Most memorable boating moment.

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Wynand N, May 2, 2012.

  1. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: South Africa

    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    See the lazy windmills slowly turning
    Cutting up the marble canyons of the sky
    See the dust around my feet go churning
    Moving with the winds down the highways
    Of goodbyes.........
  2. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  3. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    Location: Phoenix

    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I was about sixteen years old, which makes it about '72. A friend and I were spending the weekend (alone) at a family summer home, and decided to do some fishing/boating. We had an 18' bass boat with 40hp, situated on the west shore of Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin -- a very large and shallow inland lake. My friend had no boating experience. There may have been some drinking involved.

    We were about five miles out when we noticed the wind from behind, and and turned to see a storm coming in from the west. We decided to turn around. While we were still a couple miles out we were surrounded by the storm, the waves grew to over three feet, and were breaking at three to four feet as we were trying to approach the canal to our dock. We ended up going to a larger protected harbor to the north. We spent three hours getting to shore, went through three tanks of gas (almost ran out). By the time we hit shore we were soaked, and chilled so bad we could barely move. We had no problem staying awake.

    I have never since done any boating without checking weather reports, and I have always since had a lot of respect for shallow water. It was very memorable.
  4. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    I was 12 years old or so, and my father had just given me permission to take out our South Coast 21 on the lake by myself. My family took out Oday 39 every weekend to a small cove about 10 miles downriver from out berth to spend the weekend on the anchor, and this weekend I had decided to bring the smaller boat with us so I could play on it during the trip.

    Everything went fine until Sunday afternoon when we were headed back, and a massive storm cell formed right on top of us. On Pickwick Lake the mountains funnel the wind right down into the river, causing massive wind shear and increases in wind strength...

    So there I was on a 21' boat alone. With the main and genoa up taking a nice slow sail back to the harbor when I was hit by a wall of wind that literly knocked me off my feet, and rain so hard visibility dropped to the point I couldn't see the bow of the boat. All I could do was hold on, and let the sails flap, since any attempt to trim them resulted in the mast hitting the water, so I just pointed the boat downwind and reached back and forth across the lake until it passed by.

    Three hours later I was battered, bruised, bleeding, and absolutely in love with sailing. I was also 20 miles downriver from where I started as it began to get dark, with no way to get back to the marine, and no way to contact my parents. I was able to get into a small marina near by, and called the local sherif to go tell my parents where I was and that I was ok.

    Reported wind strength that day hit steady 70kn with gusts to 90kn.
  5. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: South Africa

    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Standing in the lonely light of the silver moon
    Looking over maps of memories for the road
    Standing in the lonely light of the silver moon
    With the unexpected destination of my home

    Half the thoughts I'm thinking speak in sighs
    As that same old wave of loneliness returns
    And I can see you when I close my eyes
    Speaking very softly as you turned

    OK, this is the opening lyrics of the song "Silver Moon" by Micheal Nesmith and I hold this song very dear due to a close encounter with the magnificence of nature. Let me share with you.

    Year was 1992 and during April that year there was some unusual cold fronts and low pressure systems on the east coast of South Africa and it so happens that I was crew on a 44ft boat to be delivered from Port Elizabeth to Veldrif, some 100km or around Cape of Good Hope up the west coast. We had to motor sail all the way to make headway and the sea was really bad and at times frightening - remember this coast has the most boat wrecks per distance in the world and notorious for bad manners and rouge waves.

    After an eventful trip where we had to enter Mosselbay late at night in some bad weather for driveshaft repairs, and a days laydown at Struisbaai awaiting a gale to subdue, we made it around Cape Agulhas (most southern point of Africa) towards Cape Town.

    About midway between Agulhas and Capetown we were about 40km offshore and I was at the helm for the midnight shift 0h00 to 02h00, still motor sailing with some big and confused swells, rain and misery when suddenly a miracle happenend. Within minutes the sea got as smooth as oil, wind down to just a breeze and I cut the engine to sail the first time during the trip.
    Suddenly the sky opened and this big silver moon shone litting up the sea and and the stars so clear and "close" you could almost pluck it from the sky. To add to the spectacle, dolphins start to play with the boat with their torpedo like attacks for the bow leaving green phosphorescence streaks in the water. Words cannot really describe the event, but as soon as that big silver moon broke through the clouds, the song "Silver Moon start playing in the cockpit speakers....It was so magical that nor I or my watchman wanted to say anything, afraid to break the spell.
    What made it more special, it happened on my birthday 13 April.

    This heavenly moment lasted about 15 minutes and just as fast as it came it disappeared again and seas got angry, so the wind and rain...

    Everytime I hear the song "Silver Moon" I relive that magical moment at sea :)
  6. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Hmm... I was thinking just the opposite of these posts. Here are my most memorable moments, in near chronological order...

    *Reading about sailing as a child and imagining the possibility of traveling by water
    *Getting a teacher who took me out sailing for the first time (because I wrote a report on it) and getting to take the helm of a small sunfish on a lake for the first time - HOOKED
    *Going sailing on the ocean with friends and their parents as often as I could get invited
    *My first taste of cruising - Friend's dad allowed me and my friend to both bring a girl along and go for a long weekend trip. We went out in Essex, CT (underage) to all the bars and ordered all the food and drinks we wanted. All we had to say was, "It's on Mr. Gl**son's tab" and it was all free. We stumbled back to the boat and each had fun with our girls. Next morning, the dad came aboard and we sailed from CT to Three Mile Harbor in Long Island to watch the 4th of July fireworks from the boat, then stayed the next night at Shelter Island. I was much more than hooked after that!
    *Bought my first boat (as a freshman in college). A 1976 (i think) 23' Kells trailer sailer.
    *Learned to sail the ocean and cruised Maine's islands in that boat. She was slow, but all my friends were there and we were all pretty drunk all the time, so it was fun. That was back when it was cool to be drunk on your boat. My friends were a few guys and a large group of girls. I had many short term girlfriends out too.
    *The magic of dead reckoning without GPS or radar in Maine fog, ghosting from rocky island to rocky island, using bearings and the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks to help guide you. Intense, but very inspiring.
    *Work life looking up as I was now in the real world and was able to upgrade to an O'day 302. My own "yacht." :)
    *Some more fun with those college friends. Cruising grounds expanded from Maine to Newport, RI.
    *A log book aboard that boat that had been signed by everyone who ever came aboard either of my boats from college on through that time.
    *Sailing to New York City when I moved there. A magical way to move.
    *Ever so carefully introducing my television appearing, magazine appearing, cocktail waitress to the stars (Bill, Hilary, Chelsea Clinton, Tony Hawk, Tom Cruise, Montel Williams, Cast of Dawson's Creek, yo name it...) , former Miss Teen NY to sailing with nice, pleasant weekend trips in Long Island sound.
    *Proposing to the same girl at Mount Misery Island in Port Jefferson (a lot nicer place than the name would make you think). Proposed when we rowed ashore to take a walk on the beach.
    *Honeymoon spent cruising up into Maine for a month
    *My wife losing that logbook from above while on watch!
    *Sad times - lost my company after 9/11. Lost my housing, my clothing, all my money because I paid my employees. Lost my boat too. :(
    *Crewing on megayachts, then moving up the ranks. Seeing large parts of the Caribbean from these boats.
    *Good times - Got a new boat and started chartering - living aboard 24/7/365
    (years go by)
    *Got another new boat and continued the life.
    *Now, building a boat... not such good times, but the reward will be continuing this life with my wife for many, many years to come.

    Are there really any bad days sailing? Though I can think of a few nerve wracking ones where I got the snot beat out of me (due to an engine failure and the boat being pulled out to sea in stormy conditions), mostly, they all left me with a feeling of happiness and thankfulness to be alive and able to sail.
  7. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  8. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Taking my dad sailing on my boat:):):)

  9. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Running out of fuel on a near windless day in an 18ft trimaran with only a small jib up, with my 3 kids on board, 50 metres from the dock, in front of the steel three level car ferry from Queenscliff, coming in at 12 knots.

    I know its their most memorable sailing event too !
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