The most dangerous time to be on a sailing boat is when it’s barely moving at all.
When the boat is ripping along at full pace, sails stretched full, hull creaking and humming under the pull of the wind, it’s relatively safe.
But when a sailboat turns, it slows to a stop. The sails shiver. There’s a brief lull when the only sound is the clinking of rigging and the groan of momentum soaking the hull.
Then there’s a whistle and a loud crack, as the huge pole hung along the bottom of the sail swings across the boat. That pole is called a ‘boom’ because of the sound it makes when it moves.
Many men have heard that whistle — the devil’s catcall — but not the boom that follows.
The most dangerous time to be on a sailing boat is when it’s changing course.
If you don’t have all hands on deck, aware of what’s going on and ready to haul on the right ropes, someone is likely to get cracked in the skull.