Sunday, March 24, 2013

Don't Assume

Today, instead of reporting keen observations about how our better sailors did, I will instead report on some mishaps.

The first series are examples of how important it is not to assume anything and not to forget checking the simple, basic things.  Murphy is alive and well.

Our race officer for the day, a veteran sailor and even a holder of an RYA Yachtmaster qualification, made some simple mistakes that should not have been made - but which goes to show that even the best of us is not immune.

It is the job of someone else to keep the Committee Boat topped up with fuel and so our intrepid PRO blithely took it out without checking.

Does anyone not see what is coming next?

Yep, he ran out of fuel out near the channel. So, he thinks - I'll just call a friend on my mobile phone and ask to send out a couple of jerrycans of fuel. Oops, his mobile phone was left onshore.  Oh well, never mind, just call on Channel 76 on the boat's radio - after all it is supposed to be monitored by the Coast Guard and others. So, after a few calls were met with total silence, our PRO (and his lovely wife who was helping him and apparently is still married to him) sat around for an hour until they noticed a Hobie trimaran sailing nearby and hailed him.  He came over and luckily had a mobile phone. So our PRO called a friend back at the Club and some jerrycans were loaded on a RIB and sent out.

The Committee Boat was fuelled up and things were looking good.  Then one of the fellows in the RIB reached over to the Committee Boat to undo the painter from the cleat and as he did so the driver of the RIB put it in gear and pulled away from the Committee Boat - perhaps a bit too quickly - at which point the aforesaid fellow's sleeve caught on the Committee Boat cleat and he was jerked off the RIB. Luckily no one was hurt.

The race finally got underway and it was gusty with wind over tide. One of our better Laser sailors was going around the gybe mark when that dreaded Laser event happened at the worst time - a gybe lasso of the transom. OK, stuff happens and maybe only a capsize would be the result.

Except in this case the mark was a very solidly anchored metal channel marker and our intrepid sailor saw that we was too close to be able to extricate his boom from the lassoing and was faced with slamming into the channel marker sideways or head on. He chose head on and as a boat just behind reported things, it was like the beginning of a pitchpole as the bow hit the immoveable object and the transom came out of the water, dumping the helm in the water of course.  The good news is that the helm was not hurt and the sail and mast were spared any damage from the various metal bits of the marker.  Only the bow will need some surgery.

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