It's a new year, and with it will come some embarrassing moments while boating, whether its mistakes we've made or situations we encounter, whether its something that has happened to us in the past or maybe something we will experience in the future, we all have had them and always will.
Boat US has an article posted on its website that I found interesting this first full week of the new year, and while their list of ways to avoid these situations is helpful, I thought maybe a personal experience or two may prove helpful to others.
According to the story on the Boat US website, "Landlubbers make resolutions for the New Year. Recreational boaters, however, will usher in 2014 wishing for good fishing, wind in the sail, or a full tank of fuel. But that’s not all that sometimes happens on the water. Murphy and his “law” make appearances. “It’s hard to track some of these things, because no one likes to admit it,” said BoatUS Vice President Public Affairs Scott Croft. “But based on past experience, we know some of these boating ‘moments’ will happen to boat owners in the New Year, so we’ve gathered some tools and tips to avoid these troubles.”
Long ago I resolved to never repeat some of my most outrageous embarrassing moments, and so far so good for most of them.
The first would be the day I decided I was experienced enough to sail into the mooring field and catch my mooring. Problem being that as I came into the cadre of boats in our mooring field the wind cycled a bit more to the north, the boom came around, I panicked and spun around to exit before I got into a more populated area, trouble began when the jib jibbed and puff of wind filled the sail on a heading straight for another boat. I tried steering directly into the wind to kill the sails, stalled temporarily, but while I was trying to drop the main, the jib caught the wind once again, and this time it was too late, my bow was heading directly amidships of an unknown members boat. I attempted to fend off said boat by running up to the bow and pushing off, which I did, but not until the other captain shot out from his cabin screaming, "What the........" My bow did knock into the side of the other boat, but gently, I fumbled for an explanation as he accused me of being drunk. I kept apologizing as I was trying to push off. He noticed my young son was aboard with me, which tempered the situation some. He grumbled something, as I drifted past his stern.
I made it to a clear area, dropped the Jib, and put the motor on. Since then I have learned how to sail onto my mooring in light air, but ever since then I have been super cautious and motored in more often than not.
The other embarrassment I intend on keeping myself from repeating is falling overboard, for no good reason at all. One day I was at the club early in the season, and I noticed a few sticks on the small roof over the cockpit of our work barge. They weren't especially hard to reach from a standing position on the deck, but I decided to step up on the railing that runs along the side of the barge. After clearing the debris off the roof I went to step down to the deck, completely lost my balance and started falling towards the back of the boat, where there was a locker and the outboard motor and mount. Knowing it was going to hurt, I pushed off with the one foot still on the railing, and took a nosedive into about 5 feet of cold water. It was only the beginning of april and it was freezing. My wallet, phone, everything soaked.
Having so spare clothing, I trudged up to the clubhouse, stripped all but naked, started a fire in the fireplace, and hung out till my clothes were dry enough to put back on, all of the contents of my wallet on the table.
Luckily nobody was there to see it, and if I have my druthers, it will never happen again!