Sunday, June 29, 2008

To the Dam and Back

We just got back from our first real weekend of sailing. Several boats from the yacht club made the trek 4 miles to the dam at the south end of the lake to raft up together and watch the fireworks. We had incredible weather for this time of year, in the mid-seventies and low humidity. After a couple hours of various work projects, including the fitting of the new screen door we built for the companionway, we were off. The winds were 16 gusting to 22 and exactly from the direction we wanted to go (this is bad on a sailboat for those of you who don't know), so it took us about 20 tacks back and forth (which Tim did incredibly well and I did unbelievably poorly) and 5 hours of sailing to go 4 miles. Why, you ask, might someone want to do this? Because it's a kick sitting there realizing that in this day of extraordinary gas prices, you are making a 6,000 pound piece of fiberglass and teak slice through the water with nothing but the power of the wind. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Here is a picture of Nomad rafted up with the other boats.

And a picture of her captain along with a lot of other people from Boulder Yacht Club

And a picture of some of the amazing fireworks

We were completely beat after the day of sailing and headed to bed but not for long - a thunderstorm rolled in over the lake and had us moving pretty quickly to close the hatches and the companionway. We were really glad to have the cool weather since the boat had to be closed up tight. The storm passed before long and we were able to open the hatch soon after that and watch the stars. I could see Orion right out the hatch over my head and I was using it to make sure that we weren't dragging anchor. As I lay there I wondered how many other sailors over the centuries have done that?

We left pretty early this morning and headed back. The wind was forecast to be gusting 26-30 knots so we decided to put up a reefed mainsail, which for you non-sailors is a shortened sail. This turned out to be plenty and we made it all the way back to the marina in 2 hours with the wind pushing us from behind. The only problem was the waves which were coming off our port stern and causing the boat to roll pretty bad. Of course it was 3/4 of the way back before we realized that if we turned just a little bit further downwind we could avoid most of the rolling (Note to self: watch the expert sailor who leaves just before you to see what he does...) I took this video for my daughter Kristin who has motion problems in the front of my truck let alone in beam seas.

We made it back to the marina before lunch after dropping the mainsail with much more grace than before, and had a chance to use the pump-out station for the first time. First time for everything and definitely not the last for that.

After some badly needed cleanup of lines, sails, covers, etc., we sat under the porch at the marina and watched another rain shower roll in. The air was clean and crisp and as we sat there the hallyards on the boats were all dancing in the wind making the marina sound like one of those big wind chimes with the long tubes.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

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