100% White, 75% Damp

Today was a horrible day for me; it started out good and then just went downhill real fast come about 5p. The details of why it was a bad day are unimportant as I got a great story out of it but suffice it to say, today was REALLY BAD. Just to precurse things, I joined the MIT sailing team just a little while ago.

So, I was out sailing FJs with the team. I started out as crew but then my skipper had to switch to another boat in order to practice for a regatta this weekend with her partner for this weekend. When my skipper switched to another boat, I took over as skipper of my boat and another person was switched over to be my crew. My new crewman wasn't terribly experienced and I'm not very good at racing, but such things happen. Anyway, we were practicing (or rather learning how to do) roll tacks, which are like normal tacking except that you roll the boat a whole bunch and then straighten it out. Roll tacks are good because you turn faster and accelerate out of them but they're a little complicated and a little risky. Now, if you're doing a roll tack and you keep the jib in really tight on the wrong side, it will shove your boat right over; this is, incidentally, what my crewman did.

It's odd the things that you can perceive sometimes, for instance, I manged to be acutely aware of the point where just righting the boat became futile, almost in the same manner you can catch yourself when you start to fall over. In this split second, it occurred to me that, since I was dressed in khaki and white as I often am, I really didn't want to go in the Charles (no amount of Goretex pants is going to keep you dry in the water). Not wanting to get soaked, I hauled my ass right over the side of the damned boat. So I got up on that centerboard, grabbed the side of the boat and started pulling to get it back upright. Incidentally, having gone over the boat, I was completely dry save for the cuffs of my pants. Sadly, I couldn't right the FJ on my own and it proceeded to turtle.

I want you to take a moment now to picture what it must have looked like; there's an upside down boat in the middle of the Charles, one guy swimming next to the boat and another guy standing on top of the boat, dry, wearing a button-down shirt under his life jacket. Then I got back to trying to right that boat and just tired the Hell out of myself so, one of the coaches offered to help from his motorboat and we started getting the thing back up. The boat's just about righted and I'm still hanging from the side, dry save for my ankles. It comes the time when I can climb over the side as the boat comes round and have survived a capsize without going in the water. Then my foot slipped. Luckily I was close enough that I could start pulling myself up and I only fell in the Charles to the middle of my torso. My head, shoulders, upper chest and right arm didn't touch the Charles.

So there's two morals to this story: one, your crew can put you in the river and two, if you climb over the boat you can stay dry during a capsize as long as you don't slip.