A win­ter’s tale

This man over­board ex­pe­ri­ence of­fers a cau­tion to overly-con­fi­dent boat­ies. Read and learn!

Boating NZ - - Review -


It was a dark night in the mid­dle of win­ter. Our yacht – SV L’es­cale – was an­chored in Woody Bay, Rakino, one of only two boats. The other be­longed to our friends.

We were in­vited over for a mid-win­ter meal and a few drinks, and we gladly ac­cepted.

By the time we were ready to leave, the wind had al­tered slightly and in­creased. It was now wrap­ping around the point mak­ing the sea con­di­tions a lit­tle rough. We made our farewells, got into the dinghy and headed back to our yacht – slightly, but not ex­ces­sively, un­der the weather.

Our hosts quickly re­turned to the warmth be­low as we mo­tored back to our yacht. My wife climbed on board but I was strug­gling to hold the dinghy along­side in the chop. I then mis­judged the dis­tance be­tween dinghy and yacht and fell in – in full wet weather gear but no boots.

By this time the wind was up around 20+ knots, send­ing the dinghy skid­ding away from me.


To my hor­ror I watched Cor­ran and the dinghy dis­ap­pear­ing rapidly south­wards, side-by-side, into the dis­tance.

Our friend’s boat was now in dark­ness and it was un­likely they would still have had their VHF on. The wind was too loud for them to hear me shout­ing.

I could call Coast­guard but we were a long way from as­sis­tance. I could pull up the an­chor but, by the time I did that Cor­ran would be long gone. I also didn’t want to take my eyes off where Cor­ran was.

To my amaze­ment, as I watched some­how the adren­a­line kicked in and Cor­ran man­aged to grab the dinghy and pulled him­self into it. He started the en­gine and headed back to the boat – by now 15-20m away. He handed me the painter and climbed on board.


All ended well apart from me hav­ing the shakes due to cold and prob­a­bly shock.

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