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Old 15-04-2017, 19:55   #1
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Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

So I expect absolutely no sympathy for what happened today, because I am a retard and made a horrible decision. I have had 2 sailing lessons now, still don't know what I am doing..

I had a brilliant idea last night to take the boat out this morning, by myself... My intention was just to motor around and get comfortable with the boat. So i got out of the marina no problem and there was very light winds, so what do I do? I decide to raise the sails and try to sail a little. I get the main up, and start to unfurl the jib... when my goddamn tiller breaks OFF! (picture below) due to being rotted out. Note at this point the headsail is not all the way out, but im losing control of the boat now and kind of panic. I struggle to maintain control of the jib, and NOW the winds pick up A LOT. the boat starts to heel, and it feels like Im going to capsize, I am eventually able to stick the other end of the tiller in to take control of the rudder. I eventually get the headsail furled and secured and the mainsail lowered.

One thing I didn't notice while all of this happened was that I guess my forestay and intermediate forestay loosened, because somewhere in the chaos the chainplates for the boomkin broke! (i think that's what its called, on the stern).

I eventually make it back to the marina. my roller furling is arched because of how loose the forestay is, I could turn the turnbuckle by hand on the intermediate forestay, not normal right? But yeah when I kill the engine, I now hear my bilge pump is on. I eventually find that the stuffing box is leaking a bit. So now im thinking, great, my boat is going to sink. Luckily i was able to search the internet to find it was an easy fix to adjust the gland nut.

So yeah I know i made a very poor decision today, I thought I was going to be stuck at sea, but I made it back. I don't trust the rigging at all on my boat now, so I am going to address that immediately...

Feel free to tell me how stupid I was today, I need to be humbled.





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Old 15-04-2017, 20:07   #2
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

It wont be your last mishap, its a steep learning curve. I'm still a screw up, just ask my whisker pole that is bent, ask my girfriend what I looked like wrestling with it on the deck while lieing on my back as its trying to destroy everything in its way after it decided to part from the mast? But hey lucky I know what I'm doing right?...lol.

Its all part of it, learn from what happened, don't give up and you'll write very memorable chapter's.

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Old 15-04-2017, 20:28   #3
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Be sure to read up on how to adjust the packing gland on the shaft. It should drip while running, too tight will bring bigger problems!
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Old 15-04-2017, 20:45   #4
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

You made a mistake that didn't kill you. You also probably learnt more from it than any other sailing event so far. That's still a win. AS LONG AS YOU LEARN FROM IT!!
We all make mistakes. That's life. Being embarrassed is part of it. The fact that you owned it and admitted it to so many people speaks well of your character.
I think you will end up a fine sailor yet.
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Old 15-04-2017, 21:14   #5
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

odeapt,

Memory of that feeling you had when you couldn't steer will help keep you safe. I bet you're more interested now in how to fix your chainplates,possibly have a good look at the whole rig, and how you want to address the tiller problem. That'll keep you out of trouble for a while, eh? :-)

I was not able to open your attachments, so don't know what pics you showed, so will refrain from further comment on the boat at this point.

Honestly, though, two things you might not have picked up is that (1) marinas are generally protected, so you should expect more wind outside, and also, often the first of the mornings breezes are the lighter ones. The other think i hope you learned is that you have to check things before you leave the pen you're in, you need the boat to be ready to go to sea.

Everybody who sails has made mistakes, you had a safe landing, you walked away. No harm, no foul. You discovered underlying flaws you didn't know about, now, how're you going to fix them? Tell us about that. Self flagellation is a waste of time.

Ann

Your profile doesn't tell much about you. If you tell us approximately where you are, and what kind of a boat you have, it will help us tailor our comments to your location and vessel. Maybe you could add a little about yourself, as well.
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Old 15-04-2017, 21:45   #6
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Glad you're OK to tell the tale. It seems every time I went out and sailed my boat hard the first few years, something broke (and I'm a newbie and a singlehander). It helps me find the things that need beefing up. A friend of mine says I live a charmed life because so far nothing "bad" has happened because of it. Yes, bad things can happen. Another friend had her standing rigging replaced and the mast came down the next time she went out, singlehanding, too. All sorts of things can kill you, but probability suggests most things won't. So live and learn and enjoy the sail. It certainly is a great learning environment!
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Old 15-04-2017, 21:53   #7
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

An experienced sailor is usually one who's lived through a number of bad experiences. You're on your way. We all learn quicker from our mistakes.
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Old 15-04-2017, 21:58   #8
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

The abilities of sailors are not determined by if mishaps occur, but rather, how they respond to them.
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Old 15-04-2017, 23:23   #9
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Ya know, OP, I read your post fairly carefully, and I can't see that you did anything all that stupid. You went for a sail under reasonable conditions for your skill level, you had a sudden equipment failure, and you got scared but managed to recover on your own. Whats so stupid about that?

You now know some weak points in your rig, and the only stupid thing you could do now is not repair/replace the faulty bits (and perhaps the whole lot). If we knew what kind of boat is involved, we might be able to help you suss out remediation at reasonable cost. Then you should resume sailing! You'll likely have some additional "interesting" moments as you do so, but that's how you learn.

So, don't beat yourself up, carry on and become a sailor.

Jim
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Old 16-04-2017, 00:02   #10
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Wow! Nice save! Sure, now you know what you have to do next time. But honestly, aren't you just a wee bit impressed with yourself for getting yourself, and your boat, back?
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Old 16-04-2017, 01:42   #11
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pirate Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Ya know, OP, I read your post fairly carefully, and I can't see that you did anything all that stupid. You went for a sail under reasonable conditions for your skill level, you had a sudden equipment failure, and you got scared but managed to recover on your own. Whats so stupid about that?

You now know some weak points in your rig, and the only stupid thing you could do now is not repair/replace the faulty bits (and perhaps the whole lot). If we knew what kind of boat is involved, we might be able to help you suss out remediation at reasonable cost. Then you should resume sailing! You'll likely have some additional "interesting" moments as you do so, but that's how you learn.

So, don't beat yourself up, carry on and become a sailor.

Jim
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
Wow! Nice save! Sure, now you know what you have to do next time. But honestly, aren't you just a wee bit impressed with yourself for getting yourself, and your boat, back?
Nuff said...
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Old 16-04-2017, 03:44   #12
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Hey, you kept your wits about you when (several) major things broke. And got the boat back home sans help, when lots of folks would have put out a mayday in your situation. So now you get the chance to learn a lot more about rigs, how they're built, what to inspect on them, etc. And when you rebuild yours, put an extra (electrically isolated) coin under the mast's heel.

As to the tiller, good on ya. And when you replace it/rebuild it, there are things that you can do to mitigate the odds of catestrophic failure in the future. So, as they say, it's all good.

Call it a tiny Easter miracle if you like
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Old 16-04-2017, 03:58   #13
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

Good that you got back safely and a lot wiser. Being prepared is probably one the key lessons to learn as a sailor. We don't know when these beautiful and often complex machines with many systems will experience a failure. We try to prepare to boat for whatever may be thrown at us.... and of course all things degrade over time... and this hastens the point of time of the failure.

A VERY important lesson to take from your experience is:

CASCADING FAILURES

One failure can and often does lead to another and this can make recovery harder.

We need redundant systems in some cases... and parts and jury rigs and tools and so on.

And remember... you really ONLY learn from mistakes.... believe me... I am still making then 32 years on.

Welcome to the club.... the best is yet to come!
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Old 16-04-2017, 04:06   #14
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

You didn't do anything stupid. You dealt with the situation and got control of it. If there was any failure on your part it came earlier, when you bought the boat and either did not get it surveyed or did not subsequently take the time to go over it and correct any critical shortcomings.

What you hopefully learned from the experience was that poor maintenance of a boat can be extremely dangerous, and that you dodged a couple of bullets. You had two critical system failures, either one of which could have ended very badly. The fact that the tiller on a Westsail 28 was so thoroughly rotted that it broke off, and that on the same trip the backstay failed and the packing gland leaked is a sign that the entire boat needs a serious going over.

If you had the boat surveyed (which you must have, if you got a loan, and I recall you asking about loans), I would go through the survey results (maybe post them here) and immediately start work on those critical items. If you did not have the boat surveyed, given your limited knowledge you're basically sitting on a black box of which you have no knowledge. You need to get it surveyed if only so you know how to proceed in terms of repairs.
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Old 16-04-2017, 04:52   #15
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Re: Should have lost my mast today, I am so stupid

The only stupid thing you did was not getting a survey. Boats can take a knockdown when in good shape.
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