All hands on deck!

An unorthodox office party to end an unorthodox year

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As 2016 draws closer to the end, it was time to start planning our end-of-year office party. With our kick-ass Durban city tour being such a hit last year, we were not going to be satisfied with anything less this time around. I was out of the country for a little while and upon my return I was pleased to find out that we were going sailing this year. I've been sailing with Paul before and it's loads of fun; chilling on the boat with drinks and snacks while shooting the breeze with your pals. "Awesome!", I thought. "It's going to be a relaxing yacht cruise", I thought. Was I in for a surprise!

We got to the yacht club, split into two teams using two small sail boats and were going to participate in the Wednesday evening race. Paul, Jono, Dave, Claire and Brandon made up team one; with Kelly, Hillary, Claire B, Lorna, Anthony and I making up the other. While Paul walked his team through the basics of sailing, Anthony and Lorna, who also sail quite often, spent the first two hours before the race showing us the ropes. Pun intended. Which are actually referred to as sheets. Tacking, jibing, jib, boom, and a myriad of other terms were also being thrown around - which we only began understanding later. Much later.

Anthony controlled the main sail while Hils and Lorns maneuvered the jib, which is the smaller front sail. Kel, Claire and I had other tasks such as winding the winches, moving the cars for the jib and steering the boat. We were slowly but surely getting the hang of it.

Woman overboard!

All was well until we encountered a sudden gust of wind to which we didn't quite tack (move the boom and sails to the opposite side) in time and the boat broached (tips over way too far to one side). At the height of it the boat was almost completely sideways with the starboard side in the water! Most of us were on the port side clinging onto whatever we could while trying to weigh down the boat and stabilize it. Unfortunately Kel was on the side that went down. Falling backwards into the water while barely holding onto anything, she was almost entirely submerged with four of us not close enough to even reach her. Since the boat was at such a steep angle, if any of us let go we would've fallen directly into the water ourselves. Do not pass go, do not collect R200. Luckily Anthony was the only one close enough to pull her back onto the boat. Phew! Crisis averted and we got the boat upright at the same time as well.

Seeing Kel being pulled under the water was a little scary, but she was fine - she's such a champ. Surprisingly she was totally calm even while it was happening! It was a bit of a wake up call for us that sh*t can get real relatively fast out there. Thereafter we stepped up our sailing game and amongst almost two dozen other boats in the race, we finished in second place. Not too shabby! There were no prizes, but we didn't lose Kel and that was a victory in itself haha.

Then it was lots of fun! We promoted Claire to captain and she steered the boat back to the dock. We moored the boats and headed to another yacht to chill and braai some meat. Lori was there as well, which was a nice surprise, and we all hung out, chatted and listened to music well into the night. Definitely one for the books. Can't wait for the next office party!