Here are the winners of a contest we held on Trawler World List, our original interactive mailing list, to determine who had the most embarrassing boating experience, who had the most painful learning experience, who, in other words, had the best horror story
And the winner is . . . Chesley Sugg, owner of what he calls a minimalist trawler, an Albin 25 known as Diamond Girl whose hailing port is Jordan Creek, North Carolina.
Couple of years ago, I was at the marina on a January day—air temp about 40 degrees, water temp, darn cold—when I couldn't quite reach a dropped dock line. As I lay on my belly on the dock, I realized that I had to move just one more inch to reach it. As I slid that last inch, I had a quick, sharp realization that my center of gravity was not on the dock anymore. I did a perfect flip into mucky, fuel laden, COLD water.
But that's not the horrible part of this story.
About one hour later, I had finally dried off and thawed out. I gathered my remaining dry clothes, an anchor and bundle of line and proceeded to leap aboard. In my still muddled state, I briskly hit my forehead on the boat hardtop, reeled backward onto the finger pier and off the other side.
Luckly the second cold shock keep me from passing out from the thump on my noggin. I lost an anchor, line, and all my dry clothes.
When I finally got out, I decided someone didn't want me here and proceeded to go home, clad in a pair of shorts, bedroom slippers, and a borrowed Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.
I haven't fallen in since, but I just bought a new boat and she is decidedly tender, without an abundance of handholds.
And the first runner-up is . . . Louise Coulson who lives aboard Caper, a 48-foot Harpswell Downeast Trawler in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Threw anchor in, not once, but twice, without having it tied to the boat.
That was many years ago. Hopefully, now we know better. Actually, now we have a great supply of new and more complex mistakes!
And the second runner-up is . . . Richard B. Shapiro of Imbroglio, a Marine Trader 34 Sedan hailing out of Albany, New York, when it isn't snowing.
Set-up: 4:00 a.m., approx. 20 miles off the Jersey Shore, as Captain of a 65' party boat, just ending night fishing for blues with about 40 passengers. You are the Captain and you're feeling pretty smug. Everybody caught fish tonite, the weather is good, you have plenty of extra fish to sell (reference = $). You go on the PA system to announce, "Three whistles!" It's time to go home, and tell the crew to begin cleaning the boat. You tell the first mate to get ready to haul anchor. All's well in the world.
Act I: The first mate complains that the anchor feels "heavy." Before too long, you realize that you have snared a string of lobster pots in the anchor. You announce to the passengers that you will have a short delay while you untangle the pots (Cutting is faster but you don't do that to the lobstermen). The rest of the crew continues to clean the boat.
Act II: The first mate gets to work on the tangle but can't handle the mess, four or five pots have been dragged into the anchor. The rest of the crew gets forward to help. The passengers are getting restless.
Act III: The Captain (you) decide to pull the boat forward to take some tension off the pot lines to assist the crew. You shift the gears and hear a horrible noise. The boat does not move ahead. You put the boat in neutral and notice your heart in your throat. The passengers heard the noise also.
Act IV: You go below, check the transmissions in the engine room and everything is in order. No indication of a problem. You have to go to the stern where the largest group of passengers are waiting, to explain more delay. Once in the stern, you notice that the washdown hose that the crew was using is hanging over the back rail and into the water! You feel the hose. It is under tension. It was left overboard, and when you put the boat in gear, it wrapped around the prop! You still have all kinds of lobster pots locked up in the anchor. You realize that you can now not go forward, backward, or in any other direction. You consider moving to Kansas and taking up farming. Verrrrry seriously.
Conclusion: For any of you who wonder about the existence of a supreme being, consider that after much discussion, sweating and a few words to the crew that even I didn't realize that I knew, I turned the fouled shaft by hand in the reverse direction, and the damn hose simply untangled itself. By this time the dummies (excuse me, the crew) had gotten the last of the lobster pots out of the anchor, and we went home. My lawyers have advised me not to post the corrective actions taken against the mate who threw the hose overboard, at least until the statute of limitations has expired.
Honorable mention goes to . . . Mark Luesse who owns Ein Prosit, surely the most attractive Albin 33 Trawler in Westminster, Maryland.
Before starting a complete refinishing of your teak deck, consider how much you really love your boat. If you've ever thought about selling it, do it now. Otherwise, you'll need a good set of knee pads and a palm sander. And be forewarned: Unless you like back wrenching tedium and strong chemicals, it won't be a lot of fun!
I put about 200 hours into recaulking the deck of our 33' Albin. The worst part was removing the old caulk. I found that cutting the edges with a carpet knife, then pulling the caulk out with a small straight blade screwdriver with the end bent worked the best. This gets the majority of caulk out, but you still need to clean the inside edges of the grooves down to the teak. You will need to apply a break tape to the bottom of the groove (another serious pain in the ass) so that the caulking adheres only to the sides. The reason for this is to allow the expansions of the deck to be absorbed by the entire width of the seam, otherwise the caulk will eventually peel from the side of the seam where the edges of the planking meet.
The grooves will need to be cleaned with acetone and primed immediately before caulking (The 3M primer says 1-4 hours after application). Be sure to use a good grade of one part poly sulfite caulk such as 3M 101 or Sikaflex. Do not attemp to use two-part unless you have access to an evacuation chamber to remove entrapped air.
Before starting to caulk, it is worth practicing how to fill and smooth the caulk in the grooves and avoid air entrapment. I found that using a 6" metal ruler with a rounded end made just the right groove shape. I made one pass to scoop up the excess and then made a finishing pass in the other direction. The trick is to do it in one shot.
The more you work it, the worse it gets. Don't worry about the excess or cleaning it off the teak. Attempting to do so without messing up the grooves would require the patience of a monk. Once it dried, I used a plasitc scaper to remove the majority of excess and light sanding cleaned the rest.
I did all of my work under shrink wrap in the winter/spring. If you want to do it in the summer you will need to keep the boat covered since the decks likely provide a water seal to your interior cabin space. The poly sulfite can take from 1 to 3 weeks to cure, enough to sand and finish the deck (depending on temperature and humidity). Wear a good respirator, particularly with the teak primer and the poly sulfite.
The Albin 33 with only the main deck in teak required 23 tubes of caulk. Half way through I discovered that the two cases of 3M 101 I purchased were different. The tubes were slightly different, but there were no indications of any difference in the markings. However, the texture, viscosity and curing properties were quite different. Fortunately the difference in the finished deck is imperceptable.
Looking back, I have to say that the decks are now beautiful, BUT, I'd sooner pave them in concrete than go though a refinishing job again.
If you have a painful moment or embarrassing learning experience to share with other trawler crawlers, please e-mail it to Trawlers & Trawlering.
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