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Old 18-09-2013, 15:17   #31
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

Up until around 8 years ago I used to move pianos part-time. This one almost put me on the show "A Thousand ways to Die." Working with a friend, we decided when a third person didn't show up to help with a move, that the two of us were strong enough to move the Henry Killer grand piano down the stairs by ourselves. Thinking that the piano weighed about 500 pounds we strapped it to the moving sled and brought it to the edge of the outdoor staircase. We both pushed as hard as we could, but when that thing hit 45 degrees it took off with the two of us tumpling down the stairs along side it.... it weighed closer to 700 pounds. When the piano hit the landing it tipped over onto me trapping me inside the stringed part and coming to rest with a corner stuck on a six inch concrete planter. My friend thought I was dead and he became hysterical. Fortunately for me, the planter allowed just enough room to survive, so with a burst of adrenaline I was able to lift the edge slightly. My friend saw the piano move and then began to help the dead guy out from under it.

That was the last piano I ever moved, and each day has been a little sweeter ever since that experience. I came out of it with just a bruised knee... the paino was unhurt.

Ken
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Old 18-09-2013, 15:32   #32
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Re: I almost died thread

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Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
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.
I would not call that a peccadillo. I would call that good seamanship. I was often called Captain Compulsive by friends who sailed with us for insisting on everything being done the right way. Translation: MY way. Every knot, every hitch, every coiled line. There was only one way for all of them.

The reason for that would become instantly obvious when forced to work forward on a pitch black night in the middle of a howling storm. You didn't need to see a knot or a hitch to know exactly which way it was tied. It could only be tied one way and could also be untied one-handed so that the other hand could be used to keep your sorry butt on the boat.
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Old 18-09-2013, 15:34   #33
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

Nearly run down when anchored off ICW in the Louisiana "sqwigglies". two barges turned down our little nook where we were anchored at night. They were running side by side heading right up to us. Luckily I had decided to do an anchor watch, even though the captain assured me no one would transit this spot. After shining my deck and mast with the spot light, the collision tug still wasn't paying attention. i hit his dog house with the spot light, still no change in course. Finally the other, not on collision tug, used his big bad spot light to shine on me, still nothing, he then hit the on collision tug's dog house, which got an immediate course change. Whew!! My biggest mistake was not bringing the handheld and horn up with me. Very dumb rookie mistake, Why do an anchor watch if you don't have the proper tools to " anchor watch!"

Nearly run down by cruise ship. Down below sleeping, had bad feeling, went up to check on the watch keeper. He was snuggled up in his bunk fast asleep. Ran topside to find a cruise ship very very close, full on collision. As I looked up up up, I could see inside the ports of the cruise ship. Grabbed helm hard over, over riding the auto helm. Turned on engine, full throttle forward as the cruise ship tried to suck us up in his prop wash. Still get the shakes thinking about that one. In my panic I jibed the boat hard, but didn't damage rig. Five minutes later, still had death grip on helm, I didn't realize I still had the auto helm engaged. I was so full of adrenaline I didn't even hear or feel the autohelms belt complaining and tugging.

Next night same crew nearly got us run down again. I was down below asleep. Not sure how close it was, but as I peeked out through the companionway from my bunk, all I saw was a black wall with a big red light off our stern, the red nav light was HUGE! My captain was just taking over the helm when I woke up, she yelled down that all was well now and didn't need my assistance. So felt safe that I could roll back over and sleep . i never got the full story, when i asked about it the next day, my captain was too spitting mad to talk about it. Watchman was relieved of all watch duty for entire trip.

Guess this is why my biggest fear is of collisions, have got to really trust the watch keeper.
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Old 18-09-2013, 15:53   #34
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Re: I almost died thread

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Originally Posted by Mary Flower View Post
I would not call that a peccadillo. I would call that good seamanship. I was often called Captain Compulsive by friends who sailed with us for insisting on everything being done the right way. Translation: MY way. Every knot, every hitch, every coiled line. There was only one way for all of them.

The reason for that would become instantly obvious when forced to work forward on a pitch black night in the middle of a howling storm. You didn't need to see a knot or a hitch to know exactly which way it was tied. It could only be tied one way and could also be untied one-handed so that the other hand could be used to keep your sorry butt on the boat.


You're so right, and I have a pet peeve about this. We all know how to do a cleat hitch, and what it should look like when properly done.



How many times have you seen a cleat hitch made with too many loops on the cleat, or extra line wound 'round and 'round the bottom of the cleat?

I think the people who do this think it's neat and tidy or something, but if you have to undo that cleat in a BIG hurry it's not so great. Especially in the dark.
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Old 18-09-2013, 16:07   #35
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Re: I almost died thread

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The reason for that would become instantly obvious when forced to work forward on a pitch black night in the middle of a howling storm.
I just love stuff like that and would love to learn it, but where can you these days? I'm also quietly sure about the fact that I'm too much of a modern softie to be disciplined enough for it to be any use. I feel quite sad about that. Just finished reading Robin Knox-Johnston's book on his circumnavigation (1968/9) and it is quite a revelation. I'm in awe half the time and bewildered by the lack of preparation the other half. Most prevalent is the thought I could never have done it because he has so much practical experience of just solving stuff with minimal tools.

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but if you have to undo that cleat in a BIG hurry it's not so great. Especially in the dark.
Too right. But it's very difficult to convey this to people who see the world from a landbased perspective. I know what I don't know, and I try to convey this to my brother who should be second captain on my boat, but it's hard to get him to understand how serious this blue water stuff is. I suppose we all know people like that.

Onno
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Old 18-09-2013, 16:10   #36
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Re: I almost died thread

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I just love stuff like that and would love to learn it, but where can you these days? I'm also quietly sure about the fact that I'm too much of a modern softie to be disciplined enough for it to be any use. I feel quite sad about that. Just finished reading Robin Knox-Johnston's book on his circumnavigation (1968/9) and it is quite a revelation. I'm in awe half the time and bewildered by the lack of preparation the other half. Most prevalent is the thought I could never have done it because he has so much practical experience of just solving stuff with minimal tools.



Too right. But it's very difficult to convey this to people who see the world from a landbased perspective. I know what I don't know, and I try to convey this to my brother who should be second captain on my boat, but it's hard to get him to understand how serious this blue water stuff is. I suppose we all know people like that.

Onno

I'm just going to point out that spreader lights might be a good thing in this "pitch black" scenario, unless good night vision IMMEDIATELY after returning to the cockpit will be necessary. If you're out in open waters, turn the spreader lights on.
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Old 18-09-2013, 16:15   #37
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Re: I almost died thread

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Damn sight less stressful...
And a sure fired way to get some intelligent conversation.
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Old 18-09-2013, 17:01   #38
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pirate Re: I almost died thread

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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
I just love stuff like that and would love to learn it, but where can you these days? I'm also quietly sure about the fact that I'm too much of a modern softie to be disciplined enough for it to be any use. I feel quite sad about that. Just finished reading Robin Knox-Johnston's book on his circumnavigation (1968/9) and it is quite a revelation. I'm in awe half the time and bewildered by the lack of preparation the other half. Most prevalent is the thought I could never have done it because he has so much practical experience of just solving stuff with minimal tools.

Folk do go over the top with preparation... so much so some never leave the dock... always the latest greatest to save more money or wait for... the hardest part for most is the solitude and being content with ones own company...

Too right. But it's very difficult to convey this to people who see the world from a landbased perspective. I know what I don't know, and I try to convey this to my brother who should be second captain on my boat, but it's hard to get him to understand how serious this blue water stuff is. I suppose we all know people like that.

Onno
Its only as serious as you want it to be if your solo... with crew however you add responsibility... for the lives and safety of others and the results of their actions...
How many on here check their oil/water/tyres/brakes/lights etc before the 1+hr commute to work every morning.. then do it again coming back.. and that simple act kills more people a day than sailing kills in a decade or more... yet we do it without a second thought...
Bit like the solo veteran sailor... we have faith in the boat and our day to day routine maintenance
MarkJ's a relative newbie to solo sailing but I'll bet he's more laid back today than a couple of years back when the missus was with him..
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Old 18-09-2013, 17:26   #39
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

We had a small beach we would frequent when my kids were young. We arrived in the inflatable stepped onto the beach and away we go. The wife and I would take turns watching the kids, they were allowed into the water to the top of the knees, at this stage my son was 3, constantly thinking he could swim when the reality was dog paddle. There were no waves of any real kind except the odd boat wash.

I turned my eyes from my son in ankle deep water, to my daughter at the waters edge. Turned back and my son was gone, wouldn't have been more than two seconds. I sprinted (which in itself was probably a near death experience) and dived into the last spot I had seen him. There was no visibility as he had stirred up the mud, but it was at least 2 meters deep. Grasping at the bottom for what felt like an hour, I felt him, grabbed some part of him and threw him in the air as it was to deep for me to stand, as he came down I caught him and dragged him to shore

It got worse, he wasn't breathing! Way to freak your wife out!

Having completed a first aid course, I administered CPR and he spewed up water pretty quick and before long he was fine, took the wife longer to recover than it did him.

Turns out he was standing on a tidal ledge of sand, never seen one here before or since but it was there that day.

Moral for me, and I think about it often, kids wear flotation devices whenever on deck, no exception, they drown to easily, if little kids are swimming, check for a tidal ledge and for goodness sake, if you are a skipper, do a first aid course, you are the person people will expect to act in stressful situations.

My son is now 13, last week we were out and he slashed his leg, 20 centimeters long and to the bone most of the way, always have a first aid kit in the car, bandaged him up, just good enough to stop most of the bleeding until we got to emergency! The kid seems determined to stress his mother to death!!!!!
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Old 18-09-2013, 17:45   #40
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

When I was 14 we moved from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville. J'ville Beach had something Ft Laud did not -- WAVES!

Went to the beach one day with a group of kids, and I was just diving through the waves and riding them back. Of course, I'd take a big lungful of air first, and I was a strong swimmer -- my dad watched me do 7 miles of laps in a pool once when I was 10.

So I had no fear of the water but didn't notice that I was drifting closer and closer to the pier (1960, it was about 1/4 mile long then).

All of a sudden -- WHOOSH -- and I was being carried out on a very strong current. Incredibly, I had just read two days before how to survive what they then called a "rip tide" -- cover your nose and mouth, because the water is turbulent and full of sand and it's crucial that you hold your breath and not let it in, and ball up into a ball.

So I did. The article said that pretty soon you would bob up to the surface, and then should swim perpendicular to the current until you were well out of it.

So I did that too, and I bobbed up at the end of the pier. I turned to the south and started swimming to make sure I was out of it. Turned around to look, and there was a pool-type air mattress coming down out of the sky -- and the most GORGEOUS hunk of male I'd ever seen in a bathing suit diving in feet first after it! He scooped me up and put me on the back of this pool-toy raft and started paddling.

Well I wasn't a *complete* idiot. i knew when to stop saving myself!

Unfortunately he was from the NATO station at Mayport. He was Norwegian and didn't speak a word of English. Also he was 18 -- combination of 4 years older, sailor, and we certainly wouldn't have been able to talk -- it was completely doomed.

But I bet he still talks about the day he saved a girl from drowning. I didn't even think anything of it and didn't mention it at home. At 14 I believed I was invincible, and saving myself that day just reinforced that attitude.

Until the whole family went to the pier two days later. I was duly impressed with how far the current had carried me (which just made me feel MORE invincible) ... but then we saw what was going on. The people fishing were gutting mullet, considered a trash fish then, and throwing the chum off the pier -- and some guy had just caught a 10 ft hammerhead shark right off that pier!

THEN I got scared. I had not realized I was in shark-infested waters (bet that sailor didn't know it either), but we saw many shark caught off that pier while we lived there.

Hammerheads aren't up there with great white or bull sharks, but they have been known to attack humans.

That was a good lesson for a cocky 14 year old -- stuff really does happen, and some of it has lots of sharp teeth!
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Old 18-09-2013, 18:17   #41
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Ft lauderdale police nearly shot me. Had my dog on a retractable leash. The ones that have a barrel and grip with a cord that runs out. Had the dog a chessie swimming along as I walked down the beech close to the surf line. The leash barrel was held against my stomach. Someone called the cops thinking I had a gun. The cops came out of no where handguns pointed yelling hands in the air. I spun around not knowing what was up. Not sure why they didn't just blow me away on the spot. My memory is a voice of realization yelling its a dog it's a dog.
I didn't get a ticket for illegally having a dog on the beach. Still wonder how close they were to shooting me. Especially when I turned surprised and not raising my hands.
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Old 18-09-2013, 18:23   #42
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

To many to remember.

I started with nearly falling into a port canal back in time when I still could not swim. Yes, I did start that early. And then it went downhill.

In my book, we learn nothing in near death experiences. Except maybe that life is now and there is no point in trying to live in a safe manner trying to secure oneself a comfortable pension plan.

Live now, die later.

b.
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Old 18-09-2013, 19:10   #43
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

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To many to remember.

I started with nearly falling into a port canal back in time when I still could not swim. Yes, I did start that early. And then it went downhill.

In my book, we learn nothing in near death experiences. Except maybe that life is now and there is no point in trying to live in a safe manner trying to secure oneself a comfortable pension plan.

Live now, die later.

b.

People vary so. Clearly in retrospect what happened to me was very, very dangerous, and once I had thought about the sharks, I realized that I was probably two days and a Reader's Digest away from drowning before sharks could get to me.

From that I learned a respect for the water that I really needed to learn.

My sister got a lungful of water in a YMCA pool when she was about 13. The lifeguard jumped in and pulled her out. She completely panicked. Why did she panic while I did not? I have no idea, but to this day she doesn't like the water although she really did until that happened.
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Old 18-09-2013, 20:25   #44
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

In my early 20s I decided to do some expidition sea kayaking so I got a sea kayak,got fit learnt how to eskimo roll,did heaps of miles.A mate of mine was circumnavigating the south island only second time it had been done so we decided to go from TeWaiwai Bay to Dunedin about 300 kms.The bay is right at the bottom of the island in the roaring fortys,we left in marginal conditions only just able to break out of the large surf.As we were crossing the bay we were hit by a nasty front and unbeknown to us there was a bar about 3 kms offshore,we managed to time it just perfect so that the waves were dropping vertically on to our heads and the vis had dropped to about 100 metres.My companion was washed out of his kayak so we managed to get him back in again and decided to head for shore knowing we would get smashed in the surf.Within minutes my kayak was smashed in half by a big breaker and I was in the water Bevan lasted about 2 more waves before he was dumped out.Thought I had done it then getting tumbled by the breakers.Onlysurvived by hugging my life jacket got tumbled heaps with the surf trying to tear off my life jacket,eventually got washed ashore long after Bevan got there he thought I was gone.only found half my kayak.being young and stupid I bought another kayak and we completed the trip a year later.Now being older and slightly wiser you couldnt pay me a million dollars to do it again.
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Old 18-09-2013, 21:01   #45
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

When I was 12 or 13 my dad and I built a hydroplane with a 7 1/2 on it. Special wheel, crash throttle, great little boat and lots of fun. I was only allowed to use it when my father was around on weekends, and during the week it sat stripped down at the shore.

One weekend I wanted it ready when my father showed up Friday night so a friend and I got it in the water, put the engine on, connected the throttle and gas, and had it ready. However, it was only noon on Friday and we did not want to wait....so! Away I went around the lake hoping that my mother would not see me out there. Another boat crossed my path and I let up on the crash throttle to slow the boat and heard the most ungodly screaming in my ear. Turned around to see what was making all the noise and found the prop turning about 6" from my nose. Must of been my firends job to tighten the engine screws (hey, I wouldn't forget. The engine had come forward with the head resting on the back of my feet and the prop still turning. Closest thing to a nose job I ever had, but never again did I forget to tighten that sucker down.

The good news...my parents didn't find out for 40 years!
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