Mishaps and Lessons Learned

2016 May: Collision with fishing stakes

Here is a summary and analysis of the "accident" we had while sailing in the Chesapeake towards Oxford MD.After having successfully sailed more than 1300 nm for 10 days in the great open waters of the Atlantic we were sailing with a North-East wind on a close hauled course in the Chesapeake. Because of the traffic and "proximity" to land, as soon as we entered the Chesapeake, we  switched from a 2 hours to 1 hour watch schedule. At midnight of May 19 we were on a starboard tack just west of Ingram bay. I instructed Jon to keep a close hauled course to try to stay clear of the shallow area of Duck Blind  and to call me for any questions and when it was time to tack. I went to catch on some sleep and suddenly at 1 am I heard and felt a collision. I immediately got up from the settee were I was resting.  As the collision happen, Jon was about to come to wake me up and he was also inside the cabin. We both run out and we saw about 10 feet in front of the bow of Blue Note a bunch of piling. We let the jib flying and start the engine putting it in reverse. For a moment I had a problem controlling the wheel and I was afraid that the tiller was damaged, however soon I realized that the autopilot was still engaged. Once I disengaged the autopilot, the wheel felt normal and with the motor we bear off to port, jibed and headed back East towards the middle of the Chesapeake. Although the engine sounded normal, as soon as away from the dangerous area we switched the engine off and start sailing again. We checked that no water was coming in the bilge, inspected the hull near the bow and the only sign visible was a very light scratch on the port side cap rail. We continued sailing a bit shaken by the collision towards Oxford where we arrived in the early afternoon. The next day Blue Note was schedule for a haul out and the only mark visible were some light scratches on the front part of the keel. Below you can see photos of what the Fishing Stakes looks like (photo found on Google). There is also a screen capture of the raster chart provided by NOAA with Blue Note course. The stakes are marked on this chart but they were not marked on the Navionic chart loaded in the Raymarine chart-plotter. Here are several lessons to be learned from this accident: 

Lesson Learned:

  1. I should have gave more precise instructions to Jon on not to get too close to shore and where to call me for tacking.
  2. I should have checked the raster charts along the expected course and warn Jon of the presence of the stakes.
  3. I should have explained to Jon that the charts on the Chart-plotter and the one on the laptop are different and that it is good practice, once a while, to cross check between them.
  4. The presence of the Stakes are correctly reported on the Navionics charts available online (http://webapp.navionics.com/) so it's very much possible that the updated Navionic chart do have marked the presence of the stakes. This is a remind that it's better spending money for updating the charts than paying the consequence for what could have been a very costly accident.
  5. Jon was concentrating too much in checking the depth, the reading was 27 feet right before the collision. Sometime it is easier to look too much  at the chart-plotter and not long enough around the boat and where the boat is heading. It was dark but almost full moon with some clouds and it might have been possible to see the stakes in time to tack away.
  6. It always help to get lucky !!! 

I think what happen is that Blue Note decided to enter the fishing stakes area just in the middle of tow poles. The net was strong enough to act as a slingshot. The net was loaded with the forward momentum of Blue Note and shoot her back away from the piling. Things could have been so much worst:

  • We could have hit a pole straight on causing significant damage to the pulpit.
  • A shroud could have been caught by one of the piling possibly bringing down the mast.
  • We could have struck an underwater piling and breached the hull.
  • We could have get wedged between two piling
  • We could had the prop or keel tangled by the net

    It is so much safer to sail in the open blue water of the Atlantic. The danger is always higher while getting close to shore. 

Photos related to accident

2012 December: Bilge switch stuck in the “on” position and proper way to connect the spare battery.

After leaving Blue Note at a mooring for about 4 weeks I come back and found that the electronic high water bilge switch was “stuck” in the on-position. In spite of having solar panel  and a wind generator the batteries were near dead. Moreover the continuous running of the bilge pump, until the battery lost the charge, did worn down the ball bearing of the pump. The switch is a Water Witch Model 230  and one of its advantage is to not have any moving parts, and because of that it should be immune to get stuck in the on position. However, as just it had happen to me,  even for an electronic switch a condition of permanent-on can happen. The electronic switch works by detecting conduction between two electrodes when the water rise (need to be salt water). if there are “slimy residual”  in the bilge (or debris like wet paper or cloth) the conduction between the two electrodes remain even after the water is expelled by the bilge pump. Hence the constant “on-status”.  The water in the bilge was high but luckily had not reached the batteries.  I used the manual pump to empty the bilge and try to start the engine using the spare battery and some battery cables to make the connection. I isolated the now almost completed discharged batteries from their cable and connected the spare AGM battery to the cable going to the engine starter with the jump cables. The engine made an attempt to start but it looked as the spare battery had not enough cranking power. Since I actually never tried before to use the spare battery to start the engine, I suspected that the spare battery was not strong enough or perhaps discharged. Blue Note was at a mooring close to the marina, I asked help to Wolfgang (a man working for Skip of Island Yacht).  Wolfgang brought over a large, brand new, AGM battery. We replace my small AGM battery with the big one and use again the jump cable to make the connection. Same result. I then realized that the issue might be in the connection made using  the jump cable (they have alligator clips with spring at the end). Then I took the cable going to the engine starter and screw them on the stud of the large AGM battery. The engine finally started. With the engine running I was able to  bring the boat to a slip at the marina and use shore power to re-charge the batteries. After about 30 hours, the battery were recharged and after some time of  rest I tested them with the hydrometer  and luckily they were ok.

Lesson Learned:

  1. Unfortunately the electronic high water switch is not immune to get into a stuck “on” condition.  However it is less prone to that problem than regular float switch and plus it has the nice feature to avoid frequent triggering when there is water in the bilge slashing around under sail. A switch stuck in the on position could have quite severe and expensive consequence. Because the main bilge pump (a Jabsco 34600) draw about 10A when on, there is very little chance that windgenerator and solar panel will be able to keep with such constant consumption and prevent the battery from going discharged.
  2. Now before leaving the boat I make sure the bilge is clean and I also pass a clean towel on the electrodes of the switch  to remove and slime.  Unfortunately this is not a guarantee that a similar accident will not happen again. A possible improvement could be to install a bilge pump with a lower current drawn governed by a  switch at a lower level and use a  larger pump with its switch at a higher level. The small bilge pump will be able to take care of the stuffing box leak and in case the switch get stack in the on state its low current consumption will not drain the battery. Perhaps another solution would be to replace the dripping staff box with a PSS dripless  joint, but beside the considerable cost of the PSS and the installation, some cruiser warn of the danger to use a PSS  for long passage since its repair while under way is near impossible.
  3. Jumper cable do not make good enough contact (too much series resistance).  After this accident  I tried to use my small AGM spare battery to start the engine and if I make the connection using the stud on the battery and screwing the cable on it,  my  small spare AGM  battery works just fine.

2012 January: SPOT message failing to transmit.

I was sailing single handed from St. Thomas to St. Martin. St. Martin is only just over 100 nm away but the wind 20 to 25 kts, was from the East-South-East and I was expecting a slow 36 hours of close haul sail and perhaps few tacks. I had left Red Hook around 3 pm and I was going to meet Renee in St. Martin and I had given her an ETA of the late evening of the next day. As I usually do during a passage, every 4 hours I send out a “SPOT” message so that  my coordinates are forwarded  in an email to friends. Renee and my friend Peter back in the US were on the distribution list. Unfortunately there is no way to tell if the SPOT coordinates  have been successfully transmitted to the Globalstar satellite and relayed to hearth to be sent to the people on the email list. Unknowingly to me the battery of the SPOT were low and the SPOT was still able to get its on GPS position (there is a red light of  warning if the the SPOT can not lock the GPS position) but no warning if the coordinates are not received by the Globalstar satellites and then sent to heart. The SPOT did work for the first couple of hours but then stopped. The morning after my departure Renee woke up and after checking her email found only two  SPOT message of the night before. She waited until noon and then called Peter in the US. Peter also owns a SPOT and mentioned to her that probably the batteries were dead. However Peter also asked Renee if when I  left Red Hook I was wearing a life jacket !! Peter offered to call Jeff Lewis (who both Peter and I have used as delivery captain and who also uses a SPOT during  his deliveries). Jeff reassured Peter that all probably was ok and they decided to wait until the evening and talk on the phone again then. By 6pm there was still no SPOT message received and Jeff decided to call his friends at the US Coast Guard in Puerto Rico. Since the call came from a professional captain and a retired  US coast Guard member,  they took the issue very seriously and discussed  the launch of search aircraft for the following morning. Meantime the US Coast Guard issued a call to the MRCC France in Martinique. At 10pm  I was approaching St. Martin, still 10 NM away, and I was busy trying to avoids  the traffic of cruise ships and containers ship, when on the VHF radio I heard the MRCC hailing for "Blue Note". I immediately replied and the person at the  MRCC France asked me about my condition and explained  that the USCG was looking for Blue Note. I informed them that everything was OK. They wanted to know my current position and ETA to St. Martin. They also asked me to call them again when I had anchored in Philipsburg  Bay.  I immediately realized what had happen and I then setup the Inmarsat satellite (I usually do not keep the dome out and I use the Satellite only for long open water passages) With the satellite phone I called Renee and told her everything was fine. At 2am I set anchor in the large Philipsburg  bay and called MRCC France  to let  them know that I had arrived at destination.

Lesson Learned:

  1. The SPOT is a great devices but its batteries need to be changed often since it appears that it’s able to transmit only when they are fully charged. That is also why the manual suggest to use Lithium batteries and not the regular alkaline types, since the lithium battery are able to maintained higher Voltage for longer time.
  2. Now I gave plenty of warning to the friends on the SPOT email distribution list that lack of SPOT messages are not indication of trouble.
  3. Every time I’m sending SPOT messages I also check my own email (I’m in the SPOT email distribution list as well) to make sure the SPOT message was received by the Globalstar satellite and transmitted.
  4. On Blue Note there is now a life-vest with a PLB attached to it. The vest is always wore by the person on watch. Without the PLB if you fell overboard, while single handed sailing or at night  when  everyone else sleeping, is  “over” and at that point not very useful  to even wear a life vest. Without a PLB  you will not be founded, there is no USCG or MRCC that can help you.

2011 November: Engine failure and lost cushion

Michiel and I were at the very end of our passage from New York City to St. Thomas. The trip was a bit with rough. We had strong and cold wind the first few days after leaving NYC then the worry of Tropical storm Sean that kept us West of the rhumb line.  Because of our westerly track the last few days were pretty much on a close hauled course and not that comfortable. In spite of all that we had reached St. Thomas and all was good. We were going to sail through the “Middle Passage” just East of Thatch Cay. The passage is relatively wide but there are some submerged rocks to the east. There was a nice wind at 15-20  kts from the East and we could have just sailed through, but I did not wanted to take any chance right at the end of a successful passage and I started the engine at a low rpm just to have it ready. The plan was to pick up one of the mooring near Caneel Bay and that would have marked the official ending of the passage.

Just after we made it  through the Middle Passage and while we were sailing near the two brothers the engine alarm sounded. The oil pressure was low simply because the engine had stopped  I tried to start the engine again, but without success. There was nothing to do but just pick up a  mooring under sail. I don’t often do that, so it was a bit of a thrill for ending the trip. But all went well at the first try and we officially ended the passage.  Once at the mooring, even before tackling the engine issue, we went for the customary celebration dive in the warm waters of the Caribbean and had a beer.  

After the celebration, was time to get to work. First  we wanted to try to figure out why the engine did stopped and did not wanted to start. We checked the level of diesel (we were still using the small of the two tanks) and the tank was ¼ full. I suspected the fuel pump (a small electric pump that had failed on Blue Note back in Tampa and was replaced with a new one). I removed the hose after the pump and turned the engine keys that also power the pump. Diesel start to pours out. So that was a proof that the pump was working and that the primary fuel filter was not clogged. I then started to purge air from the fuel line (as I do after changing the fuel filter)  using the nut on top of the secondary fuel filter. After done that, the engine started with no problem. What had happen is that while sailing on port tack the boat was heeling to starboard and even if the tank was ¼ fuel air must have entered the fuel line (the intake from the tank is indeed on the port side of the tank).

Happy to have fixed that problem, we were now on vacation mode and since we were going to spend few days in the BVI, we had to inflate the dingy. The dingy during a passage is folded and stored at the bottom of the large lazarette. Obviously every thing else that is store there had to come out as well: fenders, buckets, lines, outboard engine, etc.. So the cockpit had become a mess with all this stuff around. Once the dingy was out we brought it to the fore deck where there is enough space to inflate it. The foot pump for the dingy is stored in the smaller lazarette right under the seat behind the helm. Inflating the dingy did not take more than 10-15 minutes. After the dingy was hoisted above the lifelines and lowered into the water. We then had to put the outboard engine in the dingy. So we went back to the cockpit and started to put all the stuff back into the lazarette. As we were doing this  I realized that we were missing the cushion that was right on top of the lazarette behind the helm. All the cushion were brand new and I had just have them made by Pacific Seacraft for me not even a month early. The cushions are very  nice and very light. So what must have happen is that  when I got the foot pump from the lazarette I must have put the cushion on to of the other stuff in the cockpit and because the wind must have blew the cushion  in the water. We went looking for the cushion the day after along the shore of St.John but with no luck.

Lesson Learned:

  1. While motor sailing and especially when using the small fuel tank and on port tack, there is the dangerous that air will enter the line. Now when the small tank is ¼ full I switch to the larger fuel  tank.
  2. When getting stuff from the lazarette now the rule on Blue Note is to store all cushions inside the boat.

2011 September: Careful of hot coffee

I was sailing back from Gloucester to NYC and I left Gloucester at sun rise since I wanted to make the Cape Cod Canal with the right tide condition.  I reached the  Cape Cod Canal in the late afternoon and after crossing the canal I decided to anchor at Onset Bay and spend the night there. Onset is a very nice and protected anchorage. The next morning I was checking my email using a “free” WiFi and I had just made my self a nice Italian cup of coffee. The cup was right in front my laptop while I was sitting at the Nav Table. While retreating my hands from the keyboard I hit the cup and spill all the coffee on my laps and on my groin area. Extremely painful !  The first reaction was to hold my hand on the groin (like when someone hit you there)  but that decreased the thermal resistance of the socked pajama with the skin making things even worse. It took me probably 1 or 2 second to override the instinctive reaction and get up and remove my pants and get into the shower to pure cold water on the area. Unfortunately the damage was already done. The pain was excruciating for at least an hour. I took a couple of Advil and start to read the section on burns  of my  medical books. Beside cleaning they recommend using  topical antibiotic like Bacitracin to avoid infections. I considered go to shore and get help at a local hospital, but beside the logistic problem and the fact that I had to go back to work  on Monday, I decided to continue for NYC. I sailed straight for 36 hours without sleeping; I probably could not have slept anyway with the pain. The day after arriving at  home, I went to my doctor and he instructed me to do nothing different than what the book had said.

Lesson Learned:

  1. Let the coffee cool a bit before removing it from the coffee maker.
  2. Do not multi-task with coffee, I now also use an heavy ceramic mug with a large base that does not tip that easily.
  3. Keep large quantity of local antibiotic cream and sterile pads on the boat.

2011 March: Careful of wind shift while retrieving the anchor.

After sailing single handed from St. Thomas to the Leward Island and after having spent three wonderful weeks exploring Dominica, Guaodelope, Antigua, St. Barth, Nevis, Anguilla I returned to the BVI and stopped at Spanish town to check in. I anchored outside the harbor , spent the night there and the next morning  went for checking-in. The customs at Spanish town are not as courteous as those at West End or at Biras Creek, but never less they allowed me to do a check-in and check out since I was going to spend only a couple days before returning to the USVI. After the early morning visit to the custom I returned to Blue Note and started the process to retrieve the anchor. There was hardly any wind in the bay. As I usually do when single handed, after starting the engine and keeping it in neutral I proceed to the bow and slowly start to retrieve the chain. I always check the distance from my boat to the one behind the stern since once the anchor is up, obviously nothing is holding the boat in place and she will start to drift back. I start to retrieve some of the chain and look back towards the stern: the distance from Blue Note and the boat  behind had increased  as expected. Once the  anchor was up, one more look at the stern and because there was plenty of distance for Blue Note to drift back, I decided not to rush to the helm but instead tie down the anchor. I then calmly walked back to the helm and put in gear, but now looking forward I see that Blue Note is gently charging towards a boat at anchor and there are only few feet of distance. There was no way to avoid a slow speed collision between the mid ship starboard side of Blue  Note and the spare anchor of the boat at anchor. The collision was weak but it did  woke-up  the owner of the boat.  They rushed to their pulpit  and fence off Blue Note. I had the engine in neutral because I did not want to make the situation worst and I went to help pushing  the boat apart trying to avoid that the spare anchor was latching to the shroud of Blue Note. h Once the boats were apart I went back to the helm and engaged the transmission and drove Blue Note away from the boat. For several minutes I circled  the boat I had just collided with and apologized. The owner checked his boat carefully and signaled to me that he had suffered no damage  (the only point of contact was with his spare anchor). Blue Note suffered a bent stanchion and a lifeline with a broken plastic cover. Both needed  to be replaced but It could have been worst.

What happen is that the wind right on top of Blue Note anchor had the opposite direction of the wind where Blue Note was before starting to retrieve the anchor. I was looking only backwards while retrieving the anchor and did not notice that Blue Note was actually continuing to move forward towards another boat.

Lesson Learned:

  1. Be very careful of shifting wind. Especially  in a well protected anchorage where the surrounding  terrain can cause significant wind shift. This is especially true when winds are weak.
  2. While retrieving the anchor, it is important to look not only behind but also in front and on the side of the boat.
  3. Once the anchor is retrieved, it’s not time to clean up and tie the anchor down. But rather time to get back to helm and get out of the anchorage area. Now when I retrieve the anchor I  don’t even bring it  up completely. I let the anchor  dangling in the water and get back to the helm and slowly motor to open wate. This also helps to clean any sediment that sometime are left on the anchor. Blue  Note has a sufficiently long pulpit that the anchor does not eat the hull when going forward at a los speed.

2010 December:Lost Dingy.

For the Christmas Holiday I was sailing in the BVI with Monique and her friend Kristen. When we have guest who have never been in the BVI before, we have a precise itinerary of places that we want to visit and this of course includes the Bath on Virgin Gorda. We left Cooper Island early in the morning to get to the Bath early and get a mooring (sometime difficult if later during the day).  From the mooring with took our dingy and we went to a “floating dingy dock”. This is just a line not far from shore where you have  to tie the dingy and then swim to shore. The BVI park service decided to set the floating dingy dock line because bringing  the dingy to the small beach was not practical and dangerous because of the swell  that often wash to shore.  As I was tying  the painter to the thick line of the “floating dock” Monique, anxious to go to shore, tells me: “Dad, that’s enough tying. It’s not going to go anywhere”. So I stopped and we all jumped in the water and swam to the beach. From there we started the famous Devils Trail. It’s a beautiful trail and it was early in the morning so that no one else was there. The trail ends at Devils beach, another beautiful beach with turquoise water. From Devils Beach  there is another trail up to the hill to  the restaurant “on top of the Bath”. A stop at the restaurant is another must since the view is beautiful and the time was perfect for an early lunch.  After lunch it was time to return to Blue Note and we descend the short trail  to the beach where we had swam to. By now the beach was very busy with tourist, some from yachts but most from cruise ship in Tortola that have took the ferry to Virgin Gorda. At the beach I look at the floating dingy dock and our dingy is not there !

 That  was a very bad news. Not only for the high cost of a new dingy and a new outboard but without a dingy it would have been near impossible to continue the vacation in the BVI. I told  Monique and Kristen to wait at the beach and I run up the trail back at the restaurant because next to it there is an office of the BVI park service. I told  them that my dingy was stolen. Honestly I was not 100% sure it was stolen and I considered the possibility that it simply get loose. In any case, if the dingy was lost, I needed a police report for insurance purpose. I asked the ranger to call the police. They did and told me to wait there for the police to come from Spanish town. Spanish Town is only 2 miles away but the police finally arrive after more than half an hour. As I was waiting I was pretty upset thinking about the money lost and the vacation ruined. When the police arrived they took careful notes on a small notepad of the description of the dingy and motor and my name and contact information. Then they said  “let’s go to the beach”. So we walk down to the beach. Once at the beach I started  to look for my daughter and her friends and I could not find them either. The police officer told  me that nobody in the BVI steals dingy and he kept asking me if I was sure I had tied it done well. Now the dingy had become my second worry and I was looking for my daughter. I walked to the side of the beach where I could see if at least Blue Note was still there and I saw that there was a dinghy towing another dingy just near  Blue Note. After tying one of the dinghy to Blue Note the people (I could  not tell who they were) come back towards the beach. As they got closer I could see that Monique and Kristen were on the dingy together with three young hansom boys. They tied the dingy to the floating dock and swam to shore. Monique and Kristen were very happy and smiling they had met three young boys and asked them to take them to look for Blue Note's dingy.  Almost immediately they found the dingy on the rocks been smashed by the waves.  One of the boy swam to the dingy and was able to get it to float and tie it to their dingy. The police officer listen to Monique story and told me: “you see, I told you that you had not tied it down well. Nobody still dinghy in the BVI.” I apologized profusely for calling the police  and for my mistake. They were not upset, perhaps happy to had the chance to take a walk to the beach and make fun of an American tourist with a funny Italian accent. The boys were nice enough to take us back to Blue Note and I thank them as well (later we met them again at Anegada and we offered them some drinks).  I inspected the dingy and the hull a part some scratch was OK  The oars were both broken (but luckily I had spares on board) the outboard engine was the one that had the most damage. The propeller was bent and had to be replaced. The cowling (the cover for the engine) was severely damaged and had to be replaced. The case holding the pulling cord, was also damaged and eventually had to be replaced as well. Overall an expensive mistake, but we were able to continue our vacation and still had  a dingy. Probably  the knots of the painter to the floating dock line just come loose (a know that is in the water has its own way to become untied) or perhaps someone had to take his  dinghy out and inadvertently untied  mine.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Do not listen to your daughter  or to anyone else who  tells you  that you had tied it enough.
  2. Now I always lock my dingy with a steal cable and a lock. Not so much that I’m afraid that someone would want to steal the dingy  but as a backup of the tie with the painter and because locks do not  come loose by themselves.

August 2010: Sheet rapped around the propeller.

I was  single handed sailing in the Long Island Sounds. As often happen in the LIS a gentle breeze is present during the hottest part of the day but towards the  end of the afternoon the wind dies down. Because of the little wind I was flying my asymmetric spinnaker but when the wind died down I had no choice than to douse the spinnaker down and start motoring.  I start the engine and kept it in neutral. I then went  to the bow and took down the sock  folding the spinnaker. The “sock” is a very convenient  way to deploy and dose down the spinnaker. After the sock was down I lowered the halyard bringing the whole spinnaker  onto the deck at the bow.  I then walked back to the cockpit and I engaged the transmission forward, after a brief moment  the engine stopped abruptly with a thump noise. I knew exactly what had happen.  The sheet of the spinnaker had fallen into  the water and as soon as the propeller was engaged it rapped around the propeller.  At this point there was absolutely no wind and to sail to a place to anchor  was just not possible. The boat was slowly drifting in the LIS at a safe distance from  any coastline.  I figured that the only things to do was to get in  the water and free the propeller. I got out my diving mask, the snorkel and my my sail knife.  I was concern that while in the water the wind might have picked up again and  I did not wanted to risk to get separated from the boat. Therefore I tied a small line to the boat and the other end around my right hand wrist. I dove in the water and start to unwrap the spinnaker sheet from the propeller. The propeller is about 2 feet under the water and I  had to do that holding my breath. After unwrapping several turns of the spinnaker line I was going to come back to the surface to get a some air when I noticed that while unwrapping the line I actually wrapped the line attached to my wrist to the propeller!   Now I was tied to the propeller. The situation and how it had happen was so comic that I almost started laughing underwater. Luckily unwrapping the wrist  line was easy and fast. I then switch hand and tied the line to my left wrist and continued to unwrapped the spinnaker sheet without  any problems.  A section of the spinnaker sheet line had to be cut and then pulled hard because it was pinched against the propeller shaft. After getting the propeller clear, the engine had no problem to start again.  I checked that the engine was running OK and that no water was coming from the packing  gland. With the engine running I start motoring to my destination and I could hardly stop from laughing thinking about how comic-tragic the situation could have ended: “Somebody  will have found a nice sailboat drifting in the LIS with  a dead body attached to the propeller with a line”.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Before engaging the transmission ALWAYS make sure that there is no lines in the water.
  2. Before going to free the propeller I should have checked that no water was coming into the boat. Sometime (especially if the wrapping happen when the engine is at high rpm) the suddenly stop cause the whole engine to move from its mounting block,  causing misalignment of the shaft and sometime breakage of the shaft itself.
  3. It might not have been a  bad idea to tie myself to the boat, but the proper way to do is with a harness (the climbing harness would have been good) and a to use a quick release. Using the safety tether line, that I have on Blue Note, would have been perfect.