Posted by: adventuressetravels | March 15, 2013

Accidents Will Happen

Even the best of sailors can have an accident and quite often it happens when you let your guard down and get careless.   I was newly reminded of this in Darwin, Australia.

It was a beautiful, sun-drenched day.  We had just gotten to Darwin and Willi wanted to refuel before we went through the locks and docked in the marina.

We raised anchor at 11:00 and motored for the nearby fuel dock.   A little late, we had to wait for another boat to finish refueling so Willi headed the 45’ Beneteau into the wind and slowed the motor to a crawl.  The Swiss sailing instructor smiled, explaining to me that facing the wind and motoring at the wind speed was the easiest way of keeping a boat in one place.

As soon as the fuel dock hailed us on the VHF Willi turned Mr. Blues towards our destination.  Coming in the white boat slowed to gently glide in along side of the dock.  In high spirits, Christian leapt off the boat to tie the dock lines on.

As the Spaniard hit the dock he crumpled, clutching his leg and grimacing in pain.

But Mr. Blues was still at the fuel dock and we still had to get the boat tied and fuel up.  We were on a schedule:  we had to get through the locks.   I didn’t have a lot of experience and the couchsurfer had less than me.  Luckily our skipper was patient and experienced sailing instructor.  I stepped off of Mr. Blues to help get the boat tied and several sailors helped with dock lines and getting the boat secured to the fuel dock.

All Christian could do was watch on in agony.  What at first I had thought was a sprain had to be worse to incapacitate the hardy sailor.  He couldn’t put an ounce of weight on his foot.  Still, he tried to joke and keep the mood light even in the direst of circumstances.

As soon as we got Mr. Blues fueled up, we called a taxi to take Christian to the hospital.

Christian met us at the marina hours later, his leg in a cast up to the knee.  Somehow in the jump from the boat to the dock he had broken his foot.  He hadn’t done anything particularly out of the ordinary or reckless, just gotten a little careless and paid dearly for it.

There was talk of Christian flying home and scrapping the trip there.  Sailing for months with a cast that needs to be kept dry is not the easiest thing to do.   But after thinking it over he decided that he was up for the challenge.  Even with the cast, he wanted to complete his circumnavigation.

Accidents can happen at any time.  It is impossible to guard against every possible problem.  The best we can do is to try and be prepared, be careful, and take things as they come.

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