Confessions corner

There seemed to be a demand, so here it is – please post your confessions of funny, sad, embarrassing or just plain stupid sailing mistakes below


  1. Hi Clive,
    Love your book – hope you did well at the Dinghy Exhibition.

    Here’s something you might find amusing.
    In one of those ‘100 things to do before I die moments’ I decided to enter my Classic 14 in the Bloody Mary.
    I borrowed an experienced crew from the asymmetric 14 fleet and off we went.
    We were doing quite well until a gust hit us on the reach and we found ourselves together on the board. The conversation went something like this.
    Him – “What do you normally do here?”
    Me – “The crew goes for a swim to drop the spinney and we sort everything out before righting”
    “The winds dropped so we could try pulling straight up to save a bit of time”
    ‘God – is that they do in the Ultimate fleet!’ I thought.
    “OK – we’ll give it a go”
    The boat came up and he leaped for the trapeze wire and, as I jammed my feet under the toe-straps, the wind hit us again just as the last of the water drained out of the spinnaker.
    The boat took off like an express train and this wall of water tried to flush me out of the boat. I came up soaked and spluttering!
    “God – is that what you do in the asymmetric fleet?”
    “No – that’s the first time I’ve tried it – I always wondered if it was possible!”
    The boat stayed up though.
    I hate sailing with freezing cold wet pants so we retired on the next lap.
    So – that manoeuvre is possible but try it in summer – Oh – and make sure the board is bomb proof!
    Best Regards,

    • Nigel,
      Your story reminds me: when we were students together at Brum in the 70s I did the Student Nats one November with now top top helm Tim Fells. He helmed mainly as he had the car to get us there, but we used the Lark I sailed with Paul Raby on the circuit. It was damned windy and at the first leeward mark Tim was a tad tardy sliding forwards as we rounded so we dropped it in.

      On finding Tim bouncing on the end ‘my’ ally centreboard like an over-enthusiastic cartoon spring-board diver, I pushed him off and into the Sound, righted the boat and dragged him aboard. “why’d you push me off you ******?” he asked not unreasonably. “Because I am more interested in looking after the boat and not getting a bent ‘board than us doing well today. Now pull you finger out and don’t do that again”

      Happy days

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