July 29, 2012
When I woke up on Sunday, I decided that enough was enough. Saturday might have been a good day to go sailing, and I wasn’t going to take no for answer today. So, I asked my wife if she wanted to go sailing, and she said yes. Since our daughter planned to spend time with two friends playing volleyball, and our son always helps out at church, we figured we had the late morning to go play.
Arriving at the marina, I was pleased to see one boat’s flag (one of those “don’t tread on me” banners), furling nicely. I estimated that the wind might be 7 or so miles per hour, which would be fine by me. Once I got my wife onto the boat (not one of her great talents) we methodically got the boat ready to go out. I even decided to sacrifice to let her wear the newest PFD, the inflatable one I purchased last year on sale. She had complained last season about how hot it was to wear the vests, and since I insist on people wearing PFDs, that didn’t make her very happy. I had suggested buying an inflatable one for her last year, but she had balked at the cost. This year, I’m going to have to get one for her when some are on sale — I miss the inflatable!
Since there was very little current, we were able to get out from the slip rather easily, with her only using the boat hook to ensure we didn’t hit the shrouds. Once we got past the breakwater, I found that we were already going almost straight into the wind, and what I should have done in retrospect was to motor all the way across the Solomons and then hoist the main. In that way, we could have sailed using the wind on a beam reach and gotten into the bay. Instead, I got only about halfway across, raised the main, and then we moved slowly on close reaches and finally got pretty much in the bay, but by that time, we had already used up quite a bit of time. Having said that, the wind wasn’t too crazy, we finally got coming about handily (I don’t try to get my family into the “Prepare to come about — ready — hard alee!” stuff, since my teenagers just wouldn’t stand for it), so it took us awhile to develop a rhythm. Since my wife doesn’t go out much, she’s never really gotten her own sense of what to do without instruction. Mind you, I just remembered, that I didn’t get even remotely close to yelling or getting stressed with her. This may have been because it was a really lazy day of sailing, with enough but not too much wind, or because I was just calmer and didn’t need to. I tend to think it was a combination, but more that I just didn’t feel the need. I had her release the jib sheet, then I took up the new leeward sheet and cleated it off, and it got pretty good after awhile.
And even though we really should have gone all the way toward Solomons before raising sail and tilting the engine, I only realized after we lowered the sails that we hadn’t used the engine the entire time we were sailing. In past sails with family — when I was even greener than I am now — I had had to resort to the engine multiple times during a sail. There do seem to be some greater skills developing, I guess.
All back in the slip, and all finished. A good time out, and I think Ellen had a good time too. Everybody won!