Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Skill I Would Love To Learn

Zebulon, NC

Zears ago, I was sailing with my Dad on Sacandaga Lake in NY.  We were on my Clipper 26, a boat that weighed only 2200 pounds.  The rudder broke off at the far end of the lake, forcing me to improvise.  On that day, I learned how to steer a sailboat using only sail trim.  I was very proud of the fact that I navigated the twisty path back to the marina and even into the slip 100% under sail trim control.

Later I had a  Tanzer 27 which weighed about 6000 pounds.  I was proud of the fact that I could sail her up to the dock and release the sails at just the right time to have her coast up parallel to the dock where I could step off.  I took pride by not using the motor at all during day sail outings in many different weather conditions.

Tarwathie weighs 25000 pounds loaded.  She also has a full keel, which means that she would much rather go straight ahead than turn.  I had to start all over again learning boat handling.  Believe me, I would never attempt to dock her under sail only.  On Tarwathie I am much less adventurous.

The point is that I have come to appreciate the art of heavy boat handling.  That is why I am so impressed by the big ship and barge pilots and their skills.  I would love to learn it myself, but alas that will never happen because I'm retired.

Anyhow, see for yourself on the following videos.  The first video shows the amazing results of a master doing it calmly and skillfully.  The second video shows a 3D animation of a real incident when docking is done wrong, with serious consequences.




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