Sunday, May 20, 2007

First Sail of the Season

It's been too rainy and cold and windy to sail yet, but today was supposed to be sunny and perfect.

It wasn't.

We went sailing anyway.

It didn't last long.

We left the dock at about 10 am, with gentle winds and a slight high overcast. We motored out down the channel, greeting the newly hatched ospreys who were peeking over the nest tops on each of the navigation markers as we went out.

When we got out into Herring Bay, the small inlet where our marina (and others) are sheltered, the wind picked up to around 10-15 miles per hour. Which is fine, not a big deal, but it was gusty. Gusty is not good.

When it's gusty, you trim and set the sails for what you think the prevailing wind direction and speed will be, then the wind shifts and blusters higher, and the trim you set only a minute before is completely inappropriate. When it's gusty, you spend all your time compensating instead of sailing.

When it's really windy, one's sails should be reefed, that is, trimmed downward so that the whole sail isn't released to the wind, but a smaller percentage of the sail area.

Women like to go out reefed. Men do not.

When we passed out of the gusty Herring Bay into the main channel of the Chesapeake, winds of about 35 miles per hour hit, bending the boat over getting the sails wet, the deck wet, the crew wet, and making the boat uncontrollable.

Captain Bligh, my husband, was swearing and struggling. I had the steering wheel turned all the way to the stops on the left and the boat was still going to the right. I told him to start the engine, and for the fist time all day, he listened to me and started the engine. As soon as the engine caught I threw it in gear and slammed the throttle forward. Mind you, throwing the throttle to the firewall on a 23 horsepower diesel isn't exactly the Indy 500, but it give you enough forward movement to give your rudder authority again, so you can steer. And I steered it straight into the wind, while Cap'n Bligh dropped the sails and we went home. Or at least to the dock. We had plenty of piddly little projects to keep us busy for the rest of the day, after our one hour sail.

But it was blustery. One measures the angle at which one is tilting from straight up and down on a sailboat by looking at a gauge that measures heel, or the amount you're leaning. We were up to 35 degrees of heel at one point in our short sail. And on the way back, with no sails up at all, only a bare mast, we were heeled over five degrees with a beam reach (a crosswind to you landlubbers).

And the doctor has me up to 12 Viagras a day now, to see if it improves my twinge.

Life is interesting, ain't she?

2 comments:

Annette Markin said...

Hello Cutie Pie!!! I am finally "kind of" caught up on emails and this new-fangeled blogging thing and decided to check up on the ones that I knew of. It looks like Colleen also has one that you have marked on your page. I'm going to check it out also.
Nothing much to say except I love reading what you write. I never realized how nice this "blogging thing" really is. Well, that's all I know. It is 11:45 pm central time. We moved one of my steroids up to 5:00 pm instead of 6:00 pm because I haven't been able to get to sleep. By the looks of things, I think I'll need to move it up again. Anyway, off to try to get to sleep. It's so good feeling better. I'm not convinced though that you are feeling ok with your continued "twinge" incidences.
Annette (who didn't have any ice cream tonight but did eat a butterscotch pudding cup. It's good to be able to eat again! :) )

The Admiral said...

Hooray Hooray Hooray!

So Happy To See Your Very Name!!