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How to Get into a Dinghy Gracefully

Here's what Ward has to say (changed a little to suit the dinghy tender):
1. Wear shoes. This is important. You can wear deck shoes, sneakers, or those 'athletic' sandals - just as long as they have non-skid soles. Dinghies have a tendency to be wet. Bare feet have a tendency to slide on smooth, wet surfaces. No sense in showing everyone around the dock your best acrobatic flailing (or the bottom half of you, as the top disappears into the water) because you've slipped. Besides, you could injure yourself. So be sure to wear shoes.
2. Visually balance the load. If other people (or gear) have already clambered aboard, you need to go to a spot where they (or it) are not. If someone is already seated in the bow, and another person is already in the stern, do some quick mental physics and shoot for their midpoint.
3. Stay low. As you make your approach, remember that you want to keep a low centre of gravity. You are looking to transport a compact, flexible mass from a stable environment to one that is undoubtedly moving.
4. Bend your knees. Adrenalin can do weird things to a person. Sometimes it can cause a rigid posture, not unlike that of, say, a 2x4, or some other dimensional lumber. You'll want to be more flexible, as lumber dropped on its butt end will bounce out the other side of the boat. Remember that you have knee joints, and that they would prove useful right about now.
5. Aim for the centreline. If nothing else here sticks, remember this point. Your lead foot has to land as close to the centreline of the dinghy as possible. Your back foot has to closely follow to the same vicinity. Go for the lowest point in the boat at the centreline.
6. Think of Neil Armstrong and step. It may be a rather long step, but no leaping. Leaping flips boats. The mankind already in the boat will not thank you for making that one giant leap.
7. Seat yourself. And just as quickly as possible. The boat will be rocking at this point, and you need to do your part to stabilize things.
8. Exhale. A small but important thing to remember. You made it!

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by Ward Esaak/Sail-World


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2:31 PM Fri 24 Feb 2006 GMT

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