18 Feet of WTF

Loving 18 Foot Skiffs

You can feel (up) the love

We had Practise Session Number Two on the weekend and I think we’ve nearly got it. Darryl says it’s just a matter of keeping the bottom of the mast under the top of the mast. That way, the top of the mast can’t touch the water. Makes sense. Not sure what’s wrong with our mast, but the top seems to be obsessed with touching the water. Our mast also has a keen interest in foraging for mud crabs. Might be worth taking some pots next time.

Sailing Tip Number 2

“Keep the bottom of the mast under the top of the mast.”

Saturday blessed us with a 20 knot strengthening nor-easter. Normally that would be exciting, but wrestling a wind powered ballistic missile in 20 knots just made me wish I’d worn my Hawthorne supporter undies (the yellow ones with the brown stripe). Probably not the best learning conditions, but what the hell, a bad day out here is still better than a good day mowing the lawn.

Hard to windward, we made it out of the marina without hitting anything or having to tack. (Tacking is still a small issue). The rescue boat with Don, Darryl and my Old Man floored it to keep up while the sound of Darryl’s valuable advice was drowned in the wash of wind, waves and adrenalin.

We pulled away from the breeze and hit 16 knots without the kite. Sadly however, if this were a ride at Wet n’ Wild, it would have been a rip-off. A few seconds into our reach, a wave washed us off the wing and the boat zigzagged in to a watery end while we grabbed frantically at things to make it stop.

Capsize sequence

We practised capsizing for the next half hour until Darryl couldn’t resist the fun and decided to have a go too. After a wobbly start, Darryl’s expertise prevailed and they had a few good runs while I took some photos. (It wasn’t ‘abandoning ship’ Paul, it was ‘giving someone else a turn’.) The conditions didn’t take long to wear them out, so with barely enough energy to say “two rum and cokes please”, we headed for home.

It wasn’t until we were dismantling our take-no-prisoners carbon fibre swimming coach that Darryl told us about the mast thing (Remember? Keep the bottom under the top). Not sure how much that would have helped us while we were dredging the bay, but we’ll try it next time, hopefully on a milder day.