05 May 2006


It's been some time since I wrote about Polka Dot, but not long since I've thought about her. I am absolutely thrilled with my new ride and marvel at how much more space, speed and inboard engine I have now. But I miss my old boat.

I check up on her every time I'm at the marina and have even sailed over a few times to see her. It's hard to tell but I really don't think the new owner has taken her out. At least all the lines seem to be tied up exactly the same every time; maybe he's really precise.

I've really been on the fence to write about this particular incident but it really illustrates something that I worry about on the water -- does everyone out there sailing have the seamanship necessary for safety.

The day that the new owner bought Polka Dot, I stopped by the ATM, deposited the check and went home to enjoy my day and think about the new boat. About an hour later, I got a call, "the outboard isn't working, what am I doing wrong?" I talked him through it and concluded that he'd tried to put the engine into gear while it was still revving at too high of an RPM and that he'd never get it into gear.

The wind was coming from the East that day so he was pretty sure he couldn't sail into the dock, I wanted him to heave to or sail around for a while until the wind subsided a bit, but he wasn't comfortable with that so I looked online and got him the number for Vessel Assist. $300 later he was towed back into his slip but I couldn't help but think it was pretty irresponsible of him to take his wife and young son out without getting to know the boat first.

I know that I could have gotten the boat back safely to some point on land in the marina but it makes me wonder how many of the people out there can't?

disclaimer: I know I'm not the hottest sh!t sailor in the world and I'm not saying that


Anonymous said...

Edward there are a lot of dumbos on the water. People don't seem to know their limits. I had a couple who I taught how to sail(Dinghy Sailing 1) on a Capri 14.2 tell me that they were going to sail to Hawaii after completing the course. I strongly encouraged them to go sailing with experienced offshore sailors and take a few more classes....NAVIGATION, Bareboat, etc... They ignored my advise. You can bring a horse to water but can't make him drink.

Anonymous said...

Admit it...you are the hottest shit sailor.

EVK4 said...

OK, you're right, I'm a bad ass sailor...I did foredeck on a J105 a few times.

Anonymous said...

From first hand experience, I can tell you that many recreational sailors can't sail their way out of a wet paper bag. I know. I've been there. My first sailboat was a series of non-fatal disasters that culminated in me and my family finally learning how to make the boat go.

Here on Galveston Bay, the water is warm year round. The avergage depth is 10 feet. And you can't sail out of sight of land unless you go into the Gulf. As long as you stay clear of the ship channel and bring a lifejacket for every person, you really can't hurt yourself too badly.

In environments like mine, safety is commonly overrated.

Zen said...

The guy maybe scared himself or worse, the wife!

s/v Zen

Pat said...

As we've been known to say,
"Oh no, not another learning experience!" Or, in other words, at some point or another we all reach or exceed the limits of our competence, and if we're smart, we'll try to learn from the mistakes and wisdom of others at least some of the time. Still, there are the occasions upon which it's my solemn duty to be the screw-up guy from which others can learn, and I take that responsibility seriously, as my spouse Carol Anne can tell you.