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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Learning from other people



One of the luckiest events of our early sailing adventures was being able to help a couple who lost their boat in a storm. My lovely wife and I had only been sailing for a few months. We'd trailered out boat down to Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.

Our boat spent nights tied up in the protected marina. The people who lost their boat were anchored in the channel next to the marina. A sudden storm dragged the boat into the old railroad bridge. We discovered the couple soaking wet, wandering the empty marina. We gave them some warm dry cloths, water, and let them sleep in our truck.

From their misadventure I learned some valuable lessons. One of the first things I did was get more robust anchors and other ground tackle for my boat. I carry at least 3 anchors with me at all times. Sometimes it takes a number of tries before I'm completely satisfied with how the anchor's set. No shortcuts here.

The antenna of their main radio was destroyed by the bridge but they were able to contact the Coast Guard with a hand held. I bought a good hand held. marine radio that's waterproof and floats.

Their expensive self inflating life jackets didn't work. Fortunately, they had a couple old fashioned horse collar life jackets. I decided to not waste money of the expensive inflatables and to use comfortable foam life jackets. The life jackets also have flashing emergency lights on them and whistles. It's dark out there during a storm.

Their insurance company didn't pay enough to replace the boat. I pay a bit more for a policy where the insurance company doesn't try to dicker about the value but accepts my numbers. My boat's not expensive so it really costs very little extra.

Their boat was small so they didn't have a regular dingy. Instead, they used a good quality tandem inflatable kayak. When they abandoned ship they had the kayak inflated and ready to go. My lovely wife and I are shopping for inflatable kayaks on-line. They don't take up much space, and make a pretty good tender for a small boat. It's also nice to have something to paddle around the mangroves.

We were able to help the shipwrecked couple a bit, but the lessons we learned from their misadventure are priceless.

-Sixbears



10 comments:

  1. So few folks learn from the mistakes of others, but we should try our best to do so. Like they say, no-one lives long enough to make all of the possible mistakes themselves.

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    1. True enough. I do make enough mistakes on my own. :)

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  2. I guess before you buy a kayak, you'll try getting in and out of them in the water. Some are more stable than others. I have a sit on type that accommodates two people. I've had it for about 14 years and am very happy with it. But it's not an inflatable sort...

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    1. Canoes and kayaks is where I started my water adventures.

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  3. Most hard core long term cruisers will have nothing but a hard type rowing dinghy.
    Sure it's a PITA to tow behind and slows you down...but I can state with fact, that ours saved our collective asses several times.
    Inflatables are easily deflated by too many things to count.
    Safety is not a convenience ! It is prudence, which is not always convenient.
    Just sayin, from been there done that heh...

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    1. Expect to get to a hard dinghy eventually. It's been a big step to convince my lovely wife we need a tender at all. (bet we end up towing it a lot)

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  4. Have you talked to our friends at Northwoods Rafting about inflatable kayaks? They might be able to point you towards a sweet deal, or have one they might sell you.

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    1. Leane reminded me that they sell them. Thanks Adam. It'd be good to try a couple out for size.

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  5. Always nice to be able to learn from someone else's mistakes. Keeps you from making your own mistakes.

    The problem I had with inflatable life jackets was that they worked TOO well. Folks kept setting them off when they jumped in the water, forgetting to take the things off. Which says something about how comfortable they are... But I have those good ol' fashioned horse shoe kind on my boat...

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    1. That must have been funny.

      Good to have simple back up.

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