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I Won't Abandon You
by Dejan Petrovic'  dejan.petrovic@privat.utfors.se

(Be sure and read Dejan's building story)

Two weeks ago I had a not very pleasant adventure.  OK, the start vas very nice.  My hunting buddy Nisse (Who I named my motor/sail hunting boat after) and myself set out to sail an early Wednesday.  A clear windy day it was.   Now I have to interrupt with some facts, last year's summer was hot thus reducing the normal westward winds to a minimum.  Actual sailing was but a small part of all boating. This summer it rained away.  We had FIVE times the rain we usually have.   Houses tumbled down into rivers, city blocks where flooded and roads were washed away.  Even boating time was cut down.   Back to the story.

Among other things, my friend Nisse has been competing in sailing.  So we went out with expectations to really sail.  We did.  During some 6 hours we had a swell time.  We went to parts of the archipelago Nisse had never been to.  We checked out a part of my sea hunting ground.  The wind just got stronger. The boat, all considered, behaved well under sail, was easy handled and responded well.  It was even fast.

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Dejan building Nisse's namesake

What a time we had.  We joked a lot.  You see, Nisse is a retired teacher.  He used to teach in handicraft and was prior to that a furniture carpenter.  His kids are my age.  He is a dedicated hunter/fisher and sailor.  Always 110%. And he's funny.  Together we have to wipe tears away when we laugh.  We get along very well.  Due to lack of time we motored against the wind for an hour and a half to get home.  Half a mile from my landing spot we decided to make some experiments.  We where now in a bay where the wind seldom can produce any high waves.  We made some try-outs, sailed only with the main, pressed the boat as high up in wind as possible etc.  All went well but Nisse complained that I sailed too defensively and wanted to take the helm.  Maybe you recall that the helm is of a pull and push type (to save area and allow for me to sit still).  It takes some time to maneuver the "stick" without thinking.  I admit that Nisse got a lot higher and faster than I did.  The wind was now only coming in bursts, different directions all the time.  The boat could stop and then accelerate very fast, keep a high speed and suddenly stop.  Water came over the sides of the boat when it was pressed sideways. (Several times I have sailed and had a lot of water coming over the stem. Never any problems.) I remember saying: Nisse, remember that I have four kids! He replyed: I won´t abandon you.  Then we capsized.  Nisse went over the side and I under the boat, trapped inside.

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Nisse finished but for sails

Being a smart guy I was dressed in a floating overall.   (Mullion, made in the UK) I use it the year around. Keeps me dry and warm during snow blizzards. One night this summer I slept in it under open skies. Just some fir twigs on the ground and a small fire. (OK, that adventure was not planned.)

With my muscular illness I did not have the strength to fight the lifting power of the overall. I tried. I only got my arms outside the rail. I could only look at the greenish light and the flickering shadows, note the sounds from the waves and wait. I can´t swim anymore but for years I have been training to keep my breath. Regularly I visit the swimming hall with my kids and they treat me rough.  As a kid I was always more under than over the water.  It is not a big effort to stay under for two minutes.

I waited, said to myself: Is this the way I´m going?  Is this how it is to die? Finally I saw my kids looking at me.  They where standing together in the order they came.  The oldest, Ole Alexander, to the  left, followed by Maria Angelina, then Tor Öyvind Andreas and on the right end of the row Arild Johannes.

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Dejan with crew

I knew this was it and it was very light under the water.   That's when Nisse, in his third try, got down, still in his luckily under dimentioned lifejacket, made it so far down that he could reach my arms. He pulled himself down, placed his feet on the rail and wrenched  me clear.  I went up like cork.   Nisse kept his word: I won´t abandon you.

In a floating overall one floats high and comfortably, I promise.  A panic stricken boater rowed (He could not cope with his motor at the time!) out to us. The boat being small, I had to be floated like a log.  In all I spent ½ hour in the sea.

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