Monday, May 27, 2013

A Sunfish Adventure

This will be a blow-by-blow account of the first outing on the sunfish. This sunfish is loaned to us for the summer, mostly for Julia to enjoy. A little sunfish, zipping along on the water, with a loan sailor easily managing its small dimensions and miniscule sail -- what could be nicer, right?
Adam and Philip carried the sunfish to the water.
They set it on this dinghy lift to lower it into the water.
Not an ideal arrangement, since the sunfish is longer than a dinghy, but it worked. After one trip back home to retrieve a wine cork (to stop up the drain hole in the bottom) and a 3" nail (to serve as a fastening pin on the rudder), they were ready to go.
Julia totes the rudder and the daggerboard. This sunfish is about 50 years old, so it has some lovely old wooden pieces.
Our friend, Mr. G., who's loaning us the sunfish, watches all the activity.
They put up the sail.
Adam climbed down into the sunfish.
He and Julia got themselves situated. Adam did the sail, and Julia steered.
And they're off!
They came about smoothly and headed out of the marina.
I drove back across the bridge and, hoping to catch a glimpse of them, parked at the Oriental harbor and walked out on this long dock that looks over the mouth of Smith Creek, just under the bridge.
And here they come!
Adam takes her through the correct channel markers.
Then they turned toward the bridge, the wind picked up, and they sailed along at a nice clip. I got back in the car and drove over to our home marina where the sailboat stays. I was to meet them there.
Well, the wind was so good, they beat me there! As I drove up, Adam was out of the sunfish, but Julia had decided (at his prompting) to stay in alone and go sailing a little in the creeks. She's been all over these creeks in her dinghy, rowing. How different could it be?
She started well, but the wind picked up and carried her down Green Bay, a narrow channel of water with reeds and overhanging branches. Her sail got turned, and she panicked a bit.
Julia couldn't get the boat turned, and in her defense, she'd have had to sail into the wind, in a narrow space, her first time manning sails herself, in order to get back to the slip. Poor girl! She was not happy. She floundered along into shallower water while Adam and I walked along the edge, trying to encourage her to steer the sunfish to our edge. At last, she washed far up the  channel and ended up next to someone's little dock, wedged next to their canoe.
She clambered out of the sunfish through muck and seaweed, swearing she'd never sail it again. Adam struggled his way into the sunfish. It was turned the wrong way, the nose wedged into a corner, the sail stuck behind a pole. It was awful. I pushed, and he maneuvered, and finally he got her turned around. He took down the sail, which was only making it much harder. Then he began to row.
All I could think of was Ratty and Mole, and how simple this would all have been for them!
Adam paddled up the channel, which you see here. He has such bad, painful shoulders, it was a trial. His left shoulder had just begun to heal a bit, and I'm afraid today's adventure set it back.
At one point he pulled up to a dock and asked Julia to come back aboard with him, to do the steering. I can tell you, he was One Grumpy Man.
We did at last get the sunfish tied up to a dock we could use. We pulled out the sail and boards, and Adam at last debarked. Adam asked me to call Philip to drive over and help pull the sunfish out of the water. But a few minutes later, I find Adam has  already been yanking at it, tugging it through the weeds. With his bad shoulder! He was being, as he says, An Old Guy. That means stubborn, grumpy, and impatient. Yep.
The adventure was over at last. The sunfish was stowed away until next time. We all traipsed home and enjoyed a hearty Memorial Day meal of hamburgers with all the fixin's, baked beans with onion and bacon, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes. Delish! Except for Anna who wisely stayed at home today knitting or some such activity, we are thoroughly exhausted from the day's adventure -- and that sunfish event didn't really start until about 4:00! What were we thinking? Perhaps ... perhaps, we have learned a lesson or twelve today, to apply next time.

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