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  • Writer's pictureAdventures with Jim

Sailboat Capsizing

What can be more fun than sailing across the water with sails billowing above your head and the spray of the water hitting you as you slice through the waves? Sailing is one of the things Jim, myself, and the rest of the family enjoyed during hot summer days. We would take our friends out with us and sit around the cockpit of the sailboat that the Sea Scouts docked at our summer cottage. When we sailed with the more adventuresome of our friends we would rig the sails and take the boat on a tack that would get us the maximum amount of angle. We would tilt the boat as far as we could while leaning out from the high side of the boat as far as we could to offset the wind trying to push the boat over. We got splashed more from the waves hitting the bow and the boat would speed through the water at a faster clip. Well, what do teenage boys typically do? Why, push the envelope as far as we can. If you tighten up the sails a little more, you can get just a little more speed and a steeper angle for the boat. Keep pushing the envelope and what do you get? A boat that capsizes, so it sits on its size with the sail lying flat in the water. Now what to do? Well, we capsized it and we knew what had to be done to upright it so we set to work to right the boat. The keel of the boat is now flat to the surface of the water instead of pointing to the bottom of the lake. We stood on the keel and using the mast line that reaches to the top of the mast we used our weight to pull on the mast head while we brace ourselves, leaning away from the hull of the boat. We pulled the boat upright and we climbed back into a boat that now sits with the deck pretty much level to the surface. We bail for a bit, then realize the self-bailer in the boat might empty the boat automatically if we start sailing again. Sure enough, we start moving through the water, the self-bailer starts doing its job while the youngest of us continues to bail and pretty soon most of the water is outside the boat instead of inside. What fun! Time to capsize the boat again!


~Tom Kaufeld



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