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Old 04-08-2013, 02:17 PM   #1
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Did I ever tell ya about the time.....

Anyone who has boated for many years has those tales about the time they almost sunk the boat or hit another boat or dock or did one of those things that was scary at the time but you can chuckle about later. Here's mine, and feel free to add yours. Don't be bashful, most of us have a tale or two to tell.

It was August, 1990 and my wife and I and another couple were on a 45' Bayliner that we had chartered. We were coming out of Victoria harbor, I was at the helm, and it was a truly gorgeous day.

Over the radio a Notice to Mariners was broadcast that there would be a US Navy ship heading out of Puget Sound and through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, traveling at high speed.

We felt fortunate that we would be able to hang around outside the harbor and see this ship go screaming past us. It took awhile before it came into view, but we could see it many miles away. Well, it didn't take long before that ship was really getting larger and larger. It was really hauling ass!

We were just idling along, barely making headway when it passed us and continued out the Straits, about 3/4 mile away from us. We congratulated ourselves (both military vets) on being in the right time and place to see this huge ship go racing past.

Then I saw the wake coming and had one of those AW SHIT moments.

The first wave of the wake was only about 8' high and we rode up and over it with no problem. Then we dropped down into the trough between it and the second wave and I had another of those moments.

We climbed up the face of the second wave, this one looking like it was about 15' high. I applied a bit of power to get the boat over the wake and was feeling pretty good about my skippering skills......until we looked at the canyon between the second and third waves.

After another very long AW SHIT moment we plunged the bow of the boat into the leading edge of that third wake. It looked like it was 50' tall but probably was more like 25'.

My wife was down below so I yelled to her to hang on. The boat shuddered to a stop as the bow kept going deeper and deeper into the wave. We took about a 2' wall of green water over the venturi screen and I really thought we had sunk the boat.

The wall of water washed over the flybridge taking with it all the magazines, sunscreen bottles, books, sunglasses, and everything else that was loose down into the drink. The boat popped back out of the wave and as the wave passed beneath us it almost broached us. Fortunately we had enough power to bring the boat straight onto the wave again and we rode up and over that wave.

There were a couple more waves behind it, but nothing like that third wave. As I looked back at the other couple they were both white as ghosts and hanging on for dear life.

My wife, not knowing what had happened had been thrown around in the cabin and came up madder than hell. She thought I'd been screwing around and caused her misfortune so she was screaming all kinds of things that sailors would be embarrassed to say. Only after she saw the looks on everyone's faces did she calm down a bit.

OK, there's my tale. Let's hear everyone else's.

OH, one thing I forgot to mention is that time frame was when the original invasion of Kuwait was going on. We hadn't been around a TV or radio for the whole time we were on the boat so we weren't aware of it. That ship was headed over there to take part in the war.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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Holy crap I can't touch that for pucker factor. I'm glad everyone was ok.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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About 1980-we owned a 65' Trumpy, wooden and docked in Little River, SC at the dock mentioned in the spring line thread-current running parallel to the dock. We use to take groups of 6 on dinner cruises. Basic rule from me to all on board-"Do Not Do Anything-If I need Help I Will Tell You What To Do!!!!!!" Well, we were pulling away from the dock using the spring line mentioned, from the boat, once around a piling and back to the boat. One guest saw the bow pulling out, saw the line around the piling and thought we were still attached! So he puts one foot on the gunwale and one foot on the dock reaching for the spring line on the piling without telling anyone what he was doing, his wife yelled, my mate yelled at him and he said he was just helping, we forgot to untie! Well, the current caught the bow as planned, and the boat pulled away from the dock with the guy doing the splits. Once caught by the current, I could not get back to the dock so into the water he went with the only thing to hang onto a barnacle encrusted piling! Ruined their dinner cruise!
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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One other-not boat related but pretty funny. I worked at a hotel in Myrtle Beach in the mid-70's. We had a couple from somewhere like Iowa who were fascinated by the tides. They asked our General Manager about them, they wanted to know what happened to the water. He explained that, with so many people on the beach, they had to let some water out to clean the bottom! The couple went away perfectly satisfied with his explanation! it made sense to them!
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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The only truly scary moment we've had on a vessel I've described before in other threads. It occurred on a New Year's eve when a front came in six hours earlier than predicted and we began dragging anchor at 3:00am or whenever toward a railroad trestle that spans the bay we were in. The boat's original electric windless was very slow and it became a race to see whether the anchor would leave the water before we were slammed into the trestle we were being blown down on. My wife was running the boat but she could not come ahead much because the boat would over-run the chain. So despite using power we were continuously losing ground in the wind and waves.

Between the wind, the breaking waves hissing past us, and the waves slamming against the trestle just a few feet (it seemed in the dark) off our stern make for a very disconcerting and noisy moment. I had just decided to let the chain run and cut the line that secures it to the inside of the chain locker (but is long enough to appear on deck) and was reaching for my knife and the windlass clutch wheel when the anchor emerged from the water.

I signaled my wife and she powered us out into the middle of the bay where we spent the next several hours until daylight running an oval holding pattern in the middle of the bay using the GPS plotter.

While this does not qualify as a "stupid things we've done" moment, it is the only moment in boating to date that we have been afraid for the boat's safety and survival. The long-lasting result of this experience was the eventual replacement of our windlass with a much better and faster one and the immediate start of a search for a better anchor.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:51 PM   #6
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Thankfully we haven't had any truly life-threatening situations on the water. But we have had lots of, shall we say, "interesting" experiences.

One of my funnier stories was the first ever crab I ever caught.

My wife and I were on our Catalina 28 sailboat, safely tied up to a buoy in the South Sound. We had purchased a crab ring before this trip, and with that, a catch card (license), and a can of cat food in hand, I thought to try our luck.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, and at least one or two starfish, we pulled the crab ring up and there it was: a beautiful red-rock crab. Not a dungeness, but still an edible, good sized, male crab.

So after putting the crab in a bucket, and cleaning up the gear, I got ready to cook this crab... Of course, this being our first boat, we didn't have a pot to cook it in anywhere on board. But I'm not throwing this thing back -- it's my first crab! So I did what any enterprising young boater would do; I improvised.

Five minutes later I had the small portable grill fully assembled, and the burners lit.

Now, today I would do things differently, but 15 years ago, the next step in the crab cooking process was to put the crab, backside down, straight onto the grill. Wow, I never knew how fast a crab is actually able to turn itself over and run into the cockpit... So... I grab a pair of salad tongs, and pick the crab back up from the cockpit. And I HOLD this crab down on the grill.

Now I don't know how many others on this board have tried to grill a crab. But during the cooking process he screams. Well, I tried to explain to my wife that he's not really screaming, and that the steam is just escaping.. she didn't buy it as she boarded up the companionway, went down below, and blasted the radio.

The other thing I learned during the cooking process is that a crab in the fight of his life is actually quite strong. And adept at flipping over. So... I grabbed two fry-pans. I put a little bit of water in the bottom one, put the crab in between, and cooked the little bugger up.

He looked pretty good. Nice orange color. A little singed around the legs but hey, we have dinner. I even had some wine, melted butter and a caesar salad! So down below with dinner we go... I crack open the crab... and take a bite.

Do you know that smell? The one you get a whif of when walking the beach at low tide? No, not the rotten fish-corpse smell, but the ... it's just the ocean, but it still just smells bad? That is what this crab tasted like. But after the battle of the grill, I refused to let it go to waste. And I ate every. Single. Bit. My wife, not so much.

Now, that's only the first half of the story.

The Cat-28 we were on had a cutting board that fit exactly over the burners on the stove. We used it that night to hold the crab shells. So cleaning up after dinner I picked up the board, leaned over the back transom to dump the shells overboard... and dunked the butter-coated wood into the water, only to let it slip right out of my fingers, and pop up on the surface, just out of reach.

No big deal... walk up to the foredeck to get the boat hook, come back to the stern, reach out with the hook... and knock it just out of reach again. I thought for a second about letting it go, then thought about all the work involved in re-building the exact right sized cutting board.

Pissed off, now I throw the hard-dinghy overboard, throw the oars in, ignore my wife's question of "what are you doing?", jump into the boat and row out to it. I reach into the water, pick it up, and throw the board into the boat.

Then I turn around to start rowing back to the boat... and realize that the tidal current has taken me quite a long ways away from the anchored boat. So I start rowing... and rowing... and rowing... I look over my shoulder, and I'm making progress -- but now there is a little light on the rail, as my wife has taken out the flashlight to see what I'm doing.

I don't know how long it took me to row back to the boat, but like I said in the beginning, it was never life-threatening... but it was long enough to have never dropped my cutting board over the side again.

I also bought a sturdy pot for any other crab caught.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:14 PM   #7
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Ok, a couple of years ago...or so...we were coming into a dock with a twin outboard boat. It was windy and pushing us into the front of the dock. I pulled in with some power because of a slight off dock angle of wind. Right up to the dock with a little reverse power. Nice. My wife is off the boat with line in hand and I step off to help. No problem except the boat seems to be working against us....in the wrong direction. The boat is going against the wind. What's happening? The boat keeps inching out of the slip! Panic. The boat is heading out to sea and I have no idea why. We both keep fighting the lines to no avail. Finally, in a moment of clarity I wrap the bow line around a cleat on the dock, and I step back on the boat to see what's up. I look around and see that I had left the boat in reverse in my haste to help my wife tie up to he dock. DUMB! Lesson learned about checking the transmission.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:04 PM   #8
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Before the sailboat we just sold, my hubby and I had a 20 ft bay boat that he loved to anchor out on Redfish Island (Galveston Bay). It was basically camping. Being on the gulf, we had lots of hot and humid nights when a battery operated fan blowing over a cooler of ice was our only "AC." On nights when the wind suddenly changed direction, he would be up front pulling up the anchor in the dark while the boat bounced around and I hung on petrified with a flashlight shining on him. Of course, you had to climb overboard and wade to shore when nature called... still, we kept doing it. Maybe because the boat was paid for and it was cheap adventure. All during that time we walked the docks looking at 30+ ft boats and dreaming of "better amenities." When we finally bought our 34' O'day, it didn't take us long to name her. Partially because my husband is a music fan and guitar player and partly for reasons of my own, I came up with the perfect name, "Gimmie Shelter"
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Cruising 200 yards or so off of Wassau Island ( Georgia) last summer in our little C-Dory 22 I saw something on the beach that drew my attention. I went in for a closer look not noticing the breaking wave coming up on the port side. Next thing i know is we are surfing sideways towards the beach with the boat at heeled at 40 degrees and the wife at 80 decibelles. Was able to get bow turned back to sea before we got washed up but it was close. Took a lot of water over the transom. Still catching hell about it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:44 AM   #10
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...Was able to get bow turned back to sea before we got washed up but it was close. Took a lot of water over the transom. Still catching hell about it.
A moment of inattention, a lifetime of nagging! I feel for you buddy. I'm still hearing all about when I wrecked my wife's car 4 years, 1 month and 3 days ago! Some things they never forget.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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A moment of inattention, a lifetime of nagging! I feel for you buddy. I'm still hearing all about when I wrecked my wife's car 4 years, 1 month and 3 days ago! Some things they never forget.
Looks like we are going to have to start a for guys only thread. What are the ladies talking about over there? hmmmmm
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:16 PM   #12
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I'm still hearing all about when I wrecked my wife's car 4 years, 1 month and 3 days ago! Some things they never forget.
Al,

I would like to hear about that. How about some details? Where you being reckless? Speeding? Inquirying minds need to know.

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:08 PM   #13
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Al,

I would like to hear about that. How about some details? Where you being reckless? Speeding? Inquirying minds need to know.

Ron
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:47 PM   #14
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When I was 12 or 13 we were sailing my uncles S2 out of Annapolis going to St. Michaels. I was at the helm and in control. I had just graduated junior sailing at the yacht club, I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING, I knew the rules. Anyway, pop and uncle Harry were below and a ship is coming up the channel. No worries, I'm on a starboard tack, I'm sailing, I've got the right of way, I keep going. The ship gets bigger and bigger and turns out it is a HUGE submarine. All of the sudden, there are fast moving gun boats coming at us, lights and sirens. Curious, Harry comes up, pushes me out of the way and jibes us. We get out of the way and are sternly reprimanded by the Coast Guard gun boat guys. Harry lost his temper in a way that I will never forget. But I have the right of way.......

Picture, not that day but a cool submarine picture off Pearl
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:58 PM   #15
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When I was 12 or 13 we were sailing my uncles S2 out of Annapolis going to St. Michaels. I was at the helm and in control. I had just graduated junior sailing at the yacht club, I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING, I knew the rules. Anyway, pop and uncle Harry were below and a ship is coming up the channel. No worries, I'm on a starboard tack, I'm sailing, I've got the right of way, I keep going. The ship gets bigger and bigger and turns out it is a HUGE submarine. All of the sudden, there are fast moving gun boats coming at us, lights and sirens. Curious, Harry comes up, pushes me out of the way and jibes us. We get out of the way and are sternly reprimanded by the Coast Guard gun boat guys. Harry lost his temper in a way that I will never forget. But I have the right of way.......

Picture, not that day but a cool submarine picture off Pearl
Back on that day you were what the commercial guys call a WAFI. (Wind Assisted "Freakin" Idiot).

But I'm sure it was a big learning moment for you!!!!
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:59 PM   #16
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Have you ever said anything that when the words came out you wished you could reach out into the air, grab the words, and stuff them back into your mouth? It has happened a couple of times in my life to date. The last time it happened was Friday, June 13, 2003. Don’t you find it amazing that I would actually remember the day and date? The reason that I do, is that I have lived to regret it so much, it is burned into my memory. Here is the setting of the stage for the disastrous event. Luke Sterling was leading the “Summer Solstice” cruise set for June 14 – 22. Peggy is almost always in favor of getting an early start on most trips. On this trip she had pushed for a Friday after work departure for the Baffle Point anchorage. How many people reading this know to never start a voyage on a Friday? How many people reading this know better than starting a voyage on Friday the 13th? It was just like spitting in the face of all those superstitions. The departure from the marina went well that warm and fateful evening (the music changes to a chilling tone). We were motoring down the ship channel when the first weather alert came over the VHF radio “Severe weather alert for areas of northern Harris County”. We took the weather alert with little concern since we were in Galveston County, and continued along our way. A second weather alert came over the VHF radio, “Severe weather alert for areas of southern Harris County”, why should we worry, we are not only in Galveston County, but now we are in southern Galveston County and we continued on our trip. We arrived at the Baffle Point anchorage just as the sun was setting. I set the Bruce anchor in 8 feet of water and let out a good 10 to 1 scope on the rode. While setting the anchor I checked the northern sky and noted with caution the dark ominous sky (more chilling music). I fine meal of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, salad, and bread was at hand in the galley below deck. At dinner we enjoyed discussing our plans and routes for the pending down coast cruise. After dinner around 2230 hours I went on deck to check the set of the anchor. That is when I saw it. The severe weather they had forecast for the northern counties was just about to arrive in southern Galveston County. I scurried below to make all the preparations I could for what looked like the worst weather I had ever experienced. I explained the situation to Peggy and she asked if severe weather could roll the boat over. I paused the storm preparations and said something to the effect that the only reason she would ask such a question was she was ignorant. I felt like I could see the words coming out of my mouth and crashing into her questioning face. Just as I saw the pain of the words coming across her face, New Life took a giant lurch and rolled 45 degrees to starboard. The anchor drag alarm on the GPS began to sound immediately as the weather hit. I scrambled to put on my foul weather gear and dashed out the companionway into the storm and the Admiral was not far behind. I started up the engine, placed the transmission in forward and headed into the raging seas from the North. My goal was to hold my position in relation to the Bolivar peninsula directly to the South. The oncoming waves were so high that when the bow would plunge into the South bound waves the bowsprit with the navigation lights mounted on top of the pulpit would disappear into the waves leaving a red and green glow underwater. I put the Admiral at the helm with instructions on how to interpret the GPS readings and our relationship to the nearby, lighted oil platform. The goal was to hold a position in the same general area as I was anchored in originally. The Admiral, now at the helm, had realized the meaning of my ruthless words spoken previously. Similar to other severe storms crossing the bay the weather only lasted about an hour. The boat began to settle down and we were once again on the hook secure. Although the weather storm has passed I still (on occasion) experience the storm that the word ignorant caused in the relationship. In my own defense it was just a poor choice of words at the time of pending disaster. What I really meant to say was “the only reason you would ask, “would the boat roll over in severe weather” is that you are inexperienced.” I guess the morale of the story is live, learn, and pay for your mistakes.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:23 PM   #17
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I guess the morale of the story is live, learn, and pay for your mistakes.
Yeh, but for the rest of your life? (great story!)
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:08 AM   #18
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I heard a good line the other day that applies to most of these tales.....

"Bad decisions make for great stories."
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:32 PM   #19
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Several years ago, I was driving my wife’s Toyota Sienna in in the LA area looking at colleges with my wife and youngest daughter. It was 530PM on Hwy 101 heading west toward Camarillo. The rush hour traffic had started to thin out and we were able to cruise with the pack at 60-65 mph. As the speeds picked up again, I asked my wife to see if my sleeping daughter had her seat belt on. She did not, so Meg woke her and made her put her belt on.

About 5-10 minutes later, my wife exclaimed that a guy in a black car behind and to the right was veering into our lane. Since I was in the left lane, I had a shoulder to my left, so I drove half a car width in the shoulder area as I hit the horn. The guy corrected into his lane and I moved back into my lane… but he went too far and continued into the other lane to his right. He immediately over corrected again, this time slamming his left front fender into our back right wheel. I started to spin to the right and was able to stop it, but the right rear tire was blown and I now started spinning counter-clockwise as I drifted across five lanes of rush hour traffic. The women were screaming inside my car while I tried to reassure them that we’d be alright. The faces revolving around me in the other cars all looked shocked as they hit their brakes making room for us to spin by. After two or three revolutions, some were even starting to look familiar!

We stopped spinning as we reached the right shoulder without hitting any other cars. The engine had stalled and my brakes were hardly effective. I was now rolling backwards toward a 10 ft gully and couldn’t stop the car. That’s when the back left corner of the car hit the last 3 ft of a guard rail and we came to a stop perpendicular to the roadway. A quick check confirmed everyone was OK and without injury. My girls were shaken up, but we all survived.

We got out and realized that we had just dodged a bullet by missing all those car as we careened across five lanes of LA rush hour traffic only to catch the last section of guard rail before the ditch. The guy in the black car ended up pinning his car along the jersey barrier in the left shoulder and was uninjured. Our car’s back right wheel was severely out of whack with significant rear axle, wheel and fender damage. I figured the 11 year old minivan would be considered a total loss and it was.

That Sienna was my wife’s pride and joy, but she quickly got over the loss when we bought a Lexus RX-400h to replace the minivan. But I’ll forever be known as the one who wrecked her car. I prefer to think of it as being the one who saved their lives with my superb driving skills, but I think I’m alone in that perspective!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:51 PM   #20
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But Iíll forever be known as the one who wrecked her car. I prefer to think of it as being the one who saved their lives with my superb driving skills, but I think Iím alone in that perspective!
J---s C----t, Al! my wife would still not be talking to me if that happened when I was driving! (Actually, it's a safe bet we wouldn't even be married.)
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