Sunday, July 21, 2013

The last "Fun" sail...

Last night was the club's "Night Race". Four boats, ignoring the lightning dancing to the south-west, ventured out into the dark to race around the silos. As usual friend Thor on Grey Hound was making his own wind and quickly disappeared out into the void. The three remaining boats, Pascagoula Run, Gail Force, and Quicksilver, nursed the light winds, struggling to make the south silo on a single tack. Pascagoula Run got there first, with Gail Force and Quicksilver close astern. The downwind run to the north silo was more like a drift. Gail Force and Quicksilver made better use of the light breezes leaving Pascagoula Run to round the second "mark" last. Ocean sailors would laugh at what Carlyle sailors call wind; odd breaths of air puffing from any direction plus or minus 60 degrees. Racing tactics are as much a guess as to what the fluky winds will do playing across the shoreline. Joel did a better job of guessing and, by mere minutes, Pascagoula Run was first across the line.

Kintala didn't make this last fun sail. Deb and I joined Emily, Joel, and Casey on Pascagoula Run. We are going to get a lot of time to sail Kintala and, for this last night out on Lake Carlyle, joining friends just seemed "right". The light winds even helped by keeping the boats close enough together for good natured quips to fly easily from boat to boat.

There were other reasons to leave Kintala at the dock. She is not much of a light wind boat and would have been all but totally becalmed for much of the race. And though the aft cabin is finished and the interior delivered from "project" mode, ours is not an easy boat to get moving when she has been still for a while. From a full rest to being underway is a good 45 minutes worth of effort, particularly when the crew is not working at 100%. (Deb and I have been struggling with summer colds while trying to get the Retirement Project under sail on big water. Really bad timing but what can you do but forge on as best as possible?) So Kintala's last weekend on lake Carlyle was a quiet one. It just works out that way sometimes.

As for friends, good friend Don asked if I could do one more photo flight with him this evening. The object plane was a pretty little Luscombe, the air was smooth and cool, and the light good. Don's classic Fairchild F27 was the platform bird - it is a thing we have done together a bunch of times over the years. Idling in for a landing in this big 'ol classic tail-dragger was all of the good things young pilots dream of and old pilots remember. And though the F27 is perhaps the easiest of tail-draggers with which to brush a landing onto Mother Earth, it was still kind of special to pull off a near perfect wheel landing, on grass and in the dying light of a summer day, as my last hurrah as an airplane driver.  Thanks my Brother.

I will head back to the boat in the morning. The final push to get Kintala up on the hard and ready for the truck has begun.


Amber said...

Wish I'd been on the ground to get a picture of your last landing. I've been more excited than anything for you guys, but that post made me tear up a little - fond memories of being in the passenger seat for similar landings as a kid, I guess.

Deb said...

@Amber - I'm not so sure it was his last. Knowing Padre he'll find a way to get in the sky somehow.

TJ said...

Amber, a last picture would never have done it justice; just another red airplane touching down. But if your kids end up with fond memories of being with Dema and Grampy T on a big sailboat when they were kids, mine will have been a life well lived. Your Mom, you girls, the grand kids, I am already way ahead ... maybe, somewhere in the world, someone has been as lucky as me, but I doubt it.

You know how much I love you all.