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Sailing: the greatest thing — until you capsize

This week I was invited by Frank to go sailing. He’s got a small wooden boat at the local yacht club — old, but kept in beautiful condition. When living at the coast, sailing is probably the greatest possible activity, even before fishing, so I was looking forward to it.

When I did a sailing course for beginners in Hobart a couple of years ago, I remember the first thing the instructor told us was something like “don’t worry, no matter how bad you stuff up, the boat cannot capsize”. This took an enormous amount of concern off many participants who had never been sailing before. And his claim was indeed true, since we were sailing on a 30ft yacht with a keel large and heavy enough to stabilise the boat even in rough seas.

This time however, being a much smaller boat the dinghy only had a small retractable keel, which didn’t add much to stability. It also didn’t help that the wind was gusty and kept changing directions.

It was meant to happen: at the first turn we managed to capsize the boat. The good thing however was — apart from the water being too cold for sharks that day — that a small boat is also easy to turn upright again, so we didn’t need to swim back to shore.

Despite the small accident it was a great reminder of how awesome sailing is. Now that I live in a seaside village, sooner or later I will need to think about getting a boat myself. Preferably one with a keel and a BBQ.