Stories From Other Cruisers: “I Didn’t Push Him Over, I Swear!”

Sunday April 27, 2014

Rainbows End in the Water

 s/v Rainbows End


It’s my favorite time of the month again, where I get to share your funny stories of cruising days gone wrong.  Do I love it so much because of all the hilarious things that happen to people besides ourselves, or just the fact that I get out of writing something of my own for a day?   Hmmmm, I think it’s a little bit of both.

Thank you so much to Ellen of The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick for being my first volunteer to give me a story for this segment.  You could all learn from her.  (I’m trying to give you a hint that you should all send me more stories) In this month’s story, taken right from Ellen’s post, there’s a familiar explanation of partner communication gone wrong, along with some tv show drama daydreaming, which leaves one person in the water at a very unfortunate time. *All photos have been taken from the Cynical Sailor.


I Almost Killed Scott the other day.

The key word here is “almost” – there was bleeding and a few swear words, but Scott survived. Which is good because I’ve kind of grown fond of him. And he makes a really good egg and cheese breakfast burrito so he is a keeper. Here is how this little drama unfolded…

Take two people. Put them in a sailboat. Make sure at least one person knows how to sail because the other person probably forgot everything she learned the previous summer because her brain can’t possibly retain information on sailing for seven months. There is limited capacity up there and the sailing information has had to be replaced with the plot details about who has done what to who in season 2 of Scandal. {Please, no spoilers about the second half of season 2 or season 3.} Then add in some wind so that you can spice up a docking maneuver. The docking maneuver should have been routine and had in fact been successfully completed just two days earlier. This leads everyone to believe that it will all be just fine. The fools. 

Have your skipper head into the dock against the wind so that it slows the boat down. Get your least experienced crew member situated with a mooring line on the bow so that she can jump down to the dock and secure the boat. In the future, remember to tell your least experienced crew member to stop thinking about the next episode of Scandalduring the docking maneuver because it might be a bit distracting. If you’re the inexperienced crew member, start to feel somewhat clever because you remember reading somewhere that you shouldn’t make a big jump onto the dock and instead just lightly hop down to it. Once you realize that the dock is too far away for your short little legs, tell the skipper that it is too far to jump. But make sure you do so in a normal tone of voice because you’ve been told you sometimes speak too loudly and your voice carries. Then wonder why the skipper asks you why you haven’t jumped yet. Panic and jump. Panic some more then pull the bow line in smartly. While you’re doing this, your skipper should put the engine in neutral and jump onto the dock with the stern line. Make sure to pull on the bow line just when he is over the water so the boat drifts off astern and he falls into the water. Such fun. Such entertainment for everyone that is watching the maneuver. 

At this point, there might be some naughty words being said. You can’t be sure about this because the water might be muffling what the skipper is saying. When the skipper yells at you to come grab the stern line, make sure you drop the bow line because keeping hold of it would be far too sensible. Then watch the bow drift away and the skipper swimming in the water. Thinking quickly and somewhat in a panic, grab the lifeline to pull the boat in so it doesn’t completely drift off. Then panic some more that you are going to crush the skipper in between the boat and the dock. Good times. 

Somehow, the skipper manages to pull himself onto the swim platform and back onto the boat. Then off the boat to grab the bow line sitting on the dock. The skipper restores order. The inexperienced crew member goes down below and wonders if it is too early for a gin and tonic. The skipper thinks this is the exact moment to do a debrief of what went wrong. Because doing a “lessons learned” exercise is really important. Except all the inexperienced crew member can think about is whether there is still some lemon for the gin and tonic and isn’t listening at all to the skipper. Fortunately, years of marriage have taught her how to do the head nodding thing which gives the illusion that she is paying attention. 

And just to put some icing on the cake, make sure your gears get jammed up and won’t go into forward just when you’re trying to get off the dock and back to your mooring. This provides more entertainment for bystanders while you try to make your gears work all the while you’re drifting backwards because only reverse will work. 

The good news is that the skipper was wearing swim trunks already, didn’t have his wallet or phone in his pockets and the water wasn’t too terribly cold. He does have some pretty cuts and nicks from the barnacles on his arms, legs, hands and feet as a lovely memento of the event.

Cynical Sailor 2


*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.

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