View Full Version : Dumb and dumber

07-25-2001, 12:47 PM
The story begins:

"I was taxing a Cessna 140 through a line of parked planes, trying to gauge the distance between their wing-tips by the shadows on the ground. ...Cost me forty-five dollars to replace the cover on the nav light of a Piper!"

"Yeah, but that was a plane! What was the dumbest thing you ever did in a BOAT! (that didn't involve a woman, I mean)?"

"Well," you say, "There was the time that I..."

Adam C
07-25-2001, 01:18 PM
Caved in the transom of a Bayliner when the wind puffed and I shifted into forward instead of reverse while trying to dock a few years back.

Real nice. Cost me only a grand, though....

Wayne Jeffers
07-25-2001, 01:35 PM
" . . . was shooting the rapids in my drift boat and I came upon a vertical drop of about 12 feet. I recognized the situation too late and we were plunged over the precipice. Fortunately, we landed in a large pool, rather than crashing onto rocks. As we gained our bearings upon re-surfacing, we saw that our boat had survived intact and began to swim toward it. Suddenly, up the river screamed a jetskeet, and it occurred to me at once that we had failed to keep our powder dry, just when we needed it most. The jetskeet bore down on us, but just in time, there appeared . . ."

[This message has been edited by Wayne Jeffers (edited 07-25-2001).]

07-25-2001, 02:13 PM
MOVING(not the thing to do) in a thick fog in a small 16 foot boat across a ships channel in Boston Haarboor---fortunately we came right up to a red channel buoy---we stuck close to it as we heard a ships horn ( a mighty big sound!)--a few seconds later we saw the ship pop out of the fog and pass at about 15 knots( those big guys don't slow down in a fog)--and we would have been right in its path had we not seen that buoy---it just was'nt our time I guess. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gifSometimes the thought of it can give me a chill even though its been 45 years---I thank God again.

[This message has been edited by norske (edited 07-25-2001).]

Todd Bradshaw
07-25-2001, 02:23 PM
Too many to count...
Shot a break in a dam in a decked whitewater canoe - spent about 20 minutes caught in the roller while watching it tear the ends off my boat. When we got out and loaded the boat on the car, parts of it flapped in the breeze...

Decided to adjust the lee shroud on a Hobie 16 while sailing in the middle of a lake - a small header came-up just after I pulled the pin and dropped the whole rig... What made it worse is that I was a Hobie dealer and the other people on the boat were customers taking a demo ride.

Crowded a friend who was surfing a river wave in a kayak - he suddenly popped out and impaled the bottom of his boat on the pointy bow of my low volume slalom kayak, just missing his crotch...he was pisssssed!

etc, etc, etc... If one learns from one's mistakes, I probably have a Ph.D by now.

07-25-2001, 03:12 PM
...varnished aloft up the mast, in the wind, next to some multi-million dollar plastic power yacht...

John B
07-25-2001, 03:19 PM
I hacksawed a chain on deck once. No problem for a week or so.
Then 10 years later, I hacksawed a chain on deck but I covered the whole area with a drop sheet. No problem for a week or so.

07-25-2001, 03:38 PM
Listened (or didn't) when somebody said nobody had stayed dry in an open conoe trying to go through 'The Toilet Bowl'. Hmm it looks like if we back paddle there we'll ferry some and then if we shoot forward with enough power... Jeez where did that rock come from. wrapped that canoe right around it. Fortunately it was fiberglass. Unfortunately it was a rental and since I'd also rented a raft the deposit was $500.

07-25-2001, 04:04 PM
College sailing club. My first outing. Only one complete neophyte with me. I was supposed to be the expert.

They sailed a little racing dinghy, about thirteen foot. I can't recall the class. Sail bags in hand I and the novice headed to the end of a pier where our boat was bobbing. Being used to slightly larger, less spritely, craft I pulled on the bow line to get within jumping distance, and jumped onto the foredeck. The little devil turned turtle sending a $150.00 rudder that had been laying on the floor boards to the bottom of a 100 ft. of water, and me into the reservoir.

Doesn't seem like much now, but I was EMBARASSED.

Greg H
07-25-2001, 06:23 PM
About 16 years ago...
First time going out alone on a 28' Owens. I backed her out of the slip nice and slow, got her turned just right and was ready to shift out of reverse. I took my hand off the lever for just a moment, looks good, now forward into neutral......and it's the throttle I shove forward....s***. Pull it back, slip the shift into neutral then into forward stall engine and back firmly into dock. Made a lovely hole in the transom. At least their were no witnesses......No more powerboats for me, Greg

[This message has been edited by Greg H. (edited 07-25-2001).]

John B
07-25-2001, 07:37 PM
Another thing that happened,....We were in a vintage boat race some years ago,( about 1990) sliding up a lee shore ( Cheltenham beach)in about 10 knots,hard on the wind, calm sea. There was a bigger yacht just out to weather and we were catching it. The wind would back and we would point up to lay a safe line but then it would fill and we wouldn’t (just).
The thing about this beach is the way it steeply shelves from about 15 ft of water to 2 ft of water in about 10ft.
So here’s John, sitting down to leeward, watching the wind , pinching her up a bit higher, just trying to lay through because the tack would cost us dearly.
Kirsty says to me , “ whats that funny water up in front?”
I refocussed from the woolies to the water and saw a patch of jumping brown water directly off the bow and threw the tack in.

She answered truly, did the Waione, she really tried to complete the tack, but she’s a bit deeper when straight up and down ,compared to a 20 degree heel.
We went half way. We had probably been sliding along the shelf for some time. We stopped, pointing directly into the wind, sails flapping, a couple of extra inches of freeboard.
“Right” I thought, as the rest of the fleet sailed past ( making rude remarks,) “ get in the dinghy , row the anchor out , pull her round, go”
Problem was, no dinghy because we were racing. Didn’t have a motor in the boat.
Kirsty waved down a passing fizz boat and they hooked us up and pulled our bow sideways a couple of feet and we dropped off and went.

We completed the race in “ we might as well finish but we’re disqualified mode”, over took the other yachts to leeward, got the gun and told the race steward about the incident. He adjudged that we hadn’t been advantaged and we won the race. We won that same trophy again this year so the story is fresh in my mind.

What sticks in my mind?
#1 I was embarassed, but we were in the money.
#2 Kirsty is smarter than me.

chris passante
07-25-2001, 09:13 PM
Stepped clear through a rotted plank on a dock, fell through, wedged myself up to my chest til I could bearely breathe. Waist-deep in cold springtime water, in my right hand a fresh beer, in my left an electric drill i was using to repair the dock, cord attached...
I dropped the beer.

[This message has been edited by desiderate (edited 07-25-2001).]

Bob Cleek
07-25-2001, 09:33 PM
The absolutely dumbest thing you can ever do on a boat is admit you did anything dumb! That's the first thing you ever learn in OCS... You can't call yourself a skipper unless you've learned this lesson well!

Ed Harrow
07-25-2001, 09:40 PM
Whew, that was close! I've never done anything dumb in a boat. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

07-25-2001, 09:47 PM
Never did anything dumb...honest I didn't...honest.
Well there was that time we tried to get from the Marin Headlands,across racoon straights and then to the bay bridge in a very heavy fog.
THE SPIRITS WERE WITH US,as we crossed,a tug with a very heavy and long tow slipped pass our port side.That sound I thought was the gate horn was the tug telling me to get the hell out of his way.

Phil Young
07-25-2001, 11:28 PM
A friend of mine was working on his deck, recanvassing. Had to remove the bowsprit of course. To keep the deck clear he placed the bowsprit in the dinghy which was conveniently alongside. How could that be you ask? Well the dinghy was tied to the bowsprit. Would you believe the dinghy just sat there next to the boat? On the same day he dropped a nice shifting spanner overboard. So up pops a diver, rubbing his head, Is this yours mate? Dumb, but lucky.

07-26-2001, 06:03 AM
Once I thought I had made a dumb mistake, but I wuz wrong!

and there ain't nuthin' on a Piper worth 45 bucks, they iz all made of five and dime parts. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by paladinsfo (edited 07-26-2001).]

Hugh Paterson
07-26-2001, 06:34 AM
Worked In a boatyard couple of years back taking tourists in Bonnie Scotland up and down one of our famous Lochs. Great Job wonderful backdrop lucky git, blah blah blah.
First thing every morning used to do all the usual checks on our boats before we turned them to face upcurrent/river, prior to the first run of the day.
All the crew had been out on the razz the Night before, so there I was on my lonesome
behind schedule. Ran out of patience started turning all the boats myself, doddle if ya know what your doing.
Last boat 58ft x 16 ft x 70 tons. 8 (ish) knot current running downstream past the pontoon, and approx 65ft of channel to
carry out the manouvere in, and lots n lots of nice plastic boats on both side of the river. Execute the finest damn 180 degree turn you ever saw too leave the boat pointing upstream (no bowthruster single screw lots of panache). Whacked it onto the berth and casually stepped out of the wheelhouse to pick up a brest rope/spring. As the way came off I jumped down on to the pontoon. IMAGINE the look of surprise on my
face when I bent down to tie it off on the stags head, to find that the spliced eye of the berthing rope had come off of the boats
bollard and that my fine vessel was still in
reverse gear slowly going astern down river towards all those nice shiny Bayliners (damn no jet skis). I swear the surge of energy I got from the shock of it all enabled me to clear a 10ft gap from a standing start. Next time I will wait for my sozzled crew!


Nora Lee
07-26-2001, 07:37 AM
Picture it, 4th of July, Mystic Seaport, had spent the night walking with ghosts of sailing ships. While waiting for the bridge on the Mystic River, I urge the Captain to maneuver the O'day 22 that we owned so that I could capture the entire Charles W. Morgan in the photo frame. The O'day only drew 22" so we really never worried much about running aground, well guess what there we were sitting on a sand bar.

Out comes a long boat with 8 oarsman, stroke,stroke, stroke. Instead of pulling our stern off they pulled us harder aground, we are now part of the weekend entertainment. The cockswain tells us it is about slack tide, so we will just have to wait until high tide, well the tide was still running out, at low it left only 6" so our little "Delft Blew" lay on her side looking forlorn.

The Captain went below for a very cranky nap, as there was no other comfortable spot aboard in the 115 degree heat, I hopped overboard to play in the water. Discovered that we were smack in the middle of a very prolific clam bed so proceeded to harvest.

It was noon when we started this adventure and we didn't return to the dock from whence we came until about 8pm, no bridge opening until the next day.

We were invited aboard a Cheoy(sp?)Lee 42 for some hard earned drinks, and discovered that we had been aboard her before at the NY Boat Show 1973. Made some new friends and those clams were delicious!


Seth Wood
07-26-2001, 08:40 AM
I was fifteen or sixteen, old enough to know better, sitting with my younger brother (also old enough to know better) on my grandfather's 40' trimaran, powering back home on a windless Chesapeake summer afternoon. Suddenly I'm struck by a brilliant idea! Strap a float cushion to my belly, hang on to a rope, and slalom around the wake like a tiddlywink. Genius!

Except, after my gleeful leap off the stern, the cushion dragged down to my waist and began to scoop up water, pulling me under. It was all I could do to keep my face above water. Nearly drowned. Pulling myself hand over hand back to the boat was almost as exhausting as the time I...

...went surf paddling a few years later with the same brother, at the Outer Banks just after a March storm. This was criminally idiotic, as there were rows and rows of breaking waves on the shoaling water. We made it out, but I capsized on the way in, got separated from my boat, and nearly succumbed to hypothermia and exhaustion before making it in to shore. Seven months later I ran a marathon, and discovered that I'd hit "The Wall" while trying to swim to shore. It was more tiring than the marathon. And much more stupid!

These days I try to think before jumping in.

Roger Cumming
07-26-2001, 11:28 AM
New boat, first voyage. Equipment consists of all required USCG items, radio and compass. We set off for Block Island, sailing east across Block Island Sound. Visibility slowly decreases until we are in our own little patch of water about one block or less in diameter. The last leg is 15 or so miles of dead reckoning allowing for a cross current. Amazingly, we eventually hear the horn at the entrance to the New Harbor in Block but we can't find the breakwater. We encounter other boats also lost who begin to follow us as we look as if we know where we are going. Everyone yelling and panicing. I look down into the water not knowing its depth, terrified that it is too shallow. Visibility now less than 100 feet. We decide, stupidly, to abandon attempts to find the entrance and turn around, in dense fog, to head for Montauk 17 miles away hoping that there would be less fog. The waters between Block Island and Montauk carry heavy tug traffic as well as submarines in and out of New London. We soon enough hear the short, loud repeated blasts of a ship's horn very close by. My entire life and that of my companion passes before our eyes. A tug appears about the size of a 4 or 5 story brownstone throwing up a huge bow wave, heading south, and we are not directly in front of him - either he changed course having picked us up on radar, or we were just lucky. It churns by and we see a big steel cable coming off its stern - there's a barge coming! Using the compass, we get away from there, out of what we imagine is the path of the barge. We know we must cross the stern of the barge in order to continue on west towards Montauk. We know these cables can be very long. So we wait 15 or 20 minutes and then return to our course. We never did see (or hear) that barge! We found Montauk with the help of the lighthouse, and the fog was less there and we managed to get in safely. The next week I had the boat hauled and had a depth finder installed.

I've often thought how stupid it was to head for the deep water when the fog set in, not monitoring the radio, in a boat not adequately equipped to sail in poor visibility.

07-27-2001, 06:49 AM
There I was hung over and proabably still a little drunk. Stationed on the little island of Guam in the South Pacific. Couple of buddies of mine wake up one morning and say "Hey, lets go surfing." Me, not knowing how to surf says "Sure!" So of we go. At the beach I'm watching them surf and I decided that I will go reef walking. Being the smart guy that I am I decided that the best thing to do is to take my shoes of so they will stay dry.

Well here I go. The breakwater is proabably 80 yards or so offshore. Well that is where I'm headed. Doing pretty good, I've been in the ocean pleanty and have a good idea how to handle the waves. Did you know the waves act different when they break over a coral reef instead of a sandy beach?

Almost to the breakwater and I look up, and lo and behold there is the second biggest wave that I have ever seen. I quickly turn my back to it and brace my feet firmly into the reef. The wave slams into my back and easily picks me up. The next thing I know I'm bodying surfing along the reef at an amazing rate of speed. I have my hands and feet out in front of me trying to slow myself down.

Finally I recover and regain my feet. Just as soon as I get back up on my feet and get my bearings I look up and see the BIGGEST wave I have ever seen. Well I brace myself again and yet once again I go surfing down the reef. This wave carries me almost all the way to shore.

I gingerly get out of the ocean and make my way back to the car leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind. The reef had managed to shred the bottoms of my feet and the palms of my hands, but my shoes were still dry.

My buddies informed me after it was all over that just to my right hand side was a batch of correl that they called "fire correl" and that I was lucky that I didn't get into it. As it is I still have spots in the bottom of my foot from that eventful ride.

Chad Smith

[This message has been edited by cs (edited 07-27-2001).]

07-27-2001, 08:03 AM
Mr.BoB C, go ahead--let it out--you can tell us---we promise not to tell anyone --join the Dumb Club, --loosen up and have a little fun--I doubt if the OCS cares now http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

Scott Rosen
07-27-2001, 11:32 AM
I was probably about 19 years old. I was crewing on a friend's Thistle. His wife was the other crew. This was back in the early 70's and things were a little looser back then. On this particular day, certain of my body parts were very much looser.

When I got out of bed that morning, I threw on a pair of shorts. These were old canvas cut-offs that I had worn almost thread-bare. No underwear, of course.

Sailing out to the starting line, I was sitting on the windward gunnel and my friend's wife was directly opposite me to leeward. I felt a gentle cool breeze in an unusual place and looked down at my crotch. The shorts had ripped on the inner leg seam all the way up to the crotch. My entire private parts were hanging out for all to see, and there was no place left in those tattered shorts to stuff my privates back into. I would have been better protected with a loin cloth.

On a Thistle, you do a kind of hiking called "droop hiking." When you droop hike, you need to have a certain amount of support or your legs will crush your privates like a vise. On that day, I had no such support.

Neither my friend nor his wife ever said a word. They were the politest, most considerate people I knew.

Embarassment and Pain. We finished okay that day and I continued to sail with these friends. But after that day, I always wore underwear and a good pair of shorts.

07-27-2001, 11:50 AM
Time I, as an adolescent got caught skinny dipping in the cold pool up in Spring Draw the girls weren't so considerate. So, dont sweat the little things, Scott. As my ole grandmama used to say, "If they've seen em before it don't matter and if they aint they wont know what they are."


07-27-2001, 12:39 PM
In 1972-1973, when I was about 12 or 13, my friends & I used to practically live in the islands and salt marshes of the rivers around us(Navesink River,Jersey shore). We would collect the derelict small boats that were usually available out there and add them to "our fleet". One pretty cold & windy day, probably Novembner or March, we took one of our 'creek boats' out, kind of late in the afternoon. We stopped on one of the outer islands & pulled the old rowboat up on the beach a bit to walk around the island looking for any good 'salvage material'. After circling the island, we came around the last bend only to see that the incoming tide had gotten to our boat before we had. She was afloat, and the good stiff breeze was moving her right along, parallel to the beach. We all took off at a sprint for about 200yards until we ran out of island with the boat still ahead. I was the fastest runner and figured with no one else on the river & land a good 1/2 a mile away that I couldn't let the end of the island stop me. With boots, coat & hat on I kept running as fast as I could. I managed to just catch up to it when I was up to my chest and less than 50' from the edge of the channel.
Moral of the story, don't forget the ground tackle! It was a cool row back home that day.

07-27-2001, 12:52 PM
Actually, I've revised my opinion of the dumbest thing I ever did in a boat. It was charging about at full speed, at midnight, with a brother, both of us blind with drink, in a powerboat, on a relatively small lake, looking for the mouth of a river, in the hope of finding a bar we knew was open late there, without compass, on a dense weather night. I'm chagrined to say, I was driving.

Years ago.

Garrett Lowell
03-10-2005, 08:30 AM
LOL! Some good ones here.

03-10-2005, 08:33 AM
Hang out a public ramp or a fuel dock and you'll feel much better about your own mistakes!