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January 18, 2012


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In my experience: It is better to just lose the rig, and stay with the board. Any time I have tied up my rig in a neat little package [especially when you are in big seas] the energy expended trying to save the rig would be better spent rescuing yourself.
1. Stay with the board
2. Kiss that $2,000, mast, boom and sail combo goodbye
3. Paddle to safety, your life is worth more than your gear!

Resources [personal experience]: one hour and a half swim, in the open ocean, Air temp 50's, water 50's.

One hour swim in the sound, air 30's, water 30's.

One two hour swim in a protected bay; air 60's, water high 30's. This was the only time I actually saved my rig. It was difficult. My center of effort was too high and I kept falling of the side of the board in dead flat conditions. I ended up swimming behind my board, and salvaged rig. Not worth it. I was in the early stages of hypothermia, and was having thoughts like "maybe if I take off my PFD I could swim faster". The reason I survived that one was because Mike DaBaker paddled out to me on a longboard. We traded boards and he paddled my gear in the rest of the way.
The other two swims were later in life, and I jettisoned my rig without hesitation both times. All three swims were in a drysuit.

Frank, I agree completely. Unless conditions (sea state, water temp) are friendly, ditch the rig and paddle the board.

That's worth a new blog post, I think. Will cogitate, ruminate etc-ate.

Thanks for making the point!

I broke a mast (just above the boom ) wavesailing in Barbados, and did the self rescue routine and paddled. Well, 1 hour later and 5 miles down the coast in the heavy current I made it back to the beach just before dark absolutely spent.

Learned from locals that if any mast intact it was better to sail it in, even if in watersart position, than paddle. A tip I'll remember for next time, especially in cold water.

Having the board saved my life.

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