Well for only the 2nd time in 26 years, I flipped my single. Shows it can happen to anyone. I was doing the Crossfit Endurance workout of 8 x 2:00 on, 2:00 off, when on the 2nd piece something underwater hooked my left blade and held it just long enough. At steady state I would have been OK but at full speed the boat corkscrewed around the stuck blade, got sideways to the current, and I decided to ditch rather than risking a bent rigger or broken oarlock.
Some history…the last time I flipped was in the San Diego Fall Classic back in like 1993 or 1994. If I recall correctly, Xeno Muller was in the race, I was ahead of him in the start order, and he was charging up behind me. I decided to see how long I could hold him off for the fun of it, so I put the pedal to the metal but was trying not to wake him out, so I wasn’t looking ahead and I clipped one of the permanent buoys in Mission Bay with my oar. The funny thing was that the top gate of my oarlock broke off cleanly, the oar popped out but stayed in my hand, and I stayed perfectly set as I was going fast. It was like a slow-motion instant replay. I was able to quickly put the oar back in and row for a little while until a speedboat wake got me from the side. With no top gate on my port oarlock, there was no way to get back in the boat. No safety boats seemed to notice, so I had to swim it back to San Diego Rowing Club, which meant about 20 minutes in 55-degree water.
This time, the water was not quite that cold, and was surprisingly clean despite the horror stories. I did not feel my skin starting to dissolve quite yet.
I undid the thumbscrew on the backstay, got up and over (just like on a SUP, albeit an 16-inch SUP ), but then realized that I was maybe 300 meters from the dock with the tide in my favor. Rather than trashing the deck of my boat getting back in the cockpit, I just slid back in the water and swam it back to the dock.
Those are the breaks – hopefully it will be years until the next one!