Sometimes you can get into trouble even when you aren’t looking for it…

It has been my habit, since I moved to Rhode Island, to go sailing by myself (or with a small group of friends) at various places around Narragansett Bay. I have done this in every season of the year, but I do take sensible safety precautions, especially in the winter, and I don’t go out solo in conditions that might cause me any difficulties.

I, rather presumptuously, refer to these sessions as “training.” Hey, it’s not formal racing, so it must be training, right? What else is there? And I do usually find the time in each of these “training sessions” to work on one or two of the sailing skills in which I am deficient. (That gives me a surprisingly wide choice.)

It was in this spirit that two of my sailing buddies and I went sailing in late February, on Bristol Harbor. It was a warm sunny day (for February). The winds were light. And I was wearing my drysuit (and a PFD of course.)

I spent some time working on my roll tacks and windward mark roundings and general boat handling on all points of sail, but really I was just enjoying being on the water on an unseasonably warm day. We sailed around the harbor close to the yacht club for a couple of hours or so and then headed back to the club.

A few days later, the metaphorical equivalent of a police cruiser with its blue lights flashing – actually an email from the Laser fleet captain – appeared on my computer.

It has come to my attention that there were frostbite boats sailing on Wednesday out of the club.

I need to be 100% clear: In the off season, there is to be no sailing of boats out of the yacht club on days other than the planned Saturday that there is frostbite sponsored sailing unless previously authorized by the yacht club. 

I cannot emphasize enough the dangers of the cold water this time of year sailing without a crash boat in support even if it is a beautiful warm day. This is a safety issue and unacceptable.

Oops! Busted!

He is right of course. It is quite reasonable for the club to have such safety rules. Our bad for not being aware of them in advance.

We will just have to launch our Aeros somewhere else other than the club next time we want to have a fun mid-week cruise… I mean training session.


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