Remember - Respect the Boom!

Susie and Adam (both think they are skipper)
Fri 10 Sep 2010 19:56
Not such a successful day today - although it could have been much worse.  We got up at 5am this morning as our intention was to sail the 70 miles down the coast to Cascais, where we intend to stay for a while in order to visit Lisbon and we had intended to go for surfing lessons.  It was a beautiful day for the sail - blue sky and only moderate winds forecast.
All went well for the first couple of hours - we sneaked out of the harbour an hour before dawn and motored out through the ever present swell to a few miles offshore since there wasn't sufficient wind for sailing as yet.  We put the main sail up to dampen the effect of the swell and waves a little but it was pulled in tight to the centre of the boat.  However - even when pulled in tight - the boom can move a little as the boat gets rocked by waves and even light wind catches it.  
Adam had just made cups of tea and I was climbing from behind the wheel - eyes intent upon the tea being proffered, just at that point, still intent on my tea - I noticed a net marker a few metres away from the front of the boat - early mornings and multi-tasking don't go together - at that point a wave hit the side of the boat - the boom jerked very fast a foot or so toward me, and me - compensating for the roll of the boat - headbutted it.  The boom won the fight - and sustained no damage.  I swore loudly and promptly sat down on the bench to cradle my sore head (i always bump into things so that is the usual procedure).  I have never cut my head before so was shocked that in seconds blood was everywhere, Adam quickly dug out or first aid kit with pads etc - I didn't do too well at holding the pads over the cut so ended up with blood running down my sleeves, all over my boots, all over my jeans.  So much ran down my sleeves it soaked through my jumper, then out through my coat sleeve seams - I wasn't very happy.
My trained first-aider though was absolutely brilliant - bandaging someone's head on a rocking boat isn't too easy so the results as can be seen below do make me look like Bjorn Borg on a bad hair day(and I think that everyone in casualty was impressed) - but Adam got me wrapped up in a blanket with a cushion for my head and lying down in the cockpit.  He managed to look after me and take the boat back to the harbour, get the sails down, get into the harbour and get the boat tied up (not sure what it is that I actually do when we are sailing).    I hope I would be as good as Adam in the same situation.
Once back it was a trip to the local casualty department where, after some waiting and being moved between various rooms of sick people, they stitched up my head - only 3 stitches but the nurse was clearly impressed with the injury - after she had cleaned it up she said 'eugh - it's pretty bad'  she asked Adam if he wanted to see and even gently pulled it open for him so he could admire the deepness of the cut - very nice (Adam says he wished he hadn't looked).    After that I was x-rayed and then given the all clear to go.  I was impressed that I get to keep my x-rays so here is me and my still-intact skull as proof that there really is a brain in there somewhere after all .. . . .
At least the cut is under my hair so you can't see it - but I hope the hair all grows back on it as I seem to have lost a chunk!  It could have been so much worse today, the weather was good and the boom had no real power in it - when you're sailing downwind you  need to always keep an eye on the boom, today was a moment of forgetfulness, as we were just motoring, and a very badly timed wave - we weren't even sailing so there wasn't really any power in the boom - just weight.  RESPECT THE BOOM - DON'T FORGET!
At least Nazare is quite a nice little town so we'll stay a couple of nights before making the move to Cascais - there is nowhere really between the two to stop as the harbour in the middle is closed.  Typical though - now we are this far south the sea water is actually 20 degrees not the freezing 14 degrees of north spain - but I can't go in it for at least a week so no snorkeling and no surf lessons in Cascais