I relearned a valuable lesson the other day. I really hadn’t forgotten it, I just chose to not apply it. The lesson? If it isn’t happening the way it is supposed to, just bail out and start over again. Don’t try to save it.
So, it’s confession time. A couple weeks ago, in my own boat, I had just left the pump out station, and was backing down the fairway to back into my slip. Something I regularly do. For some reason, the boat wanted to drift to one side of the fairway. The weird thing, it was the windward side that I kept drifting towards and away from prop walk. It made no sense. The smart thing to do would be to just start over, but I kept telling myself I could fix it … right up to the point my lifesling box touched the stern of another boat. Fortuntely I was moving very slow and it was plastic on my boat against stainless on the other boat so there was no damage to anything but my ego. The one thing I did right was to keep my bow pointed away from trouble, so I was able to get away with no further incident.
After getting the boat in her slip, I thought about what had happened. It was one of the largest tidal swings of the year. Large enough that there was noticeable current in a marina that current isn’t a problem. I was moving with the current and didn’t even realize it. Had I bailed out, I probably would have figured out what was happening and made adjustments accordingly. But, I didn’t. Lesson learned.
Don’t worry, I didn’t just walk away. I went over and talked to the other boat owner. He was on board and hadn’t even realized he had been “hit”. To be safe, we checked his boat out together and verified no damage (except, as I said, to my ego, but that’s OK, the next day I had to single handed sail a boat with a dead motor back to the dock, and nailed it. Ego fixed … but that’s another skippers tip.)