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Old 15-02-2021, 16:04   #1
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First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

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?
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Old 15-02-2021, 16:20   #2
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

You didn't sink, and you didn't die.

It sounds like nobody sank, and nobody died.

It's all part of learning. That seems like a pretty short list for a whole season. Get out & sail more!
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Old 15-02-2021, 16:23   #3
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Soooo you are not alone in any of these stories. In fact by now you are probably laughing about them yourself at this point. What makes me greatful that you are reconsidering whether sea life is for you is that you are wondering if sea life ISNT for you! We are always learning, we all make mistakes, and experience makes us all better!! I once forgot to tie up a stern line that wrapped around my propeller and bent my entire prop shaft preventing my boat from navigating...it happens lol. Enjoy it. You have to take the good with the bad!

Ran into a dock and took a chunk out of it

Left an outboard attached to my dingy in rough weather while it was being towed...it fell off dingy and sunk in 100+ feet of water

Was to lazy to tie a messenger line and thought electrical tape would be sufficient to replace a crazed topping lift...it came undone in the mast and dropped to deck...we were in 5 foot seas when I decided to complete this chore...because why not

Dropped probably a months worth of my salary in tools over board while trying to fix a windmill

Went into an unknown to us bay at night and ran over many many morning balls

And these are the only ones I remember (you’ll learn to surpress your mistakes to the inner recess of your mind lol)
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Old 15-02-2021, 16:45   #4
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Human beings do *stuff* that they later label "mistakes", sort of indicating they have found ways to not do that particular thing again. (So do other animals, but it's beside the point.) One might relabel them "learning events". So, I want to ask you, do you now look at charts to see what depths to expect? Do you know how to use stern lead lights now? How do you remember what to do with lines before you put the engine in gear? [make it a habit to check for lines in the water] How do you now approach mooring fields at night?

Show us what you learned, mate. And take it from me, weather reports can be WRONG (totally or only partially), so maybe you need to always have a plan to deal with a wind shift that doesn't mean trying to get back in your slip in the dark?, or for doing it in the dark?

Maybe you've had a year of learning lots of little bits and pieces. Maybe it has been a fruitful year in that sense. And, just my opinion, but it's good to be wary, else how would you improve?

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Old 15-02-2021, 17:08   #5
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Completely agree!! I was simply sharing my mishaps/learning events with mrkva as to encourage a fellow sailer to stick with it!!
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Old 15-02-2021, 18:16   #6
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Sounds like pretty much anyone’s first year. That’s why it’s often suggested to start on small boats first. Inexpensive toys.

Unless you have a seasoned person on board with you all the time, you’re going to make mistakes the first season.

Think about skiing for example. First day, you’re on the ground quite a bit.
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Old 15-02-2021, 18:46   #7
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayakerChuck View Post
You didn't sink, and you didn't die.

It sounds like nobody sank, and nobody died.
Yeah, nobody got hurt and nothing got damaged. Fortunately.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin85 View Post
...


Dropped probably a months worth of my salary in tools over board while trying to fix a windmill

Went into an unknown to us bay at night and ran over many many morning balls

And these are the only ones I remember (you’ll learn to surpress your mistakes to the inner recess of your mind lol)
Yeah, I guess I'll learn that as well. I mean, when I comapre it to my first year with drivers license, it's still fine. But it's a bit different to be alone in a car, and to have a crew you're responsible for.


JPA Cate: Yeah, I've learned a lot. I guess it won't hurt if you learn some things the hard(er) way? (Regarding that night time thing, I was fully prepared to bail out and spend night out in the sea before entering the channel. But I wanted to push through once I was in the channel).

Benjamin85: oh, your list of mishaps made me realize I forgot about seeing partially frayed metal/wire genoa halyard, that got wrapped around forestay the moment we tried lifting it. Fortunately, we've managed to replace it before sailing anywhere.

Generally, the thing is - I'm well aware of the mistakes I've made. It makes me regret things half a year after season ended. And I'm sure I'll do my best to not repeat them. I'm just worried that for every thing I learn there's three more things I have not learned and I should have. And that I'll **** something up and it will adversely affect people I care about (but I guess the same thing applied to me when I learned how to drive). If I was 10 years younger, I'd buy a boat and try to sail across Atlantic with no prior experience.
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Old 15-02-2021, 18:53   #8
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Sounds like a typical season for some of the guys around here. And some of them have been sailing for 20 years. When we first purchased our boat the depth sounder plug was left out for the initial launch. Sailing at night and using range lights is not easy, but having 30 cm below the keel is having 30 cm below the keel. What was the problem? Mooring lines can get tangled in the prop. It happens. Docking is a challenge with different variables every time. The more practice you can get, the better. Welcome to the club!
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Old 15-02-2021, 19:40   #9
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

We all have seasons like that even after a lot more years. We either just don't notice now or we have learned how to hide our mistakes... or blame them on someone else.
I'd say yer doing fine. Nothing better than a few small failures to sharpen your skills, and attention.
Now should I mention the time I got an anchor line wrapped around the prop when I was dragging anchor? Or the time I nearly burned up an engine because I didn't notice an oil leak? Or the time I didn't really tie up the NEW RIB well and the wind that came up took it away in the middle of the night? No! I will NEVER mention those things!
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Old 15-02-2021, 19:48   #10
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

We've all been there....someone of us more than once.

Good Luck

Abe
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Old 15-02-2021, 21:26   #11
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

You're doing wonderfully!

Let's see..... I've been sailing for about 29 years. Done about 90,000 miles including a circumnavigation. Just this last year (mainly while doing day charters):

- lost the dinghy outboard. Found it again, after we enlisted the assistance of a local diving club who used our mis-hap as a training exercise.

- T-boned a concrete dock after the engine cut out shifting into reverse and then wouldn't start again. Put a hole in the bow about a square foot in size. All with the charter-guests-to-be standing on the dock waiting for their ride. They opted for dinner on the dock instead........

- Ran out of fuel having just left the dock (literally ten seconds after leaving the dock) with 24 guests aboard. The owner went off in the dinghy and filled a jerry can with diesel, then we got it into the tank by sneaking the can down into the engine room, removing the fill hose and pouring it into the tank directly. Then bleeding the system and cranking the engine during periods when the music was particularly loud and obnoxious. I think we got away with it too! Nobody even noticed!

- bent the anchor by getting it stuck in some rocks.

- broke the transom off the dinghy by overloading it with six large guests on a turtle-finding expedition.

That's all that springs to mind at the moment. I'm sure there's more....

So, in short, yes, I think you're good. Carry on!
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Old 16-02-2021, 03:45   #12
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

we all make mistakes - that's fine : just be sure to learn from them !

i also suggest that you keep the boat small enough that you can make these mistakes (and thereby learn) without it becoming just an expensive way of killing somebody or damaging somebody else's boat

good luck

cheers,
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Old 16-02-2021, 04:00   #13
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

Just the fact that you are logging your minor mistakes and near accidents for later evaluation, makes me think you are more at home at sea than several guys at my home harbour, with more than 10 years of experience.


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Old 16-02-2021, 05:20   #14
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

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Originally Posted by Mrkva View Post
o

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?
Sounds normal to me. It has been 12 years for me now and most of the problems still have the same basic source, me.
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Old 16-02-2021, 05:53   #15
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Re: First season mistakes (or should I give up before I kill someone?)

As many others have already said, all part of learning. Don't let the mistakes get to your head and keep having fun!
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