another cautionary tale of wearing a PFD and being MOB
We were doing a distance race in mid-November which can
be chilly here in the Pacific Northwest. At the start of the race the
conditions were fairly benign so I wore foul weather bibs and a ‘normal’
jacket. Deeper into the race, the conditions became increasingly windier,
wet with pretty lumpy seas. I ducked below and pulled on a insulated bowman’s
jacket for warmth but in my haste to get back on the rail, bypassed my
while later, a call was made to peel to the #3 so I got the sail laid
out, tack clipped in and sheet tied on. By now it was blowing in twenty’s.
I was knee-walking forward about halfway between the mast and pulpit with
the halyard in my hand when I heard a faint yell (this is a 39′ boat,
I have my hood up and it is pretty windy) of "We’re tacking NOW!".
My thought process was "Oh crap; You cannot let go of the halyard;
How are you going to get out of the way of the headsail that is going
to be sweeping the deck in a few seconds and not let go of the halyard?".
Turns out that three seconds of time spent thinking of a solution to the
problem were moot as I was thrown into the lifelines as the boat tacked.
I recovered a bit but then we slammed into a wave and I was tossed over
the side. I remember the splash and cold woosh of water across my face
and head as I went in and then I bobbed up to the surface. I was only
a few feet from the boat so I quickly swam a few strokes and grabbed onto
the spin sheet that was draped along the side figuring that at least I
was with the boat. From there I followed the lifelines to the back of
the boat, flipped onto my back and was pulled into the boat through the
open transom under the lifelines. The whole time I was in the water was
less than 30 seconds I am guessing.