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THE WORST PLACE TO BE
ON A BOAT IS STRANDED.
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skier at all times as you turn around them in
the water, keeping the boat a safe distance
away. You should also do so, but with a lookout for other boats as well.
■ Keep the throttle at idle, so you’re just
making headway (dead slow).
■ You can pinch the U at the end of your
turn if need be, to bring the rope back more
quickly. But make sure you don’t run over
■ The rope’s handle is what makes this
U-shape effective. It acts as an anchor of
sorts, creating more drag in the water than
the line to which it’s attached. When you
make the turn at the bottom of the U, the
handle’s drag makes the bottom of the
U-shape slip through the water, almost like a
noose tightening, coming closer to the skier
than the boat originally passed. (See FIG 2).
Done correctly, the line will end up passing
behind the skier’s back. All they have to do is
lay back and wrap an arm over it, then pass it
over head. At that point, it’s best to have the
boat in neutral, so you aren’t pulling them
through the water before they’re ready.
■ This technique will also work with most
tubes, though those riders are free to swim
to the tube if you just drag it past them. It
also should be noted that crew-overboard
devices such as a Lifesling or life ring on a
long line can be brought to a person’s hands
in the same manner, so sailors should
practice this maneuver as well.
Michael Vatalaro is BoatU.S. Magazine’s
Make a U-turn around your
skier at low speed. You
don’t want to be right on
top of them. Bottom: As
you continue past, the drag
of the handle will make
the bend in the line slip up
toward the skier, making
it easy to reach.