Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Staying Alive

You may have read on the Scuttlebutt Forum the story of Thorsten Cook who fell off his boat during the recent Star North Americans and (according to Mr. Cook) "nearly drowned". Notwithstanding that he was wearing one of those inflatable life vests that didn't inflate and that he forgot how to inflate it manually, his account seemed to pin a lot of the responsibility for his near drowning on the race committee and focused on various issues associated with communication between competitors and the RC by VHF or cell phone.

Now I don't want to rehash Mr Cook's case here. If you want to join that debate please feel free to do so at the Scuttlebutt forum. But it did start me thinking about my own approach to making sure that I come back alive every time I go out Laser sailing. I do feel it's largely my own personal responsibility to look after my own safety and have made a list for myself of Tillerman's Top Five Tips For Making Sure I Don't Die On My Laser. Some of my advice might even be useful to other small boat sailors...

I was going to write a post on that topic. But then I realised that I had so much to say about each of the Top Five Tips that it would make more sense to have a separate post about each tip. So that's what I will be blogging about over the next few days... unless one of my anal commenters provokes me to address some other random topic.


Sam Chapin said...

Those Star sailors are not used to falling out of the boat.

They didn't practice blowing up the infaltable.

They couldn't rig a step or two with the sheets to get that guy back in the boat.

Different with a Laser. When you fall out--hold on to the sheet and you don't have to swim back to the boat.

Grab the grab rail, kick your feet and even old grandfathers can swim back into the boat.

When the water is cold, sail in company....OK, how about races.

Tillerman said...

Oh good. Now I don't need to write three of those posts.

bonnie said...

Funny, I was just thinking "What a good topic"!

It is rather contradictory to the "Cheat the nursing home, die on your Laser" philosophy.

The official party line among paddlers is "Never Paddle Alone". But almost everybody does every now & then. I sometimes feel like it would be better if we all admitted that solo paddling can be fantastic & then discussed how solo paddling safety differs from group paddling safety.

That's a post I'd like to write someday, but it's not one I'd write lightly & as long as work continues to be the way it's been lately, it's not happening. But maybe I can point people to yours!

doryman said...

When I fall out of my boat, there is no one there to see. Does that mean it doesn't happen?

Blogger said...

I remember when the Bee Gees and Ditto Jeans were cool. Times might be tough now, but what the hell were we thinking in the 70's.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Bonnie. The whole issue of "to solo or not to solo" is going to be one of the 5 posts.

Pat said...

Never paddle alone? Uh, how would I get another person in my little-bitty-nine-foot Perception sit-in plastic kayak? It's scary to think how much weight I'd have to shed!

One of the park rangers who kayaks has a really cool Maine Coon Cat that will actually sit on the bow of her kayak while they kayak in a quiet cove at Heron Lake.

Mark E. said...

In caving we have a facetious saying--

"Cave with the best, cave alone"

It all centers around the meaning of the word "alone".

tillerman said...

A bit reminiscent of JFK's saying at a dinner honoring American Nobel Prize winners, "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

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