A winter’s tale
This man overboard experience offers a caution to overly-confident boaties. Read and learn!
THE HUSBAND’S TALE
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.
THE WIFE’S TALE
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.
THE HAPPY ENDING
All ended well apart from me having the shakes due to cold and probably shock.