Back in September I attended the OPC Nationals in Kanakee, IL. I drove up to hang out with Tammy Wolf, then she was running a Formula 3 tunnel boat in the series. Tammy had invited me up to the race because she wanted me to attend “school” to learn how to drive a boat similar to hers. Little did I know what that would entail. First before you learn how to drive the boat you must become “certified” so that you know how to exit the boat in case of emergency. I will be the first to admit I’m terrified of being trapped in something in water. I hate bridges because of the fear of something happening to the bridge and my car falling into the water. Call me chicken I don’t care, it’s such a scary thought to me.
When I arrived at the pool we would be conducting this training I knew I would be getting wet because I was told to wear a swimsuit. I entered the pool area and joined the others who were getting certified. I noticed scuba equipment and a faux boat cockpit known as a capsule. This certification has to be completed by all drivers and crew of the series every two years. The anxiety set in when I realized what we would be doing. The instructor explained a few times what we would be doing as he was doing this my brain went into full on freak out mode. While strapped into the “Capsule” with a 6 point harness we were flipped into the water upside down. While upside down and underwater there was an air supply from a scuba tank (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this that I do not know) we had to remote the steering wheel, unstrap the harness and swim out of the capsule. Seems easy but the flipping disorients you and being as freaked out as I was I couldn’t remember to breath through the air tank. I just wanted out of there. Here is a video of the whole sequence.
Unfortunately the pool we used had been given a HUGE dose of chlorine before our exercises that morning. So much that by the time it came time for me to drive the boat I had a HUGE migraine and ear ache. They were so bad I didn’t feel comfortable getting into a “vehicle” that I had never had any experience with. I’m certified for two years so hopefully I will be able to make it back to another race to drive it.