread

As a kid (aged 10?) I nearly drowned in 2 feet of water .

Rowed to shore in the Avon inflatable dink and was messing around in the water / on the beach with Step-Mother and I decided to swim under the dink - so I said to Step Mother: "hold the dink steady - I am going to try and swim under it".

What she heard was: "I am going to try and swim underneath it" so she kept the dink steady - i.e. whenever I nearly reached the edge she moved it to keep me underneath .......the only reason I never drowned was because I managed to lift the dink with my back, no easy thing as not much room under and a lot of suction to overcome with 9 foot of Avon for a 10 yo.

Step Mother never the brightest tool in the drawer (and now long gone) - ironically lots of formal qualifications in childcare........exactly how she thought keeping me trapped under the dink would work out well is beyond me .

The lessons I learnt from that were:

a) never assume (especially that the other person is not an idiot).

b) that no matter what someone's education / qualification levels are - they may also not be very bright .

Lessons much reinforced in decades since, both boat and work wise.
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Old 18-09-2013, 12:04   #18
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Re: I almost died thread

When I was a child I jumped off the diving board before I could swim, and got CPR from the life guard.

When I first purchased my boat, I was down below rigging some solar panels and had it on auto pilot. My gf was above and told her to keep a look out, not realizing her experience on boats left her very trusting of not actually watching where we were going. All the sudden I hear someone yell she grabs the rutter and just brings us port to port with a fish boat that was motor off right in front of us. Not 48 hrs after I bought the boat, we could of been sinking to the bottom. While close enough to land we could of made it or received help, who knows that I was below. Definitely a wtf moment.
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Old 18-09-2013, 12:26   #19
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

I used to tell my ex wife to jump whenever we were docking. She got wise to me and quit doing it. Dang it!
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Old 18-09-2013, 12:28   #20
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Re: I almost died thread

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exactly how she thought keeping me trapped under the dink would work out well is beyond me
STEPmother, eh? Sure it wasn't deliberate?
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:22   #21
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

OK, ours was no less scary, but doesn't have the traditional "knocked overboard" component most of the others do!

We were anchored off Mykonos with a friend. The skipper is entertaining (ie :having a G&T) , I am cooking our dinner in the galley.

We had a lovely outside light which we had used for years with no issues. It was a sort of camping lantern which used those small campingaz blue cylinders for fuel. So, Skipper hollers down "damn lights empty, throw us another can!" to which the lovely (albeit overworked, LOL) crew goes and rummages under berths, extra supplies and all manner of debris to find a spare can. Skipper, being a Scot (ie: surly and mostly impatient!) comes down the steps to see "whats taking so bloody long?". I hand him the can, and as I am putting the 27lbs of assorted goods back under the settee captain brilliance decides to exchange the cannisters at the foot of the stairs where he is standing. You know.....right next to my galley.

Well, the fireball that erupted made me glad we had a chemical (and now illegal!) fire extinguisher right there ! He popped the cylinder into the lantern and obviously some of the gas escaped and got lit by the stove which was on (see earlier MAKING DINNER reference!).

Skipper ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hand, arms, and face. We ended up making a call to Greek Coast Guard to get him off the boat and to hospital and I got stuck single handing her back to the port (in the dark, alone, about 2 hours motoring) where he was being treated.

NEW BOAT RULE: NO CAMPINGAZ!! EVER!!

Spent 2 weeks scrubbing the poor girl down and sanding my kitchen rails and cupboards back to health! Oh, and the Skipper recovered. Grumpy as ever, and never complained about my sailing skills again!
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:29   #22
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

I will never forget the sight of my FolkBoat sailing away from me, as my head broke water mid-channel between shore & Catalina. I was making my first singlehand passage on a warm summer's day, with gentle breezes & not much swell..just enough wind to keep the sails pulling. At the time, the boat did not have lifelines (it did soon after). I was taking a pee over the stern when apparently an errant swell pitched me into the water.

Almost at the same moment that my brain processed what had happened & that I was probably going to die, the inflatable that I was towing behind , hit me in the back of the head. Needless to say, I somehow got aboard, pulled myself hand-over-hand up to the stern & managed to get back on board.

It wasn't until I was safely moored at Twin Harbors that afternoon, that I began to shake uncontrollably & had to go below & lie down for awhile.
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:31   #23
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

Had a couple of lifethreatening experiences working commercially in the PNW on fish and towboats but one that sticks in my mind occurred when I was a decky on a tow boat about 19 years old. I was wise to the ways of picking up a tow and very cautious around towlines and bridles but another crew member, not so much. He disregarded my advice to stand forward of the winch and as the skipper powered up, the steel towline snapped across the deck and took off the guys foot right at the ankle. We managed to get the bleeding stopped, threw the foot in a plastic bag and placed it in the icebox. Dropped the tow and headed for the dock where the ambulance met us. Couldn't save the foot but saved his life.
That was 50 years ago and I remember it like yesterday. Sitting around a pub sharing stories and experiences and reading threads like this one, you pick up a lot of things that will save your life. Phil
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:39   #24
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

Gotta tell you guys, this thread is mighty depressing!
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:49   #25
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

I agree, Eric... I get depressed just remembering the accident! Phil
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Old 18-09-2013, 13:55   #26
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Re: I almost died thread

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
One thing is for sure...single-handing keeps you in the present moment.
Ya know, I think back to my single handed racing days, and what I remember is not being in the present so much as spending a lot of time thinking ahead. Advance planning rather than reacting is IMO the secret of successful singlehanding.

There were a few interesting moments though...

Returning under the Golden Gate, kite flying, boom prevented, 20+ knots true. Just by the south tower the demon (local big wind eddy that lives by that tower) grabbed the boat, gybed the kite causing a knockdown. With the boom now pinned sticking nearly straight up, the boat (Yankee 30) wouldn't come back up. Preventer line in a clam cleat, too much load to release, knife in pocket, in pants, inside foulies... damn! Eventually a lull came along and I got the preventer eased, the boom gybed, the boat popped up, and I got under way trying to sort out the spinnaker wrap that festooned the forestay.
Got pretty close to the fendering around the tower, scared the crap out of me! But, continued to do the racing for a couple of years... guess I'm a slow learner!

Cheers,

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Old 18-09-2013, 14:17   #27
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Re: I almost died thread

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Workboat tried to kill us, was being steered from aft, nobody in wheelhouse fwd. We were lucky that the workboat had a small escort who saw us, warning workboat to swing off at last second. Would have cut our Wharram in half, and spun so close he flung spray at us.

Shrimpers have a nasty habit of sleeping or picking shrimp (aft) with autopilots driving, frequently scary

Shrimp boats are a good example of boats that don't have to move for just about no one. They are working boats with giant nets out. What are they going to do -- release an entire night's work so I don't have to change course? Not likely.
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Old 18-09-2013, 14:47   #28
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Re: Is there an "I almost died" thread?

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Almost killed my wife with an accidental gybe. Mainsail sheet grabbed her by the neck and flung her across the cockpit in a gale. That was four years ago and we've never had an accidental gybe since, nor will we, ever.
I never believed in preventers until this happened to me twice in one day.

Funny thing, my sailing coach would never go up on the bow unless he set a preventer on the main. That day it dawned on me why...
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Old 18-09-2013, 15:02   #29
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

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Originally Posted by jerrymc View Post
I will never forget the sight of my FolkBoat sailing away from me, as my head broke water mid-channel between shore & Catalina. I was making my first singlehand passage on a warm summer's day, with gentle breezes & not much swell..just enough wind to keep the sails pulling. At the time, the boat did not have lifelines (it did soon after). I was taking a pee over the stern when apparently an errant swell pitched me into the water.
Almost at the same moment that my brain processed what had happened & that I was probably going to die, the inflatable that I was towing behind , hit me in the back of the head. Needless to say, I somehow got aboard, pulled myself hand-over-hand up to the stern & managed to get back on board.
It wasn't until I was safely moored at Twin Harbors that afternoon, that I began to shake uncontrollably & had to go below & lie down for awhile.
Scary story Jerry. I'm glad you're still with us. That's what I had envisioned...my dream sailing away without me.
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Gotta tell you guys, this thread is mighty depressing!
Yes it is Eric...I still think about my story when on watch alone and crew is sleeping. I remember one story of a family on a Norsea 27 with those tiny aft cabins. The husband came up for watch and the wife was gone...vanished. He looked everywhere. He check again the tiny aft cabin only to find his loved one buried under a few layer of blankets and sleeping bags.
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Old 18-09-2013, 15:14   #30
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

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Scary story Jerry. I'm glad you're still with us. That's what I had envisioned...my dream sailing away without me.

Yes it is Eric...I still think about my story when on watch alone and crew is sleeping. I remember one story of a family on a Norsea 27 with those tiny aft cabins. The husband came up for watch and the wife was gone...vanished. He looked everywhere. He check again the tiny aft cabin only to find his loved one buried under a few layer of blankets and sleeping bags.

Wow. I wish you had been around when I was being *pounded* about the uselessness of drag lines (with loops in it mind you -- it has hand holds.) This dragline is attached to the steering and heaves the boat to, greatly slowing it down, while you pull yourself back to the boat. What you did is much harder.
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