Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Lap Around the Lake

We set off this morning in nearly perfect conditions for a sailboat. Steady winds of 10 to 12 knots were blowing, with clear skies and low humidity. All complements of the cold front that went through last night. A single tack took us all the way to the dam. Turning back North we were going so well that we decided to head to Keysport. We made the whole length of the lake with just a couple of course changes to keep well away from some obstructions left over when they turned a small river into a lake. (Namely a couple of big old, concrete storage towers.) Reaching Keysport we swung through the wind and began the reach for Nomad’s home slip. Along the way we passed Gary in Margaritaville (Gary was the broker who sold us Nomad) and later Lee in Hog Wild. Lee bought my BMW, which made it possible for us to buy Nomad.

Nearing home Deb wanted to try “heaving to” a maneuver that basically lets the boat hold its place even with the wind blowing. One proceeds by backing the headsail into the wind and then locking the tiller all the way the other way. If you ask me how it works about the best I can tell you is that it works pretty well.

We didn’t sail Nomad yesterday. The forecast was for some big storms, which materialized late in the afternoon and made us glad we were at the dock. Lots of lightning and heavy rain, but it looked like the worst of the winds passed just to the south of our marina. Some folks got caught out and had to ride out the storms on the hook, huddled in the cabin. I’m sure that will happen to us someday but I’m glad it wasn’t yesterday.

We did sail some yesterday morning with new friend Dave on his Hunter 25. We took part in a “skills” race, which pretty much proved we don’t have a lot of skill yet. The last task of the “race” was to sail through the start / finish line BACKWARDS. We never did figure that one out; something to practice on another day.

I went for a swim yesterday mid afternoon, paddling around the parked boats in the marina. Not many people swim in the marina. It seems having a bunch of floating objects all connected to 120 volts AC, some with shore power wires hanging into the water, spooks most people. I’m not that smart I guess. Besides, I have yet to see a flash fried fish or cormorant floating near the slips. Today though, about 4 feet worth of water snake swam by Nomad’s stern while we were working on the boat and getting ready to close her up for the weekend. I kind of like snakes, but I’m not sure I want to be nose to nose with one while swimming around the boats. I may have to rethink this swimming in the marina thing after all.

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