Keep the Water on the Outside

photo for blogDon’t hit anything hard. Expect the best, prepare for the worst... These three bits of sailor wisdom and quite a few others rattle about in my brain.

Call it basic common sense or maybe boating sense, but there have been times in my life that perhaps I didn’t use such good sense... maybe I did drill a hole through my hull once, and the water came gushing in during a routine maintenance project, or there might have been a time I touched a piling or bulkhead or two, ( I know, you saw that), and I do admit to saying to myself the weather will be fine for me and my hearty little sloop, only to limp back into port with a torn sail and broken reefing gear, a few times.

But at least I think I try, and considering all the boneheaded stuff that happens around the sailing world, I’m still here many years later, with a few nicks as I have admitted. Then the worst can happen, and when it does, we should take some solace in knowing but for the grace of God goes I or a friend.

"No amount of skill, no equipment, and no boat will keep you from disaster if you don’t develop the most important seagoing skill of all, a complete fear of falling overboard.’" ~L. Pardey

 SpinSheet blogger Captain Art Ross in his Coast Guard Auxiliary uniform.

I have a friend, a Doctor from Arkansas that has a Pacific Seacraft 37 that he sails all over the hemisphere. I’ve sailed with him, and he’s very careful and deliberate about safety, adheres to all the little sayings and more, keeps plenty of spares aboard, communication and safety equipment, crew, and needless to say, has a hearty vessel. So, then, why was it a few years back when he was approaching Bermuda sailing in the Caribbean 1500, he started taking on water, a lot, and quickly?

He was sinking in this wonderful boat. He had caught a piece of sine netting in his prop, it pulled out the shaft enough to allow all that water in. By the time they discovered the problem and the extent of the failure, it was too late. They abandoned ship and were rescued by a Navy SAR vessel. Ever catch a crab pot, hmmm.

I love sailing, it is life to me. Whether you’re a motorboater or a sailor, or you’ve seen the Southern Cross or have crossed the equator, the green flash or the high latitudes, we each always have that opportunity  to alter and improve our lives and that occurs in the promise of “another day."

~Captain Art Ross, author of Sixty Years of Sport