Moving over terra firma


It is a strange sensation riding your boat over land. The craft you know so well afloat is a different beast on wheels as I discovered as I remained in the cockpit as my Contessa 32 was hauled out on the travel hoist behind a tractor with a clunky gear-change.

She swayed bodily aft as the tractor was put in gear – a very unnatural movement for a boat to make – then she swung bodily forward as the tractor driver braked to make a turn. I was soon gripping the companionway sides to steady myself.

It struck me as strange, though, that I could predict what my boat would do by observing the force that was moving her ie the tractor and yet I could not brace myself correctly to counteract the move.

At sea almost the opposite is the case: we can’t always witness which way the boat is to be thrown by approaching seas – especially at night – and yet we intuitively make the right moves to brace ourselves as soon as the change is upon us. We develop a body gimbal.