Like history, sailing stories are told by the survivors.
I heard about this one afterward: While sailing his A-cat catamaran out of Key Largo, my own dearest skipper tacked and somehow missed hooking his harness back into the trapeze hook.
The trapeze is a contraption that allows a sailor to lean into the wind farther out from the deck of the boat. It's got a circus feel about it.
Anyhow, during a tack, he missed the hook and slid mostly over the side Nothing particularly unusual for an A-cat in that. Everyone misses his strap once in a while. But sadly, my skipper tangled in some line as he slid head-first toward the drink.
He went not entirely overboard.
It charged along for perhaps a boat-length or so before attempting to tip over. Then came the sad truth: the mainsheet, that rope used to trim the sail –– the gas pedal, more or less –– was in fact tied around my skipper's right ankle.
Mr. Linton was tethered to the boat on a rather short (three feet?) leash. Any effort to climb back aboard the wayward boat trimmed the sail, causing the boat to start hauling the mail again. Shortly thereafter, lacking a counterweight, the boat would heel over until the sea-anchor (inseam 32 inches, answers to the name of "Honey,") caught, and then the boat rounded up and went "whoa."
The boat couldn't properly tip over and the rider could neither dismount nor regain his seat. "He was heading for Cuba," one of the other sailors told me, strangely gleeful.
"I didn't have a knife to cut myself free." Mr. Linton admitted. "Or anyway, it was in the mast-bag and I couldn't reach it."
Dunked repeatedly, pointed toward the open ocean, and rescue not close to hand –– the dunking went on until somehow –– somehow –– he managed to wiggle free.
This story seems to grow in horribilification* the more I think about it. We are all here by luck and chance. One tiny mistake or a droplet of ill luck and ––
Maybe maybe the stories are better left untold.
*Sure <shrugs defiantly> I made that word up. Horribilification. Big Whup. I think we all know what it means.