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Old 22-02-2021, 15:41   #76
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Indiana
Boat: O'Day 322
Posts: 64
Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Originally Posted by GBR134 View Post
1. I have a stupid cock up virtually every trip but am more confident to live with them.

Keep going, own your cock-ups and remember to have fun whilst staying alive!
Must be a Brit thing...

But I suppose I have had plenty of “cock-ups” too...

Wrapped a tow line around my prop and disabled my tranny approaching the harbor...

Drained the batteries when I filled the while way to start the engine...

Put the boat cross-ways in the slip trying to dock single handed in a really strong cross wind...

Kissed up against my slip neighbors 40’ power cruiser returning from a solo sail in strong cross winds ( it at least I had the foresight to put fenders out on that side of the boat before heading into the damage done).

Noticed one of the leeward shrouds completely blowing in the wind one day...good thing I saw it before I tacked!

Forgot to remove a spring line and as I was backing out of the slip...and all of the sudden the boat lurches in the wrong direction!

Leaving the slip, strong cross wind, and I pinned my boat on thr end of my finger pier and my (other...not the one above) neighbors stern.

But hey, learned something for all of those...


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Old 22-02-2021, 16:35   #77
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

While training new sailors on how to operate their new boats, I would often have them do two practices that seemed to both build competence and confidence. 1st - Pick a fixed marker (not a buoy) with ample water depth on all sides, and from every direction of wind and current, practice bringing the boat to a dead stop exactly at the wheel/tiller location without touching the mark - as if you were pulling into a slip. This can take all afternoon and builds the skill set need to get the boat where you need it under control. Advance this practice to the slip, 1st on a calm day - practice in and out of the slip over and over. Bow in, Bow out, cross winds etc... then practice it singlehanded... when you have crew, it will be a cake walk. Finally, back to the marker in the first example, do it under sail power only - the day will come when you need to pull that off. Keep Smiling and Keep Sailing - you will get there.
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Old 22-02-2021, 17:16   #78
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

I’ve sailed around the world without a mishap and almost ran aground entering a local marina last year. These things happen. If no one was injured and the boat is fine then just chalk it up to experience and get on with next season - having learned from the mistakes.
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Old 22-02-2021, 18:10   #79
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Originally Posted by Mrkva View Post
So, in autumn 2019 I've bought a boat boat together with my friend.
I'm no seasoned skipper, but I've crewed a couple of times on a charter boat and got my European equivalent of ICC.
I've had a tremendous amount of fun in the 2020 season (even though it had been cut short due to covid).

The thing is, when looking at the log for the season, I'm not sure I'm up to it. The list of incidents for my first season as a skipper is:
1) When putting boat back in the water, I've noticed water ingress (read: gushing water) from one seacock with removed hose - the seacock (well, ball valve) had handle in the closed position, but the internal mechanism broke off from the handle, so it wasn't possible to close it at all). So, the boat went back out of the water to replace the valve. What's interesting is that it was fine in the autumn, because I had to use the same seacock as a raw water intake for an engine (the intake through saildrive has been frozen shut with growth/mineral deposits) and I was able to close it just fine.

2) I have not correctly predicted the wind change once, and we had to return during the night. Our marina is in a narrow and somewhat curvy channel, and I ****ed up navigation by two lights aft - not sure what's the correct terminology here. there were two flashing lights behind the boat (on a poles) which are one behind other during when sailing the correct course. I almost ran aground, we had around 30cm of water below, keel. (there was no chart plotter aboard at that time)

3) When leaving the marina for the last time this season, in a strong crosswind, I forgot to pull up the mooring line, which got wrapped up in the propeller. We had not crashed into the breakwater only thanks to the favorable wind.

4) Docking at the slip (or leaving) still makes me worried I'll hit some other boat or the breakwater.

That's about it. The boat ended the season in significantly better shape than when launching (considering she was leaking through saildrive seal, raw water intake hose, engine anti-siphon valve....). But honestly, I'm worried about all the mistakes I've made. Is it normal? How was your first season on the water?
And you think you had it bad??!! Its the rites of passage.
What you had is what most of us went through when we started sailing.
The key is learn from it and do better next time.
It is helpful to be systematic and to think through the tasks.
Enjoy sailing.

Ken Y
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Old 23-02-2021, 02:45   #80
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Hi Mrkva,

If those are the only mishaps you had in your first season I would say you are lucky. Most of us have similar experiences; some of mine are worse (more expensive!).

The best way to learn in sailing is through experience - there’s really no substitute for it.

Keep it up and we’ll see you out on the water some day.

Best wishes,

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Old 23-02-2021, 05:18   #81
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

I have not correctly predicted the wind change once

Sorry this is funny to me. Weather forecasts gets it right only sometimes.
Us newbie sailors will get it wrong most of the time . Here in South Africa
I pay close attention to the weather. The fear from the last trip caught out
in unexpected weather make me watch the weather with great interest all the time
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Old 23-02-2021, 07:33   #82
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

take sailing lessons. For general power boat issues take the free Power Squadron course. Take the series of sailing courses from Keelboat up to bareboat chartering and you will get a thorogh instruction. As you finish each course you will find yourself more in control of your boat. You've had a series of learning experiences. Don't push your luck. Find a local sailing club and offer to crew. They most likely will be glad to have you alog. More experience on OPB (other peoples boats) Bring that experience home to your boat.
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Old 23-02-2021, 07:55   #83
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Boat: Cal25 - Mark II
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Sounds normal to me. Everyone makes mistakes and forgets things. Personally, I leave notes on critical "to do" things. Like - if you close your engine raw water seacock, immediately put a note on your ignition switch - "Open Seacock!". Works for me. Your mileage may vary.
No chartplotter in coastal waters? Unnecessary shortcoming. A chartplotter is essential equipment, but easily solved.
Got a tablet or smartphone? Download "Navionics" or "AquaMaps". Instant chartplotter almost for free.
I use both a tablet and smartphone running these programs at the helm, as well as the built in Garmin chartplotter.
I mostly refer to Navionics for depth contours (seems very accurate) and crosscheck with Garmin and Aquamaps for position.
Garmin is sometimes NOT accurate (probably due to lack of updates (expensive and a pain)
Navionics and Aquamaps are easily updated (many times daily) at the touch of a button.
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Old 24-02-2021, 05:44   #84
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Location: Port Charlotte, FL
Boat: Freedom 38
Posts: 113
Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

I agree with those who have recommended you keep sailing & learning. I also agree with the notion of starting out in small boats to learn the ropes, dynamics & forces at play. I have a further suggestion. Many sailors take boating classes when they start out. We believe it is a good idea to follow up group classes with one-on-one coaching that can take place on YOUR boat and from YOUR dock or mooring. Coaching allows you to practice specific skills of your choosing. We happen to offer these services in US (Ohio in summer, Florida in winter). Sounds like you live across the pond. I’m sure there are people who offer same in Europe/UK. As part of our service we offer a comprehensive safety inspection which identifies potential hazards & helps owner better understand their boat.
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Old 24-02-2021, 14:57   #85
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Wow, thanks everyone for support, and a ton of educative stories! I had no idea it would explode to over 6 pages!

I see there was some misunderstanding about leading lights/range lights. Of course I knew what they are, I knew where to look for them, I had seen them in paper chart. I just had no idea what is the correct English word was.

Yeah, for the next season, I (assuming I'll get to the boat because of covid) plan to spend at least a day or two practicing things I'm least sure about - docking and various close quarters maneuvers. To be honest, I had no illusions about the course / lessons, but on my first day on my own I've probably learned more than during the whole course. I guess it's the same as learning to drive - most people are lousy drivers when they get out of the driving school, and it takes them a lot of driving to get better.

In the meantime, my TODO list of boat works had grown to over 50 items. Yay...
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