Saturday, August 14, 2010
It all began when we met the four kids on Pickles who were swinging off the side of their boat. They were hooked to spinnaker and jib halyards, and they wore a climbing harness around their waist. Soon Kai and I were swinging too!
Pickles got us hooked on it (Uncle Ethan no pun intended!). And luckily my Aunt Tilly came to visit us this month and she brought us four harnesses, two for us, and two for our friends, Patrick and Thomas on Victoria, who Pickles also introduced to swinging. Thank you Tilly!
The basic idea is that the line, technically called a halyard, runs to the top of the mast, allowing you to swing from bow to stern. It is possible to swing all the way to the other side of the boat, and swing with another person. We use spinnaker halyards, to make long runs.
The harness itself is a normal climbing harness, with two leg holes and another strap for the waist. There are holds on the side to clip things to and a sturdy sort of fabric where the halyard clips.
The possibilities for swinging are endless. Sometimes I go upside down, sometimes I swing over the bow, and sometimes I leap from side to side. Kai and I are making up various moves all the time. While swinging, I feel weightless, maybe like the astronauts do in outer space. For some reason I can always tell where to push to aim the right direction. In a sense, I’ve become a pendulum!
Often I warm up with a flip, then go for a push off the stanchion closest to the stern which Kai and I have named, “Baby.” From there I go to a spot where I can push off the winch and lifelines, called “Windows.” Then we jump from a bar on the dodger. And finally we go off the davits. From the davits it’s possible to go over the bow. That is by far the most exciting.
Halyard swinging is a lot of fun. It’s not only fun, it’s my new sport!
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