CapnRehab in a collision at sea!

I am so dreadfully behind in all that’s happened.  There is just no way I’m going to get it all into this blog.  Although this happened two weeks ago, I feel like I just have to write about it.

On May 12, I took out the club Catalina Capri to watch the BCYC Bikini Cup race.  The big sailboats were tearing around Boca Ciega Bay and we were doing our best to stay out of the way.  Actually, we did stay out of the way.  They are big boats, we’re a little boat, it’s a big bay – you do the math.  It was easy.  I took my son Alex (of sunfish moving fame) and at the last minute invited J. along.

We had a great time and a little before the race was over we headed back in as J. had some after race cooking responsibilities to take care of.  You know, I’m never sure if this is an eating and drinking club that sails a little, or a sailing club that eats and drinks a lot.  Actually, I think our club byline is that we’re a drinking club with a sailing problem.  Anyways, I digress…

Partway through the sail I let J. take over because it’s nice to let other people sail, and I’m a nice guy.  So he starts taking us in.

As we’re heading back to port, we are going almost directly up wind.  This means as a sailboat with no motor, we have to tack. and tack, and tack.  Back and forth as we work our way back to the dock.  In the picture below, we are the red line.  We’re coming up from the bottom towards the dock at the top.

BCYC Sail Collision 1

BCYC Sail Collision 1

You may have noticed a yellow line in the picture.  That is a motor boat that came up behind us.  There is NO WAY they didn’t see what we were doing going BACK AND FORTH, OVER AND OVER!

So they come roaring up till the get to the no wake marker.  It is on the two posts you can see right at the tip of the wind arrow.  Then they idle without a wake like good little motor boaters.  They are still going faster than us.  As they get to the end of the little yellow line, we are almost to the end of our little red line STILL GOING BACK AND FORTH!  We are headed for a collision, but the husband on the boat jumps up, grabs the controls from his wife, and in a heroic effort, jams the gear into reverse with a VROOOM, WHMMMMM, stops their boat and keeps it from running into us.  That was a little dramatic of him, but then he yells out “SORRY ABOUT MY WIFE, SHE DOESN”T  KNOW ABOUT SAILBOATS TACKING EVEN THOUGH SHE GREW UP WITH ONE”.

I thought that was very rude of him towards his wife, but at least he didn’t let us collide.  We go back to tacking, because we’re doing it about every 15 seconds.  Keeps us kind of busy.  We go a few more feet towards the left wall, then tack to the right and suddenly, THEY ARE RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!

BCYC Sail Collision2

BCYC Sail Collision2

While we were absorbed with not running into the left wall, they came around us  (at idle speed) and got right in our way.  Guess what?  We ran into them.  Not once, but twice.  We bumped them (T-bone style), veered a little left, but the wind gusted and swung the bow right back and bumped them again.

I admit, I was a little startled.  So startled, I laughed.  Not because it was funny, but because I couldn’t believe they were such a dumba** to put themselves in such a position.  Well, I guess I shouldn’t have done that, because another guy on the boat started yelling and saying I wouldn’t think it was so funny if there was any damage to his boat and made a big show of checking the side to see if there was any.

They never stopped.

They never asked if anyone was hurt.

They just kept on motoring back to their marina.

They violated so many rules of the road, it just isn’t funny.

  • First, they saw us for heavens sake!  They knew we were tacking and had limited manueverability.
  • Second, vessels under sail are the “stand on” vessels when dealing with small motor boats.  Motor boats are “Give way” vessels.
  • Third, an overtaking vessel must stay clear of any vessels they overtake.  (Overtaking are “give way” vessels)
  • Forth, you must stop and offer assistance in any maritime accident
  • Fifth, they’re just dumba**es.

Actually someone on shore hollered out to see if anyone was hurt.  And we were fine.  It was a low speed collision and there was no damage to our boat.

Later, I remembered that the collision regulations (collregs) say there is no right of way, and that everyone involved in a collision is in some way responsible.  So I got to thinking, “what was our responsibility”?

I guess our skipper should have been looking around and been aware that the other boat was not staying back.  Even if he didn’t do that, he might have been able to turn back into the wind and stopped his forward motion.  I’m not exactly sure how much room he had, because it seemed like as soon as we turned, we ran into them pretty quick.  I think there might have been some room.

There is no doubt J. was startled.  Maybe didn’t react as quickly as he should have, but that’s armchair quarterbacking at its best.

Bottom line – be careful out there.  You’re surrounded by…. well, you fill in the blank.


Boating Safety Class #11 – FINAL CLASS – Knots

Finally done with  Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety class.

U S Coast Guard Auxiliary

U S Coast Guard Auxiliary

Got a certificate and am eligible for the Florida Boaters Safety card.  (Although I’m old enough to not need one)  I think they did a great job and I appreciate their time and effort.  Some classes were tedious, but I learned something in (almost) every class.  Except that navigation class – ugh.

Tonight’s class covered types of ropes, terminology and knot practice.  Having taught knots to many young boy scouts meant I was free to help other students learn the knots, but I did learn one bend (i.e. knot that connects two dissimilar objects) that I think will come in handy.  It’s called an “anchor bend”.  It looks like this:

Anchor Bend

Anchor Bend

And here is how you tie it.

Anchor Bend instructions

Anchor Bend instructions

Yay, I have Wednesday nights free to sail now!  I’m hoping Saturday is going to get some Sunfish repair time.  And I’m told the West Marine store here is having a going out of business sale.

Boating safety class #10 – Powering your boat

Argh!  I thought we were doing knots tonight!  Nope.  It was all about engines.  Never mind that in almost every other class they’ve talked about engines – Especially during the “Handling your boat” section.

It was mentioned that most larger sailboats go with diesel engines.  Diesel are safer and more reliable than gasoline engines, but they weigh more.  Sailboats can handle the heavier engines and reliability is very important when you’re cruising long distances and have only 1 engine.

Unfortunately most of the class was about engines on power boats.  Boat engines fall into 3 categories – Inboards, Inboard/Outboard, and outboard.

boat motor-inboard

boat motor-inboard


boat motor - inboard outboard

boat motor – inboard outboard


boat motor - outboard

boat motor – outboard

Technically, there is a fourth – Water Jet.  One place those are used in is jetskis, but you don’t need a picture of that do you? Well, ok…

boat motor - water jet

boat motor – water jet

Just for fun, here is a picture of my outboard.

motor stand number two

My Outboard motor

Only one more boating safety class to go.  Knots!

Can you spot the aligator?

This is the pond at my work.  No gator in this shot.


The gator is in this one.  Comment if you see it or not.  Can’t tell on my phone if it will be easy or not.  In real life he was hidden pretty well.


I’m glad i got this android wordpress app for my phone. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to post for a while. WAY too busy.

sunfish has a sail!

This is another post from the phone. please bear with me if the formatting isn’t so great. 

The repair of the sunfish took a major step forward today with the aquisition of a sail. The same generous lady that gave me the project boat happened to be at the boat club and heard about a sunfish sail the club decided to toss out. She grabbed it for me and I picked it up tonight. It is going to need some repairs, but the fabric looks like it is in good condition. It needs some grommets and has a section that has some holes.

I think it is pretty.


sunfish sail

Notice more and more of my living room is being taken over by this project.

Boating safety class #10 – Navigation

I’m trying out creating a post from my phone. It sure is a lot harder to type.

I was actually looking forward to this class, but the instructor KILLED the topic. Oh my gosh i could barely stay awake!

To sum it up, most people use a GPS. Now u can have GPS and charts on your phone. But you should know how to find your way without one….mumble…..mumble…wear your life jacket.