September 1, 2012
Okay, maybe I missed the memo one day, but I thought that most enlightened powerboaters (there are some out there!) understood that their wakes can adversely affect sailboats. And these same enlightened powerboaters would take care to avoid actions that might severely rock our small craft. So, why then were those enlightened powerboaters all at home watching television while the idiots were all out in the Patuxent River and adjacent Chesapeake Bay? Geez! If it wasn’t Bubba informally racing his buddy (Leroy, I think he was) then it was people who just decided that the only thing that matters is their getting to the bay, regardless of the flotsam and jetsam of little sailboats that got munched up along the way.
This was supposed to be a simple little outing — solo of course — during which I would for the first time sail toward the Thomas Johnson Bridge rather than toward the bay because of where the wind was coming from. It made sense when I tested the wind as I left the marina breakwater. And I got Ilya heading up just fine toward the bridge, though because of the way the wind was blowing, I would have to tack back and forth several times to get where I wanted to go — which was under the bridge for a great photo. Needless to say, that never happened for several reasons. First, I’m still new enough at this that I don’t point as well, meaning that I’m not as skilled at trimming the sails etc. to get the boat to go close enough to the wind. Therefore, I don’t make the kind of headway more experienced sailors do. Of course, one part of the problem might be the boat, though I’m guessing it is more my level of expertise than the boat. Second, those aforementioned powerboats were just creating havoc in the water anywhere near the channel. One time, I was caught with virtually no wind, and an engine that was bouncing so much out of the water because of the wake, that I couldn’t get anywhere, and the keel kept making really scary sounds as it lifted and fell with the waves.
Final reason? No wind. I watched with interest as a boat with a spinnaker (all female crew with a name that suggested that was by design rather than chance) sailed quietly and slowly by me, making slow but steady progress toward the bay. Eventually, though I tried and tried, when the wind’s gone, the wind’s gone.
And the only thing I have to show for it is a renewed annoyance toward the less enlightened powerboaters — which I had anyway.