So for our last Advanced sailing class we had to capsize our little 14 ft sailboats. We had two people to a boat. We knew ahead of time that this would be part of our final class, so we all wore “water ready” clothes. And to anyone outside of San Diego the water, even today, which is over a week since this class happened, is more than comfortable as its been hovering around 70 degrees…but for for some reason that morning it felt so cold!
We ,of course, wear life vests and also have two instructors overseeing our drills in motorboats. The instructors explained and demonstrated how to “right” the boat. Seemed like something we could all do…get up on the center board and pull on the jib sheet while leaning all the way back. Then your partner holds the mast out of the water and pushes it up until it gets some momentum…then they swim over to the boat and get scooped in.
Not. That. Easy.
For me anyway. Holy cow was that a challenge!! My partner Victoria and I got on the starboard side of our little boat, leaned over and there she went! We were in the water. She swam to the mast to keep it from going under and I swam around to get on the centerboard. “This will be easy, just pull yourself up and grab the rope”. That’s what my naive little brain said. A: I’m not a 16yr old athlete anymore. B: that thing is way higher out of the water than I realized. C: it’s freakin’ slippery!!!
What an adventure that was! I kept slipping off, not even getting close to hoisting myself all the way up. I kept yelling “I’m really trying, I swear!”
The other option is to use the interior of the now sideways boat as a sort of slippery ladder and climb up and over the side of the boat to land on the centerboard. So there I went. The first few tries were fruitless, until I finally got out of the water and up on the mast. Not knowing exactly what to hold on to, I reached for something , slipped and cracked my foot off the mast. Photo is below, ouch! I managed to get back up and get on the centerboard. With a strong pull on the jib sheet the mast slowly began to come out of the water and up. But then I fell off. In the damn water again! Back around, up, over, on, sheet, lean back, and here it comes, hooray! Boat’s up again!
Aw crap, now we have to get in the damn thing. The whole “scoop method” didn’t pan out for us. After about 5 minutes I managed to get over the side and grab a tie down (I forgot what it’s called) and oh so gracefully flop in like an exhausted overweight fish. Then I helped Victoria in. We did it!!
And here’s my foot….