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Thread: Stupid boat trick!

  1. #1
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    Default Stupid boat tricks!

    Here's my favourite
    Accidentally hooking my spare life jacket on the aft end of my lugsail yard, hoisting it, and then sailing around in circles for 10 minutes looking for it. Only finding it when the wind dies, I lower the sail and find the jacket. I will admit to having done this twice, albeit almost a year between the two times.
    I can only imagine what sort of message other boaters thought I was trying to convey.
    Last edited by Toxophilite; 01-22-2023 at 01:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    anyone asks just say it was wet and you wanted to dry it

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Pictures! We want pictures!!
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Sigh sadly no pictures. I would have to stage one now, which is not nearly as fun. There's always a next time....

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Maybe wear the PFD? That way, you will KNOW when it gets hooked by the yard!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    I'm guilty of the sideways spinnaker launch. Ummmm....more than once. I used the excuse that I was trying to lower the CE of the rig. Nobody was buyin' it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    Maybe wear the PFD? That way, you will KNOW when it gets hooked by the yard!
    I wonder if I could haul myself up the mast?

    I mostly use my spare life jacket as a cushion. I should stow it rather than leave it on the stern sheets.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    At one point on my first long solo boat trip--3 weeks on the North Channel of Lake Huron--I joined a group of sailors on an island for the afternoon. They were the first people I'd talked to, and were very interested to hear what I was doing so far out in such a small boat (14'6") for so long. I told them I had sailed over from MIchigan. "Good on you!" blah blah. They invited me to stay for a potluck, but I decided to keep sailing a bit farther.

    They came over to see me off as I set sail. At which point I tied the halyard onto the yard (I had untied it to stow the sail bundle), and hoisted the sail smartly.

    Backwards--leach forward, luff aft...

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Ha, I could play this game all evening! The first boat i owned was an old 16ft hobie cat that I got in exchange for organizing the bone yard of derelicts behind a summer camp, age 14 or so. On our first outing we set the jib upside down and happily sailed around the busy lake all day. I only figured it out when re setting the sail the next time out. That wasn't so bad compared to the leaking hull that required beaching the boat every few hours to drain.

    We had some fun on that boat. I capsized it just above the McNary dam and it turned turtle. I stood on it shouting for a long time before my dad noticed and brought over a boat to rescue me. The boat was slowly drifting down stream with the full mainsail set. I was quite sure I was going to be sucked through a giant turbine before anyone noticed.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    I was at the top of my Lightning mast doing something with a vice grip , having monkey climbed up there free hand.
    The vice grips fell from my pocket and landed half on half off the deck.
    I continued to work, but my dad thought he would help by stepping aboard to grab the grips for me, which were on the opposite side of the boat.
    The boat of course swung/ heeled over , the mast broke with me tied to it .
    I landed in three feet of water with three feet of mud in between a hobie cats hulls.
    Dad felt pretty bad .

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I'm guilty of the sideways spinnaker launch. Ummmm....more than once. I used the excuse that I was trying to lower the CE of the rig. Nobody was buyin' it.
    That happened once during a race on a 40-footer I was crewing on.
    Thankfully, I was part of the afterguard and not the foredeck crew.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Tried to launch the skiff with a motor well and the motor in the down position from the trailer-a couple times
    Launched the boat with the drain plug out- a couple times
    tried to launch the skiff with the safety chain still attached- a couple times

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    I used to tuck my schooners Goblin (Alden 43') and Granuaile (LFH Marco Polo) up some narrow tickles and therefore running aground often. If stuck on a falling tide I'd grab a corn brush and automobile window ice scraper and clean the exposed bottom, making it all look intentional.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    The prize for me has to be an incident that occurred on a month-long solo kayaking trip in Haida Gwaii. Here is how I described it in my book, Becoming Coastal:

    I have been unforgivably stupid. Last night, when hauling the kayak up the beach, I disconnected the paddle from the tether and left it lying there in two halves on the beach beside the boat and forgot to go back to fetch it. I woke up at quarter past five and suddenly remembered what I had done. I leaped out of bed and spent a fruitless three quarters of an hour searching the beach in the pre-dawn dimness in the vain hope that, one hour after low tide, they might have been deposited there with the other low tide junk. No such luck. I will have to make a thorough search of the bay when I launch the paddle halves might still be afloat. I see a log out there that was there when I came in yesterday, its just possible the paddle might be afloat out there, too. I know I was tired, but that was very stupid. Luckily I have a spare paddle so my stupidity isnt fatal.

    It is said that the gods look out for children and idiots. I am not a child, therefore I must be an idiot. Within two minutes of launching in the morning, there, right in the middle of the bay, not fifty feet apart, are both halves of the paddle. As it was a calm night, the tide must have just carried them out and then carried them right back in. I realise I definitely have to be more careful, with everything. Not every critical piece of gear has a backup.
    Alex

    It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
    - Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

    http://www.alexzimmerman.ca

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    My best trick is to launch my Somes Sound without having rigged the main sheet. I've discovered this oversight (twice) only after raising the main and trying to sheet it in.

    Those events weren't as frustrating as the several times I've sailed over my own dinghy painter and got it caught between the rudder and deadwood. That is difficult to untangle.

    Jeff

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    I've done that a couple times, and then it swings wildly away from you.
    A few moments inattention sent me smack into a small bunch of crab traps in the middle of the inlet, caught one with my daggerboard and slewed around as I let go all and yanked up the board to get free.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    One day I launched my 14' fishing boat without taking off the tie-down strap, leaving me with a floating boat with a trailer underneath.
    My shame was tempered by the fact that I was the only one at the ramp, so no witnesses.

    In over 50 years of boating, I've had surprisingly few stupid boat tricks. But next summer awaits, so there is still time!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I'm guilty of the sideways spinnaker launch. Ummmm....more than once. I used the excuse that I was trying to lower the CE of the rig. Nobody was buyin' it.
    Best done on a jybe set at a crowded mark....

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    First time I floated my dinghy from the beach did not realize the need for a bilge plug. Brother in law, who is a sizeable guy, sat in bow. I mounted the 2.5 outboard and off we went. All was fine until he moved to the center seat...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    The prize for me has to be an incident that occurred on a month-long solo kayaking trip in Haida Gwaii. Here is how I described it in my book, Becoming Coastal:

    I have been unforgivably stupid. Last night, when hauling the kayak up the beach, I disconnected the paddle from the tether and left it lying there in two halves on the beach beside the boat and forgot to go back to fetch it. I woke up at quarter past five and suddenly remembered what I had done. I leaped out of bed and spent a fruitless three quarters of an hour searching the beach in the pre-dawn dimness in the vain hope that, one hour after low tide, they might have been deposited there with the other low tide junk. No such luck. I will have to make a thorough search of the bay when I launch – the paddle halves might still be afloat. I see a log out there that was there when I came in yesterday, it’s just possible the paddle might be afloat out there, too. I know I was tired, but that was very stupid. Luckily I have a spare paddle so my stupidity isn’t fatal.

    It is said that the gods look out for children and idiots. I am not a child, therefore I must be an idiot. Within two minutes of launching in the morning, there, right in the middle of the bay, not fifty feet apart, are both halves of the paddle. As it was a calm night, the tide must have just carried them out and then carried them right back in. I realise I definitely have to be more careful, with everything. Not every critical piece of gear has a backup.
    I hope you are buying lottery tickets!
    That is one of the best ending boat yarns I have ever heard...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I hope you are buying lottery tickets!
    That is one of the best ending boat yarns I have ever heard...
    Thanks! No joy with lottery tickets yet. That incident may have used up a lifetime's worth of luck . . .
    Alex

    It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
    - Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

    http://www.alexzimmerman.ca

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Don't waste your luck on lottery tickets! You might need it for something really important, like finding lost paddles.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Stupid boat tricks!

    A couple of times, Weve neglected to undo reef nettles when shaking out a reef. On one occasion, zealous winching on the halyard relocated one point a few inches. The sailmaker had a good laugh.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    I was sailing one February in the Georgia marsh: lots of sand bars ,constricted channels , a gusty Winter day ,and not a soul around . Perfect. I was beating to windward in my Ducker and, knowing I was aproaching a sand bar (you can see nothing in that murky water ) I decided to partially raise the daggerboard in order to pass over ,rather than going the longer way around . The second hand boat was new to me and was overmasted with a sprit boomed jib headed sail .I didn't make it.

    The board touched sand and I instinctivly came about to break free . That might have worked But the tentioned foot of the sail was then held hopelessly aback by the top of the board , instantly pressing the boat down to her gunnell ! The next gust was going to send me face down into the cold water . The board was still in the sand ; boom on the other side of the sail ;no response from the rudder.

    I got a big adrenaline rush : good stuff! With spritboom bending and sail streaching I was just able to lift the sail over the daggerboard and the situation was immediatly resolved .Soon after I purchased the plans for the original rig from Mystic : a boomed spritsail. I built the spars ,had a sail made and never looked back .When I raise the daggerboard I also cast off the downhaul so the light boom can just be flipped over the board when tacking .
    Last edited by Bill Perkins; 02-22-2023 at 11:03 AM.
    History drags the bottom
    like a net torn here and there
    on snags, and more than one fish swims free.

    Eugenio Montale

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    My stupid boat trick was to drive my catboat, while still on the trailer with the mast up, under a low power line. I was maneuvering to launch at the old China Basin ramp in downtown San Francisco so I had released the tie downs. That power line caught the mast and pulled my boat off the trailer in the middle of the street. It was a Sunday morning and at first there was no one in sight. But then suddenly people appeared out of nowhere - a couple walking their dog, two joggers out for a run, a homeless guy who had been sleeping on a nearby bench. Soon I had about a dozen people who lifted my boat back on the trailer for me. I have never felt so grateful to a bunch of strangers.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    Most of my stupid boat tricks weren't really my fault, but rather because I couldn't afford a decent boat or motor during my misspent youth. I had a water pump fail pretty far off shore, so I kept the ancient Johnnyrude going by pouring water over the running engine. I quickly learned that if you pour salt water over firing spark plug wires, a fair amount of electricity travels up the stream of water directly to the bucket operator. After that, I threw the water at the engine, making sure to break the stream. I made it home.

    Another time, I was tooling up the harbor in a Brockway skiff with an 18 hp Johnson. The upper rubber mounts failed, followed almost instantly by the lower mounts. To my complete surprise, I was still holding the tiller as I watched the rest of the motor briefly scoot along straight up before falling on it's side, spinning in a couple rapid circles, and then submerging. I retrieved it at low tide and was able to resurrect the motor.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    My Dad enjoyed watching me solo-sail my styrofoam Sea Snark, at 12 years old. He was out in the ski-boat keeping an eye on me. Then he thought he'd buzz the sailboat to give me a little thrill...

    A slight misjudgment... and he whacked the gunwale amidships and tore out a piece of the hull about the size of an extra large pizza. Big crowd of people on the dock of course.

    The boat kept right on sailing -- not much difference -- and after I got it back we glued the piece back in and glassed the hull bottom. But that was the first time he ever heard me swear.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Stupid boat trick!

    A recent one was forgetting to put the cap on the centerboard trunk of my dinghy while towing it in Exuma Sound. It inevitably swamped, and the paddles, aft seat, and a plastic box containing the oarlocks and a bailer all floated out. The circumstances that lead to all that stuff being in the dinghy while being towed in open water are irrelevant and do not excuse the laziness/stupidity involved. I managed to retrieve the seat and paddles in short order but thought the box was lost until I saw it rise up on the crest of a wave. I raced over to it, maneuvered along side and nearly had it in my hands when the boat's wake swamped it and it sank like a stone in over two thousand feet of water.

    When I was much younger and even dumber I was given a free boat on City Island in the Bronx. I equipped it with a 5.5 horse Evinrude outboard from the 50s which ran like a champ off one of those pressurized gas cans. Unfortunately I had no idea how much fuel it consumed and after setting off with a friend down the East River, bound for the Hudson and the Erie Canal, we ran out of fuel, right at slack tide. The point in the river where we ended up stranded was between Riker's Island and the Con Ed plant that provides power to the city. Picking the lesser of two evils, I managed to quickly tow the boat to shore with the dinghy on the Con Ed side, tie the boat off to a tree and thereby save us the indignity of being pulled out to sea when the tide changed. We spent the night there, and in the morning set off, gas tank in hand. We ended up being found by the security guards on the neighboring NYSEG property. They called the cops to escort us off the property, and who wanted to see the boat for the sake of their report and so drove us onto the Con Ed property. Long story short, the Con Ed guys wanted to file charges, the cops got mad because the private security guys were trying to usurp their authority and it turned into a pissing match. The cops won, and we were driven off the property and unceremoniously dropped off in Queens with instructions to make our own way back to the boat. This meant by water, so we did the only thing we could think of and called the guy who had just given us the boat. He had a collection of dinghies, and after what seemed like an endless subway ride (gas tank still in hand) we got back to his house, borrowed a dinghy, got fuel and found a place to dump the boat in the water. We rowed out, past LaGuardia Airport, past Rikers, and almost made it to the boat before being picked up by a local sailor. He dropped us off within a hundred feet of the boat and we got her started and cast off, no worse for wear physically but with a major dent to our egos. I immediately invested in two five gallon gas cans. We did eventually make it up the Hudson but I ended up giving the boat away in the canal because of problems with the outboard and the mechanic who repeatedly "fixed" it.

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