Here at Force 4 Sailing we’ve come up with a novel way of getting into the water. You take the spinnaker halyard (the rope that hoists the spinnaker) forward to the pulpit and climb up onto the “seat”. Take a few seconds to steady yourself and steel your resolve then when you’re ready, launch into space shouting “Geronimo!!!”.
Actually we can’t claim to have invented this but it has become a bit of a signature theme for us. Amanda first suggested it to me when we had a particularly adventurous group on board. They started off by jumping into the sea from the coachroof. This involves clearing the guardrails and can be a little tricky, especially when surfaces get wet. Then they dared each other to forward somersault from the coachroof. This is even trickier, as you can imagine and by now everything is slick with water so footing is not great… Inevitably the dare was raised to a backward somersault from the coach-roof, over the guardrails and into the water. By now Amanda and I were having kittens and we knew we would have to intervene before someone injured themselves.
Out of nowhere Amanda proclaimed “halyard swinging” and I thought fantastic idea. I’d never tried it but Amanda had when she was half way across the Atlantic during a yacht delivery. It sounded like a lot of fun. It also sounded a lot less dangerous and less stressful, for us, than backward somersaults from a slippery coachroof over the guardrail.
It took a few minutes to set up then voila, instant halyard swinging courtesy of the spinnaker halyard… It was an roaring success. All the excitement of somersaults with none of the danger. You just have to remember to let go of the rope before you swing back into the boat and you’ve got an excellent incentive to do so when you’re heading towards a stationary object at whatever velocity you’ve managed to reach with your launch over the side.
So, what started out as an exercise in damage limitation has turned into an exciting pastime to while away the afternoon.
I’m sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but for those of us that are looking for a little bit of excitement it’s very cool.
Join us for your own sailing adventure. Halyard swinging isn’t compulsory but it’s available if you want to give it a try.