What’s Wrong With This Picture?
This woman is posed on a yacht charter, but she’s sitting on the rail which is always precarious. The rail is better than the lifelines, which tend to shift, but it’s still a terrible idea. Her center of gravity is too high, which could send her into the drink with a sudden move of the boat. They both belong back in the cockpit where things are safer.
She’s holding the dog while sitting on the rail, which is asking for trouble. As a result, any movement by the dachshund will let it squirm and drop into the water. Then she will likely get off-balance and fall as well.
Neither of them is wearing a life preserver. They make them for dogs of all sizes. If the water is cold or the woman hits her head, the only thing that would save her is a PFD.
The boat is listing too much to starboard for seating so high on the bow. The photo looks like they’re on an even keel, but look at the shoreline. It appears to be tilting 5 or 7 degrees, which compounds the chances of them going overboard.
There’s no netting in the lifelines for the dog. If the woman were properly seated on the deck of the bow, the dog could take advantage of netting to avoid slipping overboard.
She is poorly dressed for boating. Elegant gowns have a tendency to get caught on snaps and other pesky things that stick out on a boat. From the tilt of her ankle, it looks like she has heels on. That’s ridiculous for a boat, even for a photo shoot. Maybe she’s barefoot.
My own experience under sail
I’ve had only three guests bring along their dogs. One was a service dog named Izzy whose owner depended on him to quell her anxiety.
Faith Boggio brought along her toy poodle, who sat in her lap the entire day, from 10 am to 3:30 pm. “She’s a rescue dog, probably seven years old best we can tell. We got him when he was three years old after six months in a foster home. They told us he was traumatized, with her name tattooed inside her ear. It’s taken a long time to bring her back since he still has a lot of anxiety.”
The only bad review I ever got on Trip Advisor involved a dog. Two couples were set to go out. One unexpectedly brought a big Labrador. He was fine, but the other couple gave me a mediocre review because of the dog. “Had we known, we would have brought our dog along,” the woman wrote.
Dogs are fine on board, once they get adjusted to the boat heeling from side to side. They have fine balance. Our own dogs are no good because as Lakeland terriers they tend to jump right off the boat through regardless of netting. Small dogs are better because their owner can hold them in their lap, as seen here with Willow.
Not many people take their dogs with them on vacation, since it’s a hassle. But it’s a lucky dog who gets to go, including on a sailboat.
As for cats, I’ve never seen one on a sailboat.
Sailing into Retirement
On a still August morning, Carol Logue and John Campbell of Richmond brought two friends out to sail the York. Carol said, “Delores [Smith] is spending her first workday in retirement. She was head of development at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond.” We toasted her retirement and success, since she raised over $200 million in her 30-year career. She also had a $1 million endowment named for her to go to underwrite needy students.
We got to talking about the USC admissions scandal, and for the first time I found people who were truly appalled at the scam. Other friends have pooh-pooh’d it as business as usual and pay-to-play. But we all considered it an ethical lapse of epic proportions.
The wind picked up slightly in the afternoon as Catherine and Ron Harrison of Cherry Hill NJ took their four daughters sailing. “I’m retiring in two days from the Police Department,” he said proudly. We talked about some of his work, which included investigation fatal car accidents and other highway crashes. Yikes.
A married Marine Corps couple from Cherry Point NC and their two children went sailing so he could get take in a lesson. Hannah Foose said, “We took the kids on the pirate ship yesterday, and we’re staying in a B&B on the water for me. So today we’re doing this for him.” She added, “We had a chance to get a sailboat for free. It was 22 feet. But the logistics were complicated because we couldn’t get to it easily where it was berthed. After all that, we thought we should get lessons first.”
We were joined by Ethan Miller of Norfolk. “I just retired from the Navy after 22 years, and I want to take up sailing so I can cross the Atlantic. I figure it will take a boat in the mid-40s. The Navy was good to me, I can’t complain. They paid my way for my master’s degree.” He worked in mine-sweeping operations — from the air. “We drag a line with a V brace up to 2,000 feet long to try and snare mines.”
The two guys chatted about times at sea as I tried to find the wind. It was hot, but they’d seen hotter. Ethan said, “We were out in the Indian Ocean when the boilers broke down for the air conditioning. Everyone wound up sleeping on the deck. The engineers cut a big hole in the bow for ventilation so they could fix it. When the got back to Guam, they welded the piece back on.”
When the wind finally picked up, we did a couple of tacks and then ran downwind on the spinnaker. They were dazzled by that, but we agreed to meet later in the week to pursue the Close Reach.
Two days later, the winds were still light but they grew progressively into a 10 mph breeze that took us six tacks down the York River. We did hove-to and a MOB drill along the way, then flew the spinnaker all the way back. By now, they have become adroit on the spinnaker.
MOB led Ethan to talk about the Navy drill. “It’s all hands on deck, and always seems to happen when you’re in the shower or eating. Every sailor has an assigned spot on deck or in view of the water to be a spotter. We sail back and forth looking for the man overboard.” In his 22 years, did he lose anyone? “No, never happened.”
First Time Sailing
Ashley Belizaire of Valley Stream NY took her boyfriend Kyle Graham sailing for his birthday. She’s working on her master’s in clinical psychology, and he is an electrical and mechanical engineer. It was her first time on a boat of any kind. She seemed slightly anxious and turned the helm over to him as we sailed downriver in a light breeze. Then her mother called.
“No, I’m fine,” Ashley said. “We’ll be okay. He knows what he’s doing, very professional.” I waited before asking what that was about. “She had a traumatic experience on the water and nearly drowned. She’s just looking out for me.” I sent them up to the bow for several hours of quiet time. Afterward Ashley beamed, “It was my first boat ride. I did fine.”
Let’s Go Sail, with my dog
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What's Wrong With This Picture?
At least six dangerous situations comprise this staged photo of a model on the bow of a sailboat. It's useful to know the basics of seamanship safety before setting sail.
Capt. Bill O'Donovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails