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Old 09-12-2013, 14:00   #91
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

I wonder if anyone soloing gets stuck so badly that they die because they cannot get back to the helm of their boat- kinda like jumping off the side with the autopilot engaged. I bet this could happen to me.
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Old 15-12-2013, 11:16   #92
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

Hello folks, I have greatly enjoyed this thread. So much to learn!
I recently completed a 1200 NM journey from California to La Paz, BCS, Mexico. Although the trip went very well and I learned an enormous amount, I did have two close calls where death could have resulted.

The first happened on our very first overnight passage of the trip. We had 4 crew, two with experience, one of the inexperienced on watch. I had instructed all the crew to wake me in any event that they were concerned about or unsure of. So my crew wakes me with, "Hey Bill, would you come take a look at this?", at 0200 off of Ensenada, Mexico. There was no urgency or fear in his voice, so I assumed it was nothing major. I poked my head up to see a medium-sized freighter crossing our bow about 200 yards away!!! Not only that, but our bearing was directly towards shore (6+ miles away). I turned hard to starboard, missing the freighter, which then turned hard to port as soon as it passed our bow, and we missed colliding by a narrow margin. I had provided the crew with a laminated sheet that helps identify vessels and courses based on navigation lights showing. My crew told me that he thought the freighter was another sailboat, so he kept trying to "go around it" by cutting across its bow. So the freighter kept bearing off to their starboard in an effort to not run down the idiot who kept trying to cross its bow.

I take full responsibility and realize that I should have broken down the duties of the watch-keeper in much more detail. However, it is sometimes difficult to eliminate poor choices, especially when coupled with inexperience. After that we had 2-man watches, with one experienced crew and one inexperienced crew working together. It was tiring, but much safer.

My second close call on this trip involved working at the mast at night in a pitching sea. As I was adjusting the main halyard, standing just forward of the mast, my staysail boom came flying over and just kissed my ear. Caused a bit of bleeding and now I have a small califlour ear on that side. I was tethered and was wearing my PFD, but I don't think that would have helped with a brain injury or concussion, which might have occurred if I was an inch or two closer to midline. So now I know to sheet in the staysail before performing any work at the mast.

We live, we learn, we sail another day if we are lucky enough to survive our lessons.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 15-12-2013, 11:39   #93
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

My first week of being a kindergarten teacher, and one day I wore a long skirt with an elasticated waistband. Thought nothing of it.

Until break time when one of the little tikes starts playing around my skirt, pulling it. I tell her to stop, she turns around and falls down head over heels. Still holding tight onto my skirt. The one with the loose elastic waistband.

Oh, I almost died...
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Old 15-12-2013, 12:22   #94
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

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Originally Posted by montenido View Post
My second close call on this trip involved working at the mast at night in a pitching sea. As I was adjusting the main halyard, standing just forward of the mast, my staysail boom came flying over and just kissed my ear. Caused a bit of bleeding and now I have a small califlour ear on that side. I was tethered and was wearing my PFD, but I don't think that would have helped with a brain injury or concussion, which might have occurred if I was an inch or two closer to midline. So now I know to sheet in the staysail before performing any work at the mast.

We live, we learn, we sail another day if we are lucky enough to survive our lessons.

Cheers, Bill
Bill, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Your second incident, quoted above, is why I will not willingly sail on a boat with a boomed foresail. I've never been associated with one near head height, but have had bleeding shins from lower ones. For me, the risk outweighs the marginal advantage of self tacking staysails... they are not that hard to sheet in!

Glad it was just your ear, mate!

Jim
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Old 15-12-2013, 13:09   #95
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Re: I Almost Died Thread

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Originally Posted by SaucySailoress View Post
My first week of being a kindergarten teacher, and one day I wore a long skirt with an elasticated waistband. Thought nothing of it.

Until break time when one of the little tikes starts playing around my skirt, pulling it. I tell her to stop, she turns around and falls down head over heels. Still holding tight onto my skirt. The one with the loose elastic waistband.

Oh, I almost died...
You really should have worn underwear.
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