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Getting back to sailing after a scare

Ive sailed crewed dinghies for years but only sailed single handers twice.

On my second ever sail in the laser i had a bit of a scare.

Now im feeling quite apprehensive about sailing again in case it happens again.

Any tips for getting over that?

It was before the start, but the start boat was on station & all rescue boats were on the water. I capsized & in the process i hurt my shoulder (its an old injury that still occasionally gives me trouble).

Because I had hurt my shoulder, i was unable to pull myself onto the centreboard. So I attempted to right the boat multiple times by holding onto the centreboard & pushing my feet against the hull but it didn't work

No rescue boats responded for about 15 minutes & in that time i was drifting further & further away from the fleet. I was also finding it hard to hold onto the boat because it was so slippery & it kept getting away from me & i had to swim after it (the waves had chopped up a bit so it was moving pretty fast on its side).

EVENTUALLY one of the club rescue boats responded & had to right the boat for me as by then i was completely exhausted.

Im just a bit freaked out about no-one responding if i get into difficulties again & its making me pretty apprehensive about sailing again.

Im not sure what to do or how to get past that.


Well-Known Member
It's good that you have multiple rescue boats to begin with! You might inform the drivers beforehand that you have a special problem (the shoulder) and that you may need some extra help. Not very professional of them in any case to let someone stay capsized for 15 min... or worse, not even noticing it! Either it was an incompetent crew that day, or this may be a larger "cultural" problem in your club (or both). You should make some noise about this - ignoring an injury on the water is pretty bad.

I had a pretty freaky capsize last year (with a much bigger boat!), and afterwards it helped to go through everything that may have contributed to what happened.

Do you have a coach at your club that could help, not only with the technical but the psychological side?

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Upside down?
Staff member
I have had many scares like to one you described so well.
My advice would be to go sailing in light conditions (no more than 8 knots) and get 'comfortable' in the boat once again. Don't go racing right away, just practice tacking, jibing, sailing by the lee etc. And it would be nice to have someone join you.
Good luck!

I agree that your rescue crew failed.