Join Date: Sep 2013
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
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Re: Dinghy Capsize
My first experience dumping a boat was my fathers Rebel 16 on Clark's Lake in southern MI. I was sailing with my girlfriend when a gust hit (I hadn't learned to read the wind on the water) and the boat went over. The centerboard slid into the trunk. I couldn't get it out to stand on it. The boat swamped quickly while I was frogging around with the CB. The top of the mast went to the bottom and stuck in the mud. Fortunately a sailor I knew from high school was sailing his C-scow with a group of friends. He swam to my boat, dove under water and pulled the mains'l down the mast. He fastened a PFD to the halyard and pulled it to the bottom of the lake up the mast. The mast rose to the surface. Then it was easy to right the boat. I accepted a tow back to the mooring. I would have been stuck a lot longer if John had not been nearby. I did not think of that option.
Twenty plus years later my Zuma sailed away from me on Wisconsin's Lake Butte des Morts on a warm September Sunday when she dumped on a run over quartering seas. I fell in the water wearing a PFD. The wind caught the hull and spun the boat so I was looking down the mast just out of reach. I considered for a second, doffing the PFD because I was quite sure I could get to the mast without it. I didn't see any other boats on the lake because most Wisconsinites were watching Green Bay Packer football. I did the wise thing and let the boat sail away. Two boys on a PWC came to my rescue and towed me down the lake to a runabout that had caught my Zuma and held it for me. They later said they saw the scene unfold before their eyes. I was disappointed at my inability to keep the boat on her feet. I searched for reviews on the boat and found that even good sailors said the Zuma is a tough one to keep upright on a run.