Thu, 20 May 1999 12:47:36 -0400

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Greetings all:

I promised to tell you about my midadventure with a buoy last Saturday.
This is a true story which I have been too embarassed to tell any of my
friends. Fortunately my wife is sympathetic and has also kept mum about

Last Saturday was a partly cloudy day with moderate winds. We were
sailing close hauled, in Thunder Bay harbour, tacking back and forth
across the harbour with a single reefed main and working jib. On one of
the starboard tacks I was sitting on the starboard seat ( I usually sit on
the weather side) and had set a course towards a spot on shore. The
boat was sailing well when to my surprise I heard a bang and scraping
and suddenly saw a port lateral buoy close enough to touch. In a flash
we were past the buoy, my wife, who had been in the cabin, was yelling
"what the heck is going on?" and I yelled grab the helm while I rushed to
assess the damage. Fortunately the damage amounted to a lot of green
paint scuffs (from the buoy) and a 1/2 inch long gouge in the gell coat at
the chine below the port chainplate.

What happened is that when I did the tack (alone as the family was in the
cabin) the buoy went into the blind spot caused by the jib where it meets
the deck. I was holding such a steady course, with a steady wind, that
the buoy never came out of the blind spot and "crunch." The moral for me
is to take a better look, around the sails, when changing direction or
when on the same point of sail for a long period of time although I will
swear that I was looking ahead the whole time and the buoy must have
been placed in front of me just before I got there. Fortunately it was a
small buoy and we struck a glancing blow.

Anyways I hope that I have used up my buoy collision chips. What are
the odds of hitting a small object, such as a buoy, when there is so much
sea room around the object?

Fair Winds

P-19 #953 "Water Wings"
Thunder Bay, Lake Superior