We had another windy night for our regular Tuesday night sail race. The wind was probably 20 knots/hour+, so all of the boats were carrying their jibs instead of the larger genoas. The deck of our J/24 and all of us were pretty wet, even before the first race, just from the spray splashing up.
We sailed pretty well all night, managing to avoid the collisions, round-ups, and sail handling mistakes (with accompanying penalty turns) we saw on the other boats, but I did have one scary moment.
The boat was heeled over quite a bit when the skipper called for us to tack. When we tack, I duck under the boom over to the other side of the boat. I started moving a little too quickly and started sliding feet first across the wet deck toward the water. My feet and legs went under the lifeline and into the water. I caught myself on the lifeline with my arms and dragged in the water for a second. I managed to kick my legs up onto the boat, but now I was wrapped around the stanchion (one of the posts that hold the lifelines up), with my torso on one side and legs on the other. I was stuck for a bit until some of the other guys helped me back on board, and we continued the race.
Through all this I didn't even get wet (since I had my foulie pants and sailing boots on), but it was definitely a spooky moment. I never want to see the boat from outside the lifelines again. I promptly put my inflatable life jacket on after that (which, like most idiots, I wasn't wearing at the time.) Apparently, someone else on another boat wasn't so lucky and went overboard. Fortunately, another boat picked up the wayward crew member.
I managed to finish the evening without any other incidents aside from bruises on my hips and knees from scurrying around plus another briefly scary moment as I pitched into the cockpit spinnaker bag (just barely catching myself before dropping headfirst into the bag). It was perversely a very fun evening, exactly the kind of evening I love sail racing.
I'll just be sure to wear my life jacket from now on.