Lake Hodges is one of those bodies of water where personal water contact is not allowed. According to the locals, this is because of Hodgee, the lake monster, like his more famous cousin at Loch Ness.
I was out on Hodges yesterday having an "Adventure" sail. The winds were unusually gusty. Those who have sailed on long narrow mountain lakes know the winds can swoop down, blasting across from one canyon and then the next at the drop of a hat. Downdrafts, whirlwinds, sudden reversals are all possible.
I had just fought my way upwind to the dam and was about to reward myself with a great downwind run when I got caught in an apparent whirlwind. WHAM, BAM -- as I got hit from two different sides at once, the next thing I realize I am in the water relying on instinct to find the surface. Once able to breath fresh air again, it slowly dawned upon me what just happened. After years of sailing, I capsized for the first time. I can't believe it! What am I doing here? This was not at all in my plan for the day.
I begin to survey the situation. Next to me is this big white hull with two Turbofins helplessly pointing aloft; the life vest is securely tucked under the paddle halves upside down in the boat well (as if the hull needs it!). Debris floats nearby, my hat, glasses case, a water bottle, a pouch with -- my wallet and keys?? Didn't I stow those securely in the seat fanny pack? Ohmygosh, what a jerk! I put the hat back on and decided I better get started righting the hull. Fortunately no one was looking, since I felt like a complete idiot!
As I pawed across the hull trying to grasp the other side, I discovered one disadvantage to waxing the bottom -- it's slippery as hell when you need a grip! I went to the stern and tried to twist the hull. No way -- what a stupid idea. Finally, I was able to reach across and grab the carrying handle on the other side and sloooowly she started to right. Fortunately my small beer belly provided just enough ballast to get the job done. LunaSea would be approving. Whew.
Ready to re-mount just like I read about (but never tried) -- wait my legs seem to be fouled in the mainsheet. I better take care of that. All right, one, two lunge. Doggone beer belly got hung up on the gunnel. I'll be damned -- the !#$#$ boat capsized again. This was more serious than I thought! I started thinking if I had one of OffRoad's flares I could signal for help. Why did I secure that dam life vest anyway?
Suddenly I felt a swirl about my feet. Hodgee?? Man, where's Aloha Dan when you need him? He would be prepared with harpoons to battle the Monster. He would have this remounting sling in place I vaguely remember reading about, smugly thinking I didn't need any of that stuff.
This "adventure" was more than I bargained for. I leaped across the inverted hull and pleaded for her to right herself again. Then, taking a swimming start I scampered across the cockpit before she capsized again. Now I just have to figure out how to flip myself while keeping the boat upright. But first, still sprawled across the cockpit like a wet noodle, I must address the mainsail with my nearest hand while it flogs violently in the wind, the mainsheet now thoroughly afoul in the Mirage drive pedals. If I don't get it released fast, I'll be back into Hodgee's locker again.
Luckily the wind started to die down, the boat stayed upright and I managed to wiggle back into the cockpit. I collected my wallet and keys (which mercifully were still floating nearby) and the water bottle and pointed my soggy expedition alee. The sail back was uneventful (and, ironically, without much wind; but I didn't mind).
I finally arrived home, exhausted, lucky to have survived and having gotten my monthly bath out of the way at the same time, and took a well-earned nap!
Think I'll make some changes before going sailing on Hodges again!