Stupid is as stupid does where boats are concerned

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  20 Mar 2013

Stupid is as stupid does where boats are concerned

On a balmy summer's day down on California's Lake Isabella, six or seven years ago, a woman new to boating was apparently having a problem ... No matter what she tried, she just couldn't get her new 22ft runabout to plane.

It was equally sluggish to manoeuvre, so after an hour of trying she limped over to a nearby marina to consult a mechanic, who found that the engine ran perfectly, the sterndrive trim/tilt was working and the prop was the right size and pitch.

That's when one the marina guys looked underneath the hull and noticed ... the trailer. Still strapped securely in place.

Blonde joke? Urban myth? Probably both. But 'stupid is what stupid does' and I reckon we're all guilty of some senior moment or other misdemeanour.

Who hasn't turned the key and been confronted by stony silence, only to rip the engine cover off, check the battery connections and fuel lines ... and eventually find the throttle is in gear. Or turned the key of a motor that's already running.

YouTube is packed as the last ferry with videos of hapless folk with one foot on jetty, the other on a rapidly retreating hull. The resulting splits and splash is pure gold, especially when old grannies are involved.

Who doesn't get a kick out of watching a waterskier bite the dust?  Mark Rothfield

I could watch for hours as skiers and PWC riders tumble like spinifex up the beach after mistiming their final run, or drivers hammer the throttle while the motor is trimmed up then transom walk like a kid on a dragster pushbike.

My own bloopers reel includes a mid-winter sinking while rowing a 6ft dinghy to my moored boat. Such was the ingress of water in relation to hull speed and stroke rate, it was always going to be close thing – only when the icebox and my shoes drifted past did I accept my fate and the applause of onlookers.

The copybook also bears not one but two anchoring blotches, when we've come adrift in the pitch black of night.

But that's better than the bareboat skipper in the Whitsundays who, on the third morning of his charter, radioed in to request more anchors be sent out.

'Your boat has two anchors,' said the base, incredulously. 'Thanks, but we've used those already,' came the reply, as it transpired the guy thought the anchor symbol in 100 Magic Miles represented the dumping ground for disposable anchors.

You live and learn and laugh, I suppose, but there's one simple rule to remember: Engage throttle, put brain in gear.

Boat handling MASTER YOUR BOAT  Swan Super Lines

If in doubt, check out the Master Your Boat article by Jeni Bone in these pages.

Hellrazor - 2013 Club Marine Southern 80  RMI Images

The Southern 80 water ski race was conducted by the Moama Water Sports Club on the Mighty Murray River at Echuca / Moama over the weekend. Moama Water Sports Club president Steve Robson said it was a 'sensational weekend' with the one of the biggest crowds he had seen at the event on Saturday. But the event was not without controversy, with 19 people found to have lit illegal campfires on Saturday despite a total fire ban.

Mark Rothfield

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