YEA! I DIDN’T WRECK THE BOAT TODAY!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

Today, No Tan Lines (“Tanny”) was scheduled for a trip to the boat yard. When I practiced docking a few weeks ago, her drive shaft threw a bearing. (I swear that was NOT my fault!!) We also want to add a new thru hull so the kitchen sink will drain directly into the water instead of into the sump pump. The sump has failed twice now and, when it does, it overflows into the bilge. Old coffee grounds, grease, and other yucky, rotting muck are NOT something you want floating around in your bilge. That can stink to high Heaven! (And, yes, we throw away leftovers and we have a strainer in the kitchen sink drain but it doesn’t catch everything.)

While it’s already been six weeks since I learned how to dock the boat, I was still feeling pretty confident so I told Capt. Brian I wanted to back her out of the slip. He said okay and we called our Dock 4 friends, Stephanie, Diego, and Allan, to ask if they’d come help. They and Max would handle the lines, and keep a watchful eye on our surroundings while Capt. Brian would stand by the helm, talking me through this perilous procedure. Once everyone tossed the lines, my stomach flip-flopped a bit. I ran a very real risk of turning the boat at the wrong time, and either hitting a piling with the bow, or hitting a boat behind us with the stern.

While regaling you with a tale of high winds, waves, and a hairy, heart-stopping experience would be fun, that’s not what happened. A northeast wind was blowing gently and I was able to ease Tanny out of the slip without incident. Once Diego told me the bow had cleared the last piling, I followed Brian’s instructions. Turn the wheel all the way to the right. Once she’s turned enough, put her slowly in forward, turn the wheel to the left, and bump the bow thruster a few times until she’s straightened out.

It took only minutes and I didn’t hit anything at all, nor even come close to a piling, much to everyone’s relief. We were on our way and I steered her into Tampa Bay, toward the channel that would then lead us past the Coast Guard station, and into Salt Creek. There were a TON of crab traps so the trip was like navigating a fun obstacle course. There was also a regatta of small sailboats that I had to steer around. (Thank goodness I didn’t have to pass THROUGH them!)

Once we got to Salt Creek, I let Capt. Brian take over. It’s very narrow, with boatyards and docks on either side. He had to pass a motor yacht and the vessels were only two feet from each other. That was a bit hairy.

By the time we approached Embree Marine (which is EXCELLENT, by the way), the manager, Chad, was walking out to help us dock. Brian pulled up alongside the dock on our port side without incident. It was perfect, in fact! Everybody secured lines and we disembarked.

We’re staying in downtown St. Pete until Tanny is done at the boat doctor. I can’t wait to take another shot and docking her when we get her back! 🙂

Diego, Stephanie, Brian and Allan. We love our awesome Dock 4 friends!

NEXT: NAUGHTY NAUTICAL TERMS!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

CAN GIRLS DOCK BIG BOATS? YEP!!

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

As detailed in past posts, I’ve owned three boats in the past. A 25′ sailboat, a 17′ fishing boat, and a 30′ motorboat. Back then, I was pretty good at launching and docking, whether from a dock or a boat ramp. But, that was 20 years ago. And, those boats were far smaller than No Tan Lines, which is 52′.

I admit, after buying No Tan Lines (“Tanny”), I was nervous. She weighs about 45,000 lbs. You can’t stop her on a dime, nor do a fast turn. She reacts very slowly to whatever you do, whether under power or sail. And, when a piling (or another boat) is close, you run a very real risk of hitting something. That’s why everyone comes out of their boats to watch when someone’s docking!

Today, Capt. Brian Whiddon took us out, and taught me how to dock the boat. To avoid giving our Dock 4 neighbors a heart attack, we took No Tan Lines around to Dock 5. There are no live-aboards on that dock so I could safely practice pulling into slips without a crowd of anxious eyes watching over me (or yelling at me!). Dock 5 is the last dock at the marina and it has a large, deep basin beside it. So, you can approach the dock from a considerable distance, heading straight in. You don’t have to turn at the last moment.

There were empty slips on both sides of the one we used for practice so my nervousness was diminished somewhat. Capt. Brian did an excellent job. Here are his calm, wise instructions so you gals can try this at home yourself!

– As long as water is passing over the keel, you have control of the boat. If you stop completely, you won’t.

– Go very slow. This isn’t a race. Don’t make the same mistake that (name removed) made last week. He was going WAY too fast.

– Gradually ease the bow between the first two pilings, and shift into neutral.

– When you’re halfway in, very gently tap it into reverse to stop moving forward.

– If you need a little more momentum, gently tap it forward. Do not throw it into forward.

– Your deckhands can now use the boat hooks to get the lines on the pilings by the stern. Once they secure those to the stern cleats, you won’t hit the dock in front of you.

– At this point, your crew can toss a bowline to someone on the dock, or someone can jump onto the dock, and have the lines thrown to them.

Using his excellent advice, I was able to move into the slip several times with just a few problems in the beginning. Okay, I may have grazed a couple of pilings and, at one point, Richard was standing on the port side, his feet firmly planted on the deck, pushing a piling away from the boat with all of his might. It was at these times that Capt. Brian’s patient, coaching voice would change to something entirely different:

“Go slow. VERY SLOW! Why are you in such a hurry?! Slow down! Reverse! REVERSE!!”

“Do you really want to lose that toe rail? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe you should steer a little more to the right then?”

“I said SLOWLY shift into reverse. I didn’t say to gun it!”

“Do you see that piling straight ahead?! Yes? Are you TRYING to hit it because YOU’RE ABOUT TO!”

Yes, Capt. Brian gained a few more gray hairs today but, for the most part, I did a pretty good job, especially after learning from my earlier mistakes. And, I was confident enough after practicing numerous times to steer the boat into our own slip. I overshot the slip the first time after turning too late. I aborted, turned around, came around again, and eased her in. It was picture perfect! At that point, there was an audience on the dock and, I have to admit, the men seemed impressed.

Later, one of the men on the dock texted me, and said, “Hey, can Capt. Brian teach MY wife how to dock a boat?”

Now I have to learn how to back her out of the slip. I’m a bit more nervous about that because she’s pretty big and there are boats in the slips behind us. I’ll let you know how that goes.

NEXT: HOW TO SAVE YOUR MARINE MATTRESS IN A HUMID ENVIRONMENT

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

DRIVING (NOT SAILING) TO KEY WEST. SIGH…

If you’re just tuning in, CLICK HERE to start at the beginning. 🙂

My birthday was last week and we drove to Key West for a grown-up’s weekend of fun! While we’d have loved to have sailed No Tan Lines there, we do not yet have the experience to do so. And, we desperately needed a tropical, grown-up holiday!

Our Dock 4 friends Stan and Chris are currently moored there and we stayed in a hotel on Duval Street. We were going to take the ferry down from Ft. Myers but it was far too cold so we cancelled that. We learned that, if they don’t have enough seats inside, you have to sit outside. And, it’s a good thing we cancelled because, on the way down, I came down with a horrible case of the flu.

(Before I forget, read about the time I checked my mother-in-law and her new husband into a clothing-optional resort in Key West…without telling them RIGHT HERE. Heh..)

Anyway, we left for Key West on Wednesday, stopping in Ft. Myers for a night to break up the drive. That night, I had a slight tickle in my throat at bedtime. The next morning, I woke up feeling AWFUL. It hit me so fast!

I bundled my pillow and big, furry robe into the back seat of the SUV. I tried working on my laptop for awhile but my head was pounding and my eyes were burning and watering. I ended up sleeping in the back seat for most of the drive, missing the miles and miles of beautiful, aqua blue water on both sides of the highway. It’s one of my favorite drives but I was so sick I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to the hotel, and go to bed.

When we arrived, that’s just what I did. That night, I had horrible chills and I couldn’t eat anything. I was coughing like crazy and my fever was making me hurt all over. Richard bought Mucinex and that helped, but never got my temperature back down to normal. I was downing cough drops one after another, and couldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.

And, that all lasted until the day before we were scheduled to leave. The flu didn’t ruin our vacation. It just changed it up quite a bit. I did have a few days of complete bed rest and I watched a ton of mindless TV.

We left on Tuesday (a day late) and I got these photos of hurricane damage on the way back.

50 – Foot sailboat that WASHED into a backyard!

This boat is clearly too big to have been dragged over the seawall and into this yard. This shows how high the water got in the upper keys.

Every several miles, we saw salvaged boats piled up. Many had barnacles all over them, indicating that they had totally sunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t get to see enough of Chris and Stan while we were there so we’re planning to return in May or June. They’ll be cruising the Caribbean until hurricane season returns.

You can read about their adventures on http://www.svdisorder.com. Don’t miss it!

NEXT: BUYING THE ARCH: EVER BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE FOR MAJOR UPGRADES!

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.