Learning Curve

Wow!! what a weekend. Those of us with boats I am sure know the "we plan this, but ended up doing this" statement. Well that about sums up this weekend past. What was to be a nice two boat sail out and anchor for the night off of Angel Island in the San Francisco bay, turned into a WTF and a tow back into the marina by the friendly Sea Tow guys. (so worth the membership!) Just from this little 4 hour trip I learned a lot, and that attitude makes all the difference in the world.

What happen you may ask; well, I was skippering a Hunter 45 that was bought for very cheap because it needs a lot of work. (a lot of work). I have taken it out a few times under motor and just putting around the bay to enjoy the day or a nice sunset cruz. Well Saturday night one of the other boats wanted to do an over night anchor off of Angel Island and raft up. Oh hell ya, I am all for it. Out the channel I go and deside to put up the jib (still need to replace the main halyard) and sail there. The jib sheets are ran, pointing into the wind, all is ready. I had the wheel over to a friend that is on the boat that has only sailed a couple of times and tell her what to do so I can pull out the jib, "make sure the arrow at the top of the mast points towards the front of the boat". The jib comes out and is winched in, "fall off to the right", She does and then we go down wind. Now we are hove to, now we are back to a port tack!? I tell her to turn the wheel the other way, and she does, we do not change direction. WTF, I take the wheel, nothing. well shit I roll the jib back in while doing donuts because something is not right. Pull the boards up over the rudder post and cables, turn the wheel, nothing.. hmmmm .... ok, that is not good. Now it is time to do what no sailor wants to do, go for a swim in the cold water of the bay to look at the rudder and see what the issue is. (I do not like cold water, no really there is no need to be in water below 22C, ever). What I see in the rudder hard over to starbord and wedged agents the hull. I look for cracking in the hull, is there something jammed in the rudder, what is going on. I grab a hold of it and try to free it. Nothing, (note, need to start hitting the gym again). I swim back to the side of the boat to pull my sorry but back up on the boat and that is when another lesson happens. So ya, I put a rope out to pull myself up on the boat, but did not think about footing, (note, pull out the ladder next time). Glad there was a second person on the boat. She was able to give me the little bit of an extra pull up that I needed, as well as a wedgie that I will not soon forget by using my belt loop for the final pull up. She said "sorry", I said "thank you".

We ended up get a sea tow back into the marina, and those boys got some skills. They got us into our slip without scratching the paint even. But lessons learned were many. 1) emergency tiller is a must 2) drop the anchor next time stupid so you do not drift. 3) call sea tow sooner than later 4) there is a reason some boats are cheap. Ya the list gets longer but I will not bore you with that. Let's just way that I now have a lot of work to do before going out again.