I spend a significant amount of my summertime on boats, most of which have engines. There’s a particular group of people that I usually do this with – they’re like family to me – and they happen to lobster fish, which is a huge industry here (it’s my personal dream to one day reno a lobster boat into a pleasure boat – they make the perfect party boats), so they are no strangers to faring the high waters.
We all have the ocean itch, so naturally when my friend’s uncle was like “Hey – I have a sailboat. Wanna take ‘er out?” we jumped at the chance.
Had a single one of us ever gone sailing before?
Did we think that was a problem?
Obviously, a recipe for success. We somehow honestly didn’t think this was a problem. Sailing! We’ve heard of it! It’ll be fine!
And the first day it was. A calm, mild day. We went out, had a blast, all was well. We threw around terms like boom, tacking & jibing, mainsail. We felt very good about our little adventure.
The second day we’re all sitting around, the sun once again beaming down from the crystal blue skies. Then the infamous words were spoken – “Let’s go sailing again. It’s windier today – let’s see what she’s like when she’s got some real speed going.”
Of course we were all on-board, so to speak, just as soon as we got the cooler packed (you simply can’t go sailing without some cold beer).
And in the beginning, it was awesome. Turns out sailing is really fun! We’re cruising along, crushing it, and then decide to do a 180 turn back to our favourite anchor/swimming spot.
We all get ready. “JIBE HO!” is shouted out. The mainsail slams to the other side of the boat. The boat turns sharply without losing any speed whatsoever. We cheer! We toast!
Then boat suddenly rocks – HARD. We all look at each other. That was weird, I think – still relatively non-nonchalantly. Then a moment later the boat rocks again – but it doesn’t pop back up. It turns sideways in the water. Literally.
The mainsail is about a foot from the water. In fact, the starboard side of the boat was actually underwater. The fact that I knew it was ‘starboard’ and not ‘port’ would do nothing to change that. I suddenly found myself standing straight up, desperately clinging to a boat that was sideways in the water.
I looked at the ocean that was rushing around my feet – literally planning on where I was going to jump if the boat dropped even a few more inches. I’m a pretty good swimmer, so I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have drowned.
Half of my brain was was doing that anyway. The other half was just screaming ‘fuck‘ over and over. That half was not helpful.
Here’s the funny thing though – well, one of the funny things – everyone else threw their drinks away when the boat started to capsize. I assume so that they could ‘hold on for dear life’ all the better.
I however, did not. I clung steadfast to mine. I think for some reason my brain was like “If I’m still holding my drink, then everything is going to be ok. It’s a sign that things are still under control – if you can be drinking, then you are probably not dying.”.
Sometimes my instincts totally betray me.
Then, just as suddenly, the sail seemed to drop the wind (we assume because it was practically horizontal to the water) and we pop upright again.
We quickly pull down the mainsail, and then stare at each other in stunned silence for a moment. Then – I assume because we’re all high on adrenaline – we burst into hysterical laughter.
So that was the day we almost capsized a boat.
And I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Maybe take some lessons first though.
While this makes a really funny story (and a great shared memory) – I’m glad we didn’t actually sink the boat. Mainly because that would’ve been a really awkward conversation with my friend’s uncle.
“So here’s the thing… we may or may not have sunk the boat. And by that we mean that we definitely did sink the boat. We’re real sorry about that. We saved the beer though. Would you like one? You look like you could use it…”
PS – I had a loaner phone that got submerged in the ocean that day when the side of the boat it was on went underwater. I let it dry out, it still worked, and I never mentioned it to the service provider when I returned it. It was like a miracle.
PPS – Also, I might be a bad person.
PPPS – Admit it though – you would’ve done the exact same thing.
PPPPS – I think the moral of the story here is we’re both bad people. Which technically cancels each other out, I think.
PPPPPS – Which means I’m totally a good person again!
PPPPPPS – Whew. Almost had to re-evaluate all my life choices there.