Avoid This Syndrome

Published on April 24th, 2017

by Bill Sabanski
I am at the boat yard for the annual spring ritual of removing the cover and opening the boat for the coming season. As I walk to the local waterfront restaurant for lunch, I see a person on a cruising sailboat installing and raising the sails while the boat is on stands in the yard.

While the breeze was light and there appeared to be little danger of problem, there were still 6 boats on the hard, in line, downwind of this person. What if a puff blows in? The headsail is 2/3rds of the way up and a gust hits, it fill the sail and suddenly the boat shifts on the stands. Now it falls and takes out the next 6 boats in line. Now what?

Was getting the sails on before the launch worth all that? Why do you even need sails on the boat while it’s on the hard? And should what I pay for insurance reflect that I am lumped into pools with this person who is doing things, in my opinion, without giving it any thought as to the consequence of what if something goes wrong?

Last year I wrote about HSBOS – the Happy Stupid Boat Owners Syndrome. This is just another example of how self-centered, ‘get it done and launch the boat’ mentality creates a potential bad situation for all.

Do you really want to be the guy who does something like this, has something go wrong and takes out 4, 5 maybe 6 other boats with you, because your boat had to be ready to go when it hit the water and you couldn’t take the time to put up your sails after the launch?

I remember there was a time when marina contracts actually forbid this specific action. Not sure what happened to that, or maybe it’s still part of the deal, but I see it more and more all the time. I just wonder what goes through these people’s mind when they do something like that.

I guess it’s about getting the boat in the water. Its spring, we’re all anxious to go sailing, but let’s please exercise a little good judgement in prepping our boats.

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