Sunday, July 19, 2009

Learning things the easy way... apparently not my style. There I was sitting in the bosun's chair, swinging at the top of the mast, only to learn that our Windex wasn't broken.

In fact it was working absolutely perfect, better (it would appear) than it ever had before. How so? Well, it turns out our Windex rides on a pivot with a weight at the bottom and the arrow thingy at the top. When Nomad heals over the wind arrow and little feathers stay parallel to the horizon. I'm not sure why it was designed that way, nor am I sure why we never noticed that it worked that way before. But this morning when we left the slip Deb and I both looked up and were convinced that thing was about to fall off the top of the mast. So back to the slip we went. Jeff loaned us a bosun's chair and provided the muscle to winch me aloft on the main halyard. (Thanks again Jeff!)

It was actually kind of fun though the mast of a sail boat moves a lot more than the top of a rock climbing wall! But I could have learned all I needed to learn about the Windex by simply grabbing the binoculars and looking. (I didn't think of that until later.)

First lesson of the weekend learned we headed off for a pretty nice sail with Melanie aboard. A few hours later we dropped her back at the dock and headed out for an impromptu cove-out and raft up with Jeff and friends from West. (First met during my wave runner excursion.) We sailed into Coles Creek, tied up with Gail Force on our port side, and started lesson #2. You see Coles Creek is on the east side of the lake. The wind was blowing pretty hard out of the northwest. Waves had the whole width of the lake to gather up momentum before reaching our little party. (Sailors call that "fetch.") With Bill's Paradise tied up on our starboard side little Nomad was between two bigger, heavier boats. Those boats kind of squeezed said waves between them. Nomad was not happy. She jerked back and forth against the bow lines, pitching up and down and banging against the fenders pinning her on both sides. We spent the night anyway, (the party, food, drink and conversations were worth the discomfort) and by this morning the winds had died and we were sitting pretty.

It was so pretty we were the last to leave, using the motor to get back to Boulder in the early afternoon. But it cost us an uncomfortable night to learn a couple of good lessons about where to anchor and how to raft up in Nomad when the waves are choppy. Of course sailing books are full of lessons about anchoring and rafting up, the dangers (not much danger on the lake) of being off a lee shore, and how to pick spots that are sheltered from the waves. But that would be the easy way.

Closing up the boat we learned one last new thing. For some reason I started to wonder why all the cold air from the icebox doesn't just flow out the drain. (Don't ask, even I don't know where that thought came from.) Deb didn't think it mattered much since the icebox does, in fact, stay cold, making it obvious that the cold air doesn't leak out. She was right of course but now I was stuck with a curiosity. A simple experiment proved that the icebox drains into the bilge. Who would have thought that? (Well, as it turns out a lot of sailboat iceboxes drain into the bilge.) Anyway the mystery of the water in the bilge is solved, and I guess the cold air leaks into there as well (but at a slow enough rate that it doesn't matter). In any case that was the easiest lesson of the whole weekend.

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