Practice, Practice, Practice


Boat Handling is all about repetition and practice. Practice docking, practice backing up, practice springing off a dock, in wind, in current, on single screw, twin screw, outboards, inboards. Rinse and repeat. I’m really learning a lot, especially about the use of spring lines to get off a dock in heavy winds.  It really works if you understand the physics and do it right. I am easily the weakest boat handler on my crew, but I am gaining confidence with each repetition. Fortunately the Captains are patient and the crew supportive. The last couple of weeks our days have consisted of 4 hours of boat handling and 4 hours of Marlinspike, Pyro Technics, Sailing, Safety and Security.

Pyro Technics was a hoot. We went out on the water and used flares, flare guns, flares with parachutes and smoke bombs. We were using expired stock so sometimes things worked and sometimes they were duds but is was interesting  to understand how things would work in an actual emergency. Bottom line – flares don’t last very long so use them wisely.


We also spent MANY MANY hours learning about how rope becomes line and the importance of proper knot tying. Knot tying has never been my strength but I finally think I got it! I can tie 18 different types of knots, most I can see a practical application on Whimsea like attaching the line to the anchor chain – that’s one where you want to be confident! We also learned how to splice lines and I’m pretty sure I am going to outsource my line splicing needs to West Marine. I can do it, but really why would I want to?

Thanks for the care and concern about my fall and hurt ribs, I am slowing healing. My favorite comment was from Donna Clark who threw my own mentoring words back to me, “If you’re not uncomfortable then you aren’t growing.” This whole Seamanship Class is uncomfortable so I am very certain I am growing and learning!





2 thoughts on “Practice, Practice, Practice

  1. Congrats on all this Barb. I’m totally impressed…sounds Hard! And the other good news besides getting uncomfortable to grow is that all this learning is building new brain dendrites, helping protect your brain against Alzheimers. I feel like I’m growing new brain dendrites just reading all these new words:) Not that I really know what they even mean. Marlinspike, on single screw, twin screw, etc. I’m definitely enjoying the armchair travel and experience of this, just reading your blog. Kathie >

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  2. It sounds like you are learning bushels; way to go. I am learning all about puppies right now; very different from your world. I am delighted to learn of your success with knots; when you visit Columbus, you can come to book group and give us a demonstration. We could have “seamanship” as a theme some month. And – maybe you could do rope tricks at children’s birthday parties. Just a thought. Enjoy.


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