Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I Hit Two Boats and a Mark

The title says it all. Not a good night on the water. But there is always more to the story. Everywhere on the race course tonight was carnage. In the IODs, Knarrs and Folkboats. I'll spare you all the details except I had a the worst start of my short sailing career, made bad decisions and wound up in situations I know to avoid and ended up hitting the windward mark. It spun me on to port and I hit another boat coming in on starboard. My fault, yes, but the boat I hit could have and should have rounded up to avoid contact. Why they didn't I don't know. I'm just glad no one was hurt. I was pinned in by boats all around me downwind and had no opportunity to do my turns until after the leeward rounding. However, at this mark another FUBAR occurred. There was a multiple over lap situation that denied rights to a boat who only saw a whole to dive in where he had no business being. He wedged me in with a boat to leeward and another in front of me... the boat I choose to hit was trying to sneak inside at the mark. I felt helpless from at least 10 boat lengths out seeing the events unfold and knowing full well how close it was all going to be. So we all round the mark in this big cluster-f&#$ I couldn't avoid and instead of riding up the stern of this pretty varnished wooden boat, I roll up on the stern of the boat I thought I could beat in the protest room. He says he had rights. Everyone I talked to said he didn't. He says I could have avoided contact. Hey, I may be young, but I can drive a boat with the best of them. If it were possible to avoid him I would have. I felt bullied and nervous in the club talking with him and having no experience in the protest room helped in second guessing myself. So I dropped the protest. Usually, when there is an incident on the water we get together at the bar and talk it out over a beer because in my fleet we handle things like gentlemen and besides, I really don't enjoy confrontation. But tonight I made a mistake. I should have taken him to the room to see what would have happened and I chickened out. I could have used the experience and not looked like a push over. Dad never told me how to handle these situations. I think I'll ask him and see what he thinks.
Oh, by the way... no damage to my boat except a bent goose neck.


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