43 Things I Learned

I had posted this on a sailing forum for others’ edification and thought I would repost it here.

We learned a lot of things, some of which we already knew, or just thought we did. Here’s my partial list:

  • Heaving to is your friend; and easy too.
  • The old saying about thinking about reefing too late is actually pretty damn accurate
  • Single line reefing systems are often obstinate
  • Fridges in a sailboat are…quirky
  • I really wonder why there aren’t grab bars on the bulkheads in the aft berth. How the hell does anyone get out of those things quickly at 2 am?
  • You get out of bed at 2 am quickly a lot more than you would think
  • Gauges that measure liquids (water, diesel, holding tanks) never seem to work
  • A 3 hour motor quickly becomes a 6 hour sail, with very little regret
  • 9 and half hours is a long day, but man can it ever be a glorious day
  • 4-5 foot waves are not as scary as it sounds
  • A 17 knot gust with just the main up is scarier
  • If you don’t like the weather: wait. The damn thing changes fast
  • The infamous Johnstone Strait plays mind games with you. Gale force to glass in a couple of days
  • Docking at empty docks is easy to get used to
  • When docking at a marina with a strong cross current, don’t be first in
  • Don’t give the yahoos on the dock a line. Seriously don’t.
  • The beam of a 33′ sailboat is much smaller than the beam of a 38′ sailboat. It shouldn’t take you a week of docking to figure that out.
  • Gloves will not keep your hands warm and dry on a windy, rainy day. Having a second pair is a godsend.
  • Powerboaters really are, well, oblivious
  • You can raise an anchor with a spinnaker halyard if your windlass craps out. Who knew?
  • Windlasses crap out.
  • There are more things on a boat that go bang in the night than you can ever have possibly imagined
  • An 11 knot wind can die faster than you can get the main up
  • A 2006 Bavaria 33′ has the worst galley configuration ever
  • An undersized RIB can almost be worse than no dinghy at all
  • Stern tying isn’t as hard as I thought. Except for the stupid, unstable, undersized dinghy.
  • Leaving the hatch almost all the way open is not the same thing as leaving it all the way open. Ow!
  • Apparently you can hear the McDonalds drive-through on channel 68 in the middle of Desolation Sound. WTF?
  • Charts are big, and critical information is always on the fold.
  • The phrase ‘local knowledge’ will prevent you from taking a lot of shortcuts
  • A shower underway in 4-5 foot seas is actually kinda fun
  • Wiping down the whole head after a shower will earn you bonus points
  • Putting a winch, aft docking cleat, diesel fill, bbq, life ring and a horseshoe life sling at the same place is not a good way to arrange things
  • BBQs make a real mess on the transom
  • Holding tanks are… well they are… sigh.
  • A gravity system holding tank can be unblocked by plugging every damn hole and vent and pumpin’ the sh*t right out of it. Just don’t figure that out at the anchorage.
  • The guy with the self-tacking jib was cheating. But I beat him anyway 🙂
  • My 2006 charter boat was a nice boat, but it was a floating dung heap compared to the one-owner 2007 Tartan 3400 we sailed with
  • Learn from the experienced guys.
  • Never trust the experienced guys.
  • Boater are damn nice people, from the Catalina 30 right up to the Selene 65
  • There is nothing, I mean nothing, as depressing as a speed of 3.5 knots and having a SOG of 2.9 at the end of an 8-hour day
  • Sailing with dolphins in your wake for 45 min is THE SINGLE BEST THING EVER!