Ah, what a lovely summer day, and my new Hobie sail works well with the Adventure. No doubt, all those years of small boat sailing helped make the gusts more manageable than I anticipated. Having tacked upwind to the dam, it's time to put the wind at my back and...SPLASH...GLUB GLUB....
Where am I? What just happened? How did I end up in the water? I've never capsized a boat -- this is impossible! But it does feel pretty wet and here's the boat beside me, capsized. Good thing I grabbed it before it drifted away! Fortunately no one's around -- this could be embarrassing to have witnesses for such an amateur mistake. I'll just turn the boat over, get in and pretend like nothing happened -- piece of cake! I should be reasonably dry by the time I get back to the dock and no one will notice.
Wait, the boat's not flipping over as easily as I thought. Oh yeah, forgot about the sail. Maybe I'll make sure the mainsheet is uncleated or not hung up. Whew, that was slow but other than the sail whipping madly in the wind, everything looks manageable.
Fortunately I'm in pretty good shape. I'll just pull myself up and......WHOA!!! The boat just capsized again right on top of me. Don't panic. I'm suddenly feeling a little tense and short of breath. I'm not liking this situation. When I read up on capsize recovery it looked so easy, I didn't need to practice -- this is not good. I sure wish someone were here to help....
The boat is upright again, I'm feeling winded -- better get it right this time. Whew, barely made it. I'll just take a moment to get squared away before this sail capsizes me again. The sun is bright, where are my glasses, hat? There's the paddle not too far away. I better collect whatever hasn't sunk before it gets too far away.
[*]First capsizing experience, 2006. Accidental gybe. Never thought it could happen to ME; never thought it would be a problem if it did. Fortunately the only price I paid for this foolish arrogance was a little humble pie. I don't like publicizing my stupid mistakes, but more importantly, I hope you'll take note and take action to prevent this from happening to you!
A capsize can happen any time, any place for any reason -- over-leaning, unseen boat wake, sailing, confused seas, striking an underwater object, shark attack -- almost always sudden and out of the blue.
It's summer time here, the water is warm, so now is the time to get out and practice. Don't be an armchair expert like I was. Don't put it off! You may not be as lucky. Having done it, you'll gain more confidence in your boat and your ability to handle unforeseen weather or other maritime events and to render assistance to those in distress.