Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Puzzling my way through.

The rain and winds of this morning kept us in Solomon Island today. We have decided to push on to Oriental in as few days as comfortable, then spend some time there catching up. Tomorrow we will try for Reedville, crossing the mouth of the Potomac. Rumor (actually the Cruising guide) has it that tide / current / wind combinations can make that an ugly stretch of sailing. We are trying to gauge how tomorrow will be; which underscores a thing completely unexpected by me.

I know exactly what “2230 32007KT 10SM SCT065 MKN110 ….” Means to a pilot approaching KBWI. (An easy day is in store.) What “winds WNW 10 to 15, gusting to 25 with waves 1 to 2 feet” means to someone crossing the Potomac at ebb to flood tide in a 42’ sailboat? It could mean an easy day. It could mean taking a beating. Weather forecasts only mean something in context, when there is some experience to go with the numbers and letters. I have no such context, and in fact don't have a clue what tomorrow might bring.

Not having a clue when risking everything I own and, most importantly, the person I love most in the world, makes me tense.

Add to that, Kintala is not the same boat she was in IL. We hated each other, living in the Midwest and on the hard, beating each other silly with an endless list of work needing done. But at least we were talking the language of mechanical things and understood what the other was saying.

Out here we need to be friends but don’t speak the same language. On the bay making 8 knots she is tender, hard to balance, and fast. She gives every indication of being much more boat than I am sailor. To be honest, sometimes, I’m not sure what she wants. I can’t interpret her motions and noises; can’t tell if what I’m feeling is right or wrong. Fluent in aviation maybe, but I am a deaf mute in the world of open water sailing; unsure of my next move, not knowing what might be coming up or the right way to respond. None of which is making me any less tense.

I don’t know where I am going. On the one hand this shouldn’t matter because everywhere is “home”. And since I like new places (and every place we have been so far has been fantastic) not knowing where I am going should be fun. But there is another side of “not knowing where I am going” that is hard to explain; and it isn’t near as much fun.

I am sure things will get better as we go along. Each mile passing under the keel will school me in the language I need and add to the store of experience. Sitting here in the “sun room”, rain gone, blue sky, dancing water, and surrounded by boats… I am humbled by the good fortune that has brought me to this place and makes going to the next possible. But in a way quite puzzling, being a cruiser is exactly what I pictured, but nothing like what I expected.

7 comments:

KAR said...

Hey, is it possible to put a map up that shows where you are? Maybe where you are going each few days? Really cold here today, but the Cardinals will win tonight and we'll all forget about the weather!

Capt. Mike said...

The Sailors we met in the area all suggested to us that it is best to cross the Patomac when the wind and tide are headed in the same direction. Our personal experiences would suggest that is correct. Good luck!

S/V Veranda said...

We crossed it today with tide and big wind in agreement. It was lovely. I've done it in less than enviable conditions and we couldn't believe that we were "only" in the bay. Tomorrow should be good....

Mike said...

Just remember, there was a time when you didn't know that 32007KT 10SM SCT065 meant that the wind was out of the north/northwest at 7 knots with 10 miles of visibility and scattered clouds at 6500ft...or what that really meant to landing an airplane. You, like I, are learning a new system and it takes a bit of time and experience. Just remember that if you get out there and don't like the way things are feeling...there is no shame in a go-around. :-)

Latitude 43 said...

Don't stress too much about it. I got a little too worked up about some areas because the cruising guide had me thinking I could die if the wind and current weren't right. Most times it's manageable. You have the time, so go when you are comfortable.
P

kcramerus said...

Tides? Who opened the dam?

Lacey Jaye said...

A tender boat can be exhausting for the helmsman. There is however a good chance that a few minor adjustments may calm your boat and make sailing the pure joy you have dreamed about. A good solution is finding a true sailor/rigger that understands the complex geometry that is a sailboat. Most of us need to make small adjustments to the rake of the mast or redistribute the weight in order to find what feels right. Once I must admit to dragging a very small drogue, which I called my man overboard safety line to stabilize a very tender boat. Good Luck.