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Monday, 9 May 2011

The Death of Enza (and my part in her demise) Part 4.

After about five minutes or so of Luke joining our swimming party, he said that he was going around to the stern of the boat to try and get onto the netting. This was a bad idea. Before he'd have reached the stern, our railing hand hold would have ran out. With the swell of Biscay trying to pry our firm grip away anyway, I thought that this decreased our odds even more.
When afloat the last ten foot of the boat is wanting for railing. It is rare that we had to go this far aft when under sail. If for any reason we needed to, then we would harness on to one of the dead eyes in the deck.
Adding to this, the netting between the hulls at this point on the boat is lower, meaning it would have been higher whilst upside down and harder to climb, the reason for this being a safety thing.
On a previous trip the netting had been the same tension as the rest on the boat. A crew member was caught out whilst nodding off, when a wave powered through the netting and over the centre pod. Falling backwards he landed and then bounced clean off the netting. If not for the cable that joined the steering gear and a strong finger, he may have been a man overboard on a boat that is extremely difficult to turn around in such an event. A good friend of mine, he still complains of a pain in said finger, especially in colder climes.

Though not the best option, Luke was right, we were in the wrong place. We needed to get back inside the boat. Leaving the interior of said vessel was the worst decision that Sacha and I could have made. Although hindsight is a powerful learning tool, through such disorientation with so much water entering the boat at once, you assume the worst and instinct takes over. An instinct in this instance that said 'get away from this fucking boat.'

Luke starts making his way astern. I voice my concerns over the plan, at which point Sacha starts to follow him. Not one for being a loner I follow suit. Simultaneously the generator, situated at the aft of the boat decides to start running at full speed of it's own accord. Without a cooling system for the engine what with it being high out of the water, it starts to scream. We all shuffle our way forwards, stopping to breathe as often as the sea allows. About midships now and the generator dies. Phew. Attempt two is being made to go astern.
Just as we're inline with the generator it starts up again, and I'm sure it's with more ferocity this time. Enough of a warning sign as far as I'm concerned. So, forwards we go again! Buster Keaton must be giggling in his grave by now.

'Guys, if we go that way we'll run out of things to hold on to...'
I felt it necessary to reiterate this point.
'...and it's quite a swell, we need to get back in through the hole (meaning the companionway).'

All agreed, we would take it in turns to make our way back inside the boat. This wasn't the easiest of tasks. We needed to dive through the railing, under the vessel and aim for the hole. Once there we would have to pull ourselves in to an environment that, although safe, was chaotic.
The risks involved with this were quite high. We needed to make a break as the boat lifted and land in the right spot so as not to have the boat land on top of our heads. A false move and any misjudgement could mean either a heavy boat to the noggin or losing your grip as the swell takes you away. Good timing is a crucial element.

'Sacha you first. On the count of three. One, Two, Thre...'

'Thom I'm claustrophobic.'

Fucking great.

So what now? Me and Luke aren't going to Leave Sacha out here alone to enjoy the wide open space that he seems to love so much. We'll hang on for a little longer and hatch a plan...


  1. This story is holding my breath, i still cannot imagine you guys there...i'm reading it and reading it...thank you again for sharing

  2. Thank you very much for reading. I am pleased that you are gripped with suspense. If you didn't guess it's what I was aiming for


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