Monday, January 21, 2013

Sailing Is Unpredictable

Yesterday on a walk, I noted many sailboats dotting the Neuse. I was wistful, and decided that we should attempt a sailing day today.
The wind must have been fabulous yesterday, and thus the sailors were on the water. Today, the wind was not as cooperative. Adam wanted to try out his new sculling oar (well, the bottom half of it). We didn't borrow an outboard motor. We took along two other boat oars, and put our noses into the light breeze.
 Wind - ha. It was a L O N G paddle. Mostly, Adam rowed, and Julia rowed some. I steered at the tiller. The sculling oar was not useful. Adam determined that he will, with renewed effort, dismantle and repair our outboard motor. One hour and 15 minutes after we left our home marina, we finally went under the bridge and into the open water.
 When the wind picked up (only a tiny bit) Julia moved to the front and basked in the warm sun. She's surrounded by the foresail, which wasn't up yet.
 When we did put up the foresail, we got a bit more wind and we toodled along. We tacked back and forth, and I hunted for puffs of wind to fill the sails. At one point the boom swung over and smacked me in the forehead. Adam felt bad about that.
 But we had the entire afternoon, nowhere to go, no hurry. Who cares if there's big wind or no wind? A gorgeous day of sun and water made it all worthwhile.
 We sat for so long that we finally stood up, needing a stretch. We never made it to Oriental #1 marker. Finally the boat herself seemed to tell us, "Turn around, guys!" so we did. There was somewhat better wind going back.
I wanted to stretch my legs, so I stood up front, and Adam gave Julia the tiller. As soon as he did, the wind picked up. I steered us under the bridge and then Julia took the tiller back again. As we headed home, the wind was almost lively. Julia began to enjoy herself. "I am drunk with power!!" she said gleefully. So funny. She really enjoyed steering and getting the feel of the tiller and how the wind works in the sails. Call it an educational experience!

We decided that, as long as the wind was so good, we might as well continue on, so we headed up Green Creek. As I said, the wind was unpredictable. At one point, a vigorous gust of wind blew into our sails, and the boat heeled over to the right as I tried to fill the sails. It was fun, and I felt us lean. The water is very close when you're tilted like that. But the amount of wind force and sail pressure was too much. The outhaul rigging on the boom broke with the pressure, the mainsail went crazy, the boom yanked up, and we all hollered. I released the tiller so the boat would line up, but it was a scary moment. Or as Julia said, "That was fun!" Yeah. We dipped low enough that my seat was awash with river water. That was chilly.
Here's a photo from Google of what the outhaul rigging looks like -- a little, important piece of rope.

We came about and Adam examined the damage, which was small. We bought a new piece of rope to replace the outhaul, as soon as we got back into town. We took down some sail and crept quietly back into our slip in the marina, glad to be done for the day.

All that to say ... sailing is unpredictable. A day with no wind can, in a second, become a day with too much wind, especially if you have a weak piece of rope.

1 comment:

  1. You and Adam must already have been quite experienced sailors? I know a husband who would love just such an afternoon as this!

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