messing about in boats


Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 12, 2009

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a brown trousers moment as approaching the windward mark in yesterday morning’s race. The wind was picking up and gusting force 6 at times, which is blowy, but not unmanageable (even with our relatively light crew weight for the F18). Fine, til it swung round and our course overlapped with the downwind leg of the RS500’s open meeting course. There’s a group of 3 or 4 boats steaming downwind on port tack while we’re heading up on starboard. The usual rules of sailing would dictate that we should hold our course and they should give way, but with very little distance left between us and them and a gap closing fast it seems we’re expected to post an 8′ wide cat through a 6′ gap in some boats moving fast across our bow.  Not cool. Bear off, aim for a gap, watch the bows dive under the water and scramble backwards (and upwards!). Thankfully the cat’s really well behaved in a crisis – she stayed upright, didn’t pitchpole and nobody got a slice taken out of their hull or their ribs. We got a rather flustered “Oh, sorry!” from one of the boats as we breathed a sigh of relief. What would have been nice was not having to adjust our course or fear for our lives, but I guess that’s a bit too much to ask sometimes.

Anyway, rant over. Sailing should be fun, so remember to keep your eyes open on a busy bit of water and keep safe!


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