Re: Confession of a Potterer
Sun, 1 Aug 1999 11:42:07 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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I think we need to use checklists. I don't have one because I thought I had
the routine well established. But on a recent sail I drove home from
Redwood City without installing the strap to secure the boat on the
trailer. The bow was secured with both the bow strap and a rope lashing
around the tongue, but the boat could have been bounced out of position or
even off the trailer.

On another occasion, when launching, the tiltup trailer tilted up normally,
then continued to tilt up until the rear of the trailer hit the ramp
underwater. The tongue had lifted off the ball as yours did. I had
disconnected the trailer for some reason in the parking lot then failed to
latch the hitch properly.

Once I hauled the boat and trailer out of the water with a line dragging.
The line happened to be routed across the forestay, so when the loose end
wound up around a trailer wheel the line broke my forestay turnbuckle.

I've knocked the CB off its pin from trying to recover the boat with the CB
down, and I've tried to launch with the CB not tied, then wondered why the
boat wouldn't slide off the trailer.

On my last sail, I noticed, after I was underway, that the sheets were
twisted between the boom and traveler. By that time I was out in the wind
and didn't want to disconnect the sheet to fix it. It still worked okay but
was a little embarrassing.

I'm sure I could think of some more, but I hope that's enough to make you
feel a little better.


>I understand that when you confess it's supposed to make you feel better.
>I'll see:
>This little episode might save someone an accident.
>Yesterday I was in a big hurry to get out on the lake. It was a gorgeous day
>and I know that on weekends on Lake Tahoe, if you don't launch by 10 AM the
>parking at the launch ramp where I have my pass may be full. Then it becomes
>a super hassle.
>Sooooo--I rushed over to pick up the boat. I keep it in a rented garage
>that's about a half mile from my house. I live in a garageless condo.
>That's how the po' folk live here at the lake. I threw up the garage door,
>wheeled the boat out, lifted the tongue up on the van, checked my gas and
>oil, checked the boat tie downs, slammed the garage door shut and zipped off
>to the ramp. As I had figured, there where only about three parking spaces
>left for car and trailer. I grabbed one of them. Well, by now my adrenaline
>was pumping and I decided to see how quickly I could rig and get her in the
>water. I jumped out of the van, untied the mast and stepped it, hanked on
>the jib and then walked back on the boat to pull out the main and boom, when
>all the sudden my boat started tipping back! The first thought was that I
>had neglected to put the pin in my tilt trailer and the trailer was tipping.
>I dove forward and the boat came back down, fortunately before it had tipped
>enough to damage my Honda.
>I jumped down to see what the heck was going on. Oh my gosh! I had driven
>the five miles to the boat ramp without latching the trailer hitch! I do have
>safety chains, but the damage that could have been done had I just hit one
>unexpected pot hole is scary to imagine! Fortunately, no damage was done,
>but my heart was racing now.
>I latched the trailer, continued my setup and then backed down the ramp to
>the water. SCRUNCH! There went my trailer light as I hit it on a piling.
>That, too, can be easily replaced. For a hurried launch with bad luck I
>think I was pretty lucky.
>Moral of the story: Be careful! Have a check list. If you're new and
>uncomfortable, you might even use a written checklist. If you're experienced
>and confident, have a mental checklist. Just make certain that you check
>everything on your list. Do it when launching and retrieving and stowing your
>I may have to wait until our sail from Tahoe Keys to fix the tail light.
>They have a chandlery there at Tahoe Keys where I can get a replacement and I
>imagine I'll have the time as arrivals are coming in to install a new light.
>If any of you give me poop for driving with one light, I certainly deserve it!
>Now, do I feel better? I don't know. I think breakfast will make me feel
>better than this confession has, but what the heck.
>P-15 Lollipop
>N. Lake Tahoe, NV