Monday, 27 November 2006

Flying Dutchman

On Sunday a friend and I went to Fisherhaven to pick up a Mirror dinghy that we bought. When we arrived the seller asked whether we wanted to go out in his other dinghy - a Flying Dutchman. In the words of my friend, it is a bit like someone selling you a Volkswagen Beetle and then offering you a ride in his Porsche 911.

We went out and after a couple of smooth runs the wind picked up - pretty soon I learnt why it is called a FLYING dutchman! With the owner at the helm, my friend leaning out on the trapeze and myself sheeting the genoa. At first I thought they just gave me the genoa so I at least had something to do, but it became quite hard work - "sheet in! sheet in!" - well, not so easy if the water from the bow-wave is poured on the bottom edge of the massive genoa. Add to that my friend on the trapeze dangling in the air for moments, because a gust of wind let up unexpectedly- I had to grab him by the ankle as he was leaving the boat towards the rear! Plus spray in the eyes, waves hitting my leading hip as I was leaning out, and do not forget that sheeting on the wrong angle makes the cleat slip!

Unfortunately the fun did not last. We were tiring and the owner asked whether we should have one more broad reach (the fastest point of sail) before heading back. So we went, and WHACK! the mast snapped off. Luckily my friend was not hooked in to the trapeze-harness at that point, or we would have witnessed the catapult-fall from hell!

We drifted halfway to the other shore before the guys decided that we are indeed in trouble and got the rescue boat out, then launched it, then got it started and then came out to give us a tow back. The best thing about the rescue boat service at Fisherhaven is that it comes with apple-pie!

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