Sailtime Storys by Bill Amt #2

A Beginners Sailor’s Collection Lessons Learned

The next dozen or so lessons learned

Learning to anchor – or better how not to anchor

If you are going to travel the ICW or sail anywhere in the world, anchoring knowledge is a big deal.  And by the time I was ready to make my first trip I did know a lot about anchoring before heading for St Augustine.   Let me explain.  A few months earlier, I made an attempt to renew my boating bond with my crew promising a very tranquil afternoon on a remote St, Johns Island beach – no authoritative command shouting, no raising the sails, simply motoring through a local knowledge cut and anchoring just off the beach and a short dinghy ride to where we could have a picnic lunch and enjoy serenity and privacy.  Pretty clever way of selling the sailing life and re-bonding with my crew, huh?  What could go wrong?  Thankfully an anchor and rode was a part of the sail-away package.

The day did start out pretty well – we found the “local knowledge cut” in the Charleston Harbor jetty just like the locals said and a couple miles later, I dropped the anchor, and Captain and crew went happily ashore.  For a while it was bliss until suddenly my littlest daughter innocently asked “where is the boat daddy”.   Well the boat was in sight but about a half mile from where it should be – obviously a case of anchor dragging.  But what to do about the problem was a bit of a quandary.

As I ran down the beach I thought about the Annapolis Book of Seamanship laying next to the couch in my house and vowed, once the present crises was resolved, I would diligently re-read each of the […]

Sailtime Storys by Bill Amt #1

A Sailor’s Lessons Learned Play Book

My first dozen or so lessons learned

Learning to sail

It all started in March of 1978

Before I can share my first trip, I must explain how I became the gained the basic knowledge I think necessary to make a first trip of a couple thousand miles.

As a boy growing up in the cornfields of Indiana, visions of oceans and seas and rivers were ingrained in my mind by my grandfather – a Danish immigrant and a North Sea eel fisherman.  Although I would have wait for college spring break in Ft Lauderdale to get my first glimpse of emerald and blue salt water, his stories of the sea and the transatlantic passage from Denmark on a wooden schooner gave me a leg up on all other wannabe sailors of the world.  So in 1978 I found myself at the yacht brokerage dock in Charleston, South Carolina, writing a check for a brand new Hunter 30 – the FIRST and most primary of the many watery lessons I have learned – A FOOL AND HIS MONEY SOON PART.

Now mind you, I had never sailed before – no prior Sunfish experience, no prior Hobie Cat experience, no romantic, captained, chartered, sunset dinner cruise on a tranquil bay, not even one hour’s practice sailing a remote controlled boat on a little pond.  But armed with my grandfather’s legacy, many evenings of arm chair sailing with the Hiscocks and Joshua Slocum, and the broker’s “personal assurance” that thirty footers are much, much easier and forgiving to sail than little sailboats like Hobie Cats and Snarks, I found it easy to part with the windfall bonus I had received from my company the day before.

After all the broker did promise that he would […]