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Boat Stories

Boating Dress Code

Posted by: Peter Griswold

With a fellow sailor we were out early one day fishing.

After a long time without even a nibble, we heard and saw a large motor craft racing out to sea. It came up on us so fast we didn't have time to put on our shirts. We stood shirtless waiving to the many guests. Then we noticed it was probably a photo shoot because all of them, men and women, were also topless.

Moral: dress appropriately for the weather.

Engulfed by Fog and Fear

Posted by: Peter Griswold

Taking my wife and sister out for a sail one day.... an unexpected fog suddenly engulfed us and they got suddenly scared and that fear actually disturbed me. After moment of confusion I remembered.... our approximate position, the compass, and the fog horn. With vision just a few feet beyond the bow, and the foghorn every minute, we safely sailed toward shore till the surf was audible and then returned about half mile back to the marina.

Moral: keep your wits about you, and situational awareness involves using all your senses.  

A Tale of Two Tillers

Posted by: Bill Bornemann

As a kid growing up in the 60s in SoCal, My family had one of the new 18’ Aqua Cat catamarans. Two hulls, each with a rudder & tiller.  The two tillers were connected together so both rudders could be turned by one tiller, a tall mast, one sail, with a lot of sail area.   A fun, fast, bathing suitboat, it was an exciting introduction to performance sailing.    

My Father did his best to help us learn everything we would need to know; weather, rules of the road, navigation, safety, etc. We had a good time doing it, and he learned a few things also.

Out sailing on a mild day, he nonchalantly dropped one of the fenders into the water and announced he had just fallen overboard and needed to be saved. A classic Man Overboard Drill!  The family had done this many times before but, this was the 1st time without Dad at the helm.

At the time I had been the person at one of tillers steering the boat. Mom was sitting on the other hull, near the other tiller, and took ahold of it as though she was going to steer.  A contention immediately broke out between my mother and me as to exactly who was going to take charge and captain us back to pick up Dad.

Dad grew thoughtful as he watched his fender get smaller and smaller in the distance as our argument grew more heated.

Moral: Have a chain of command and let everyone know what it is!

Dinner on the S.V. Bernele

Posted by: Abe Kazemzadeh
Some friends and I were having a picnic on my boat while it was at the dock. We were all reclining on the same side of the cockpit because the Coleman stove was on the other side. One friend looks down into the cabin and says "is it supposed to be full of water?". It turned out that a through-hull was leaking. Because the through-hull was normally above the water line, I didn't realize it was leaking. This was the first time I tested my bilge pump. Luckily it worked and we could finish the dinner without further difficulties. Because it was above water, I was able to get it fixed without hauling it out of the water.

Moral: check your through-hulls, keep some wood plugs (a.k.a. "bungs") handy,make sure that the bilge-pump works, and keep your weight balanced.

It Takes Two to Slolom

Growing up in inland, there was no surfing, only water skiing.  Summer after summer, I was able to get up reliably on two skis, but I never could manage slolom (one ski).  When starting on two and shaking one off, I always fell and didn't even try to start on one.  The thought never occurred to me to try water skiing two people at a time.  I guess we just had one rope and that was fine for my family.

Then one summer, I had a girlfriend whose family had a boat.  Of course, I was gung-ho about going water skiing with them.  That was, until I realized that she wanted to water ski slolom, and both of us at the same time.  I didn't expect to get up and I half expected a disaster.  But before I knew it, I was sitting in the water next to her and the rope was becoming taut. I don't know whether it was her dad's piloting, ideal water conditions, or me really not wanting to make a fool out of myself, but I got up the first time and it was a lot of fun.

Moral: learning is a social activity and if you want to learn about boating, it is ideally done among friends.