15 May 2007

A Safe Landing

OK, this is somewhat cathartic. My name is Edward and I have messed up on sailboats. "Hello, Edward."

This is Sausalito, home of my old slip. My slip is in the bottom left hand corner on the second finger from the left. The slip is pretty much the antithesis of an upwind slip, it's a cross-wind slip. And there's a pleasant little valley in the hills to the west that allow for a really comfortable 20+ knot wind to be coming at you. One last thing to notice....the channel gets narrower and narrower as you approach my old slip.

I believe it would be impossible to sail into this slip so I always motored. The routine was to go past the slip (there was only about 10 feet past that I could even go) by about five feet, turn the helm hard to port, swing the bow, jam the engine at full throttle in reverse, and let the wind slam you into the dock. My early log entries were 100% about my adventures getting into that damned slip. Did I mention the expensive ass motorboat right next to me?

My whole life my docking job had been to get the boat secured to the dock. I have always jumped off the bow as we came alongside, brought a dockline with me and wrapped it around a cleat. I assumed that since that's how I'd always done it then that's how it's done. I never really took into account that I do it that way because I can...so that's how I instructed my wife to do it.

I'm sure you can imagine what came next. My wife isn't 6'2", hasn't been doing this her whole life and was wearing flip flops. So, as I'm in the middle of a tiller-defying landing at the dock, I tell her to go ahead and get us secured. She jumps, her flip-flopped feet hit the dock, slid out from under her, and at the last second she grabbed the lifeline with her tiptoes still on the dock. She was now technically securing the boat to the dock but not in exactly the manner that either of us expected.

I had no choice, I jumped out of the boat onto the dock and grabbed her legs. The wind was pushing the boat back down the channel away from the dock. Our only option was for her to hold onto the boat, me to hold onto her, and my feet to stay secured to the dock. I then dragged the boat into the slip by pulling on my wife.

I felt like a complete ass endangering her, my boat, and every boat nearby but this was so close to the usual routine that she didn't really see it as so odd. Apparently, to my wife at that point, that was the way sailboats were docked.

Not the most efficient technique but a good docking is any one that ultimately gets the boat tied to the dock with nobody wet. Technically, this was a safe landing.


Anonymous said...


I notice she doesn't seem to crew for you much nowadays... ;)


Imontoyou said...

Another one for Tillerman's contest for sure.

Zen said...

Where is the Yourtube video when you need one...:-)

Anonymous said...

"I then dragged the boat into the slip by pulling on my wife."

Thanks for that line Edward. I just snorted coffee all over my monitor.