September 23, 2012
Of course, earlier, not only was the wind blowing harder, the chop was bad with lots of white caps. These were not those 8 foot whitecaps some people sail in all the time. No, they were a lot lower, but when my wife and I finally went out, I sensed that the amount of chop was the same as when my daughter and I went out last season, and I packed it in before we even got going. What a difference a year and several sailing excursions makes!
I thought it best to go all the way across the river to Solomons, then raise the main and head on a reach to the bay. Well, I didn’t exactly make it all the way across the river, yet raised our sails anyway and started sailing. I discovered the same problem as a few weeks ago when the wind just wasn’t consistent, and seemed to shift from various directions while we were out there. That was frustrating. We also hunkered down really fast and low (read: scared the Bejeezus out of me) a few times but I just let go of the tiller and went to weather, keeping calm all the way. We tacked back and forth, and while my wife didn’t do as much as she did the last time we got out, she helped as she could. Probably my directions weren’t as clear as they should be, but hey — I haven’t had anyone on the boat to listen to my directions for two months anyway — I was out of practice!
One thing I did notice is that she seemed to be in the way a number of times, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The simple truth is I’m not used to having anybody on the boat with me. So, even an extra foot or seat cushion could get in the way. Certainly this was not my wife’s fault, but I guess mine for being a sailing hermit.
We really did try to catch the wind, but it just died down more and more until it just wasn’t worth it to keep trying. We fired up the engine and headed in. Once we got close to the slip, I discovered that when I put the outboard into reverse, I couldn’t lower the revs beyond a certain point without manhandling the shift lever. That made for some uncomfortable moments as we docked. This was the first time in awhile that she helped me secure Ilya for the night. That made things a little easier than usual, and I certainly appreciated the help.