The Joy of Sailing

In The Nightmare Tree, we hear much about Jonah's love of dinghy sailing. This was a hobby of mine for a long time, and one I had to give up when we left Tanzania, mostly because it was too expensive to maintain. I had to sell my Topper sailboat before we left and was never able to buy another boat.

When we lived in Vancouver, however, I was on a few occasions able to rent a Laser dinghy at the UBC Sailing Club. On one memorable event, a friend and I rented two boats and crossed the Burrard Inlet. On the way back we hit heavy wind and I was forced to stop and try to "shorten sail" so that I could hold the boat upright (most dinghies don't have ballasted keels and require you to lean out to hold them from capsizing).

The wind was too strong for me to shorten the sail, though, and the boat ended up capsizing. As I fell into the water, I discovered that I had neglected to wear a lifejacket! And if you want to know how the rest of the day turned out, read Chapter 4 of The Nightmare Tree, in which something similar happens to Jonah.

To learn more about dinghy sailing check out this Wikipedia article on the subject.


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