Newton’s third law of motion - a sailing confession by Christopher Hill


On our first family flotilla we had a gentle first day sail from Skiathos to raft up stern-to a rocky breakwater.

The instructions were simple – drop the main anchor and reverse to within about 5m of the rocks, then take out the kedge in the dinghy and drop it in the rocks before tightening everything up.

We were the last boat in with a decent audience and sent Edward, our 10-year-old, to anchor with the kedge.

As he stood up and started to swing it to throw it onto the rocks I shouted ‘Noooo…’ but too late. The kedge went a little way forwards, the dinghy went at speed backwards and Edward went down somewhere in the middle.

He could swim and no harm was done as he surfaced like a spouting whale.

Having learnt this early lesson in physics, Edward is now a senior software engineer for a multinational company.


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