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tornado

Memorable sailing moments

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I posted this on Sailing Anarchy and thought I would share it here..... Why dont you share your's

So what is you most memorable sailing moment???

Apart from every time I race in the big stuff at Sail Melbourne........

1) See ride below..... After first day of racing @ Sail Melb 04 the Tornadoes were all racing to shore dodging 470s and lasers in winds over 25 and waves up to 2.5mtr top to bottom.

One of the Ts put it in after rounding up under kite as a 470 gybed in front of them. Another crew fell of the back of the boat with his rear foot still in foot strap and was draged backwards. Skipper Gybed and put it in to save him.

As seen below we wound it up surfing down the waves. I said to my crew "hang on I am going to see how far we can push it". All I could here from the wire was "Ohhh $hit, f@ck watch that wave" repeated over and over again. As we got closer to the club and in the lee of the breakwater a big gust hit us. My crew threw the kite sheet and we survived for a few more boat lenghts and then ....... my crew lept of the backoff the boat as we went over and landed about 30 feet awayfrom the boat. As I landed I hit the boom with my leg and coul bairly walk after it. Still have a big lump on my leg a year later.

Anyway, knowing my crew was seperated from the boat, I grabed the main sheet and swam of the back of the boat to him and stuck out my leg for him to grab. As he body surfed down the waves and was within a foot of me the boat would surf down the next wave and we would be seperated again. After a few minutes of this he became exauhsted and gave up. I pulled my way back to the boat.... jumped on and retrieved the kite and lent back against the dolphin striker and the boat came up.

My crew difting out in the bay was pased by a Mistral sailor..... He stoped and asked if that was his boat off in the distance. He replyed Yes. The Mistral guy next said "Is there anybody on it". My crews reply was "I f@cken hope so".

Shortly after, another crew droped by and picked him up, returning him to the boat so we could limp in with huge grins on our faces.

2) Sail Sydney 2003, first day, wind 36 knots average gusting to 42 (measured at Airport on the bay) We were the only mad dogs to put up a spinnaker and as we tore down the course very deep we were dodging a wreaking yard of monos. As their crews held on the bows looking up at us with eyes as big a saucers, we shot past at warp speed with our eyes as big as saucers. Every gybe we did we turned the boat only a few degrees and as the sails came accross it would throw up the other hull and threaten to send us swimming. On the second downwind a gust caught us and we did go swimming. My crew was traped on top of the hull as I was pinned under the boat and for the first time in my life, thought I was seriously going to die on a sail boat. Anyway, managed to free myself and get the boat upright and limp back to shore.

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That's hard to top so I'll tell a different story of high winds from a different angle.

It was the Mari Nats sailed at Toukley in 96/97 I think.

It was the first race of the series and the wind was gusting 25+ and there were some good size waves on the shallow lake.

We sailed to the start line with some trepidation, having difficulty maintaining control. Boats were going over everywhere. The rescue boat was struggling to deal with the carnage but the start boat held it's station.

I suggested we abandon as many of the boats had younger sailors as crew and I was worried someone might get seriously hurt. I also had no interest in damaging my boat at the beginning of the championships.

Male ego prevailed and they decided to race. I withdrew in protest and sailed back to the beach. I felt a bit like a quitter but I was determined to make a statement, particularly for the safety of the younger sailors.

Quite a few boats missed the start and more failed to finish for one reason or another though no one was seriously hurt.

One guy however, my main challenger for the titles, broke his mast but managed to finish albeit in a minor position. Unfortunately the borrowed mast he used for the remainder of the racing was very different to his original spar and he lost any chance of matching me in subsequent races and I won the series.

I have to say that I felt justified and it has been my practice since to not put my boat or body in serious danger just to maintain a mucho image. It ain't for a sheep station!

That's my story. Boring possibly, but a different angle nonetheless.

Bern

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