Top Ten symptoms your stern plug is out Better to learn these here, than out on the water as I did. And now, from the home office in San Francisco, the top ten ways to tell if you've forgotten your stern plug. (no SF jokes, please) 10. Tacky tacking. Instead of swinging through the point of sail, it just oozes like you're in molasses. You might not even make it. 9. Slow sailing on a reach. Even in a stiff breeze you're not going as fast as you think you should. 8. The boat won't hum. No matter how much beer you drink. 7. The boat will heel more than you think it should and stay heeled longer. No matter how little beer you've consumed. 6. The boat will feel more solid in gusty winds and you'll be under the false impression that you're suddenly a better sailor. 5. Downwind, the bow will be noticeably low, as if you had a half ton of water below decks. You do. 4. When you beach your boat you'll have a hard time dragging it to shore. This is not a sign of old age. 3. When you try to hoist your boat out of the water with a lift, the boat will assume a sharply nose down or stern down attitude. This comes about 30 seconds before the lifting bridle snaps. And 90 seconds before the junior sailors on the dock tell you you've left your stern plug out. 2. As you lift the boat out of the water with a brand new and much stronger bridle, much water will pour out of the stern drain. This will go on for twenty minutes, surprising you as to how much water a little boat can hold. 1. And the final clue you've left your stern plug out, is when you find it on the cockpit floor after you've put your boat away.