Well, it’s armchair sailing time again. Time to reflect on some of the season’s adventures, because however short your voyage, and whether all went to plan or not, every trip is an adventure.
Personally any boat trip, by sea, or on a river or canal, is special for me. Sometimes it is all so straightforward, which although rare in my case, makes it in retrospect all so easy, but I’ve learnt enough not to assume anything. As an example when I was crewing earlier this year on a 32’ sloop, we had been happily sailing along for about 3 hours on a very broad reach, the wind almost behind the boat was fresh and had built up a following sea, but no problem. The helmsman was doing a good job and the skipper was below planning a new course, which in time he announced to the helmsman. I had drifted off into a comfortable doze.
The new course would take us to a small harbour and, in anticipation of a landing in around 30 minutes, the order to start the engine was given. This I duly did. Next came the new course and without thinking the helmsman put the helm over. This brought the wind behind the boat and mainsail and the boat gybed violently. The incident could almost be considered a knock down as she went over on her ear. This was particularly annoying as I still had half a cup of tea left.
A moment or two of pandemonium ensued before harmony was restored, but in that brief moment air had entered the fuel line and the engine had stopped, not to be restarted again at sea.
The approach then needed to be by sail and what had been very straightforward now because a tough test of seamanship, which was not altogether successful. However, we were offered a tow for the final approach and despite concerns by the helmsman no salvage claims were filed.
That is a very abridged version of events and the ripe language of the skipper need not be repeated here. But, it all goes to illustrate how quickly a situation can change, and we can all be very wise after the event. Which brings me back to that armchair………….