Of all the machines I have operated over the years, sailboats still strike me as the most tender, the most susceptible, to bad weather. In reality I am the one who is tender. Though I have ridden motorcycles through the dying remains of a hurricane, driven in snow that had most people looking for a hotel, and flown contently through stuff some people would consider a pure nightmare, I am still unsure of my footing on big water in a 42 foot boot. It is the only machine that has ever made me motion sick to the point of not being able to function, the only machine where – sometimes – I am just not sure of the next thing to do. It frustrates me that this is so.
A check of the weather showed the incoming cold front still a hundred miles away, the forecast even suggesting that the winds would now hang in the low 30s, and fade by early next week. Boats with shallower drafts than Kintala were pulling out all around us. Deb started the coffee. I started to prep the boat for departure. An hour before high tide we dropped the mooring ball and headed off. I pretended to be comfortable and sure; though Deb doubtless knew I was faking.
We slipped though the Whale without a care.
Treasure Cay is different than it was two years ago. It is a full-fledged mooring field now, with just one little spot left clear for anchoring, big enough for maybe four or five boats. We debated a bit, but ended up picking up one of the mooring balls. I am sure it will be fine, but I am not impressed. The balls are small and cheap. The chains running to the bottom are not as big as the one we use to anchor Kintala. The ball we picked up had its pennant chewed about half way through. The bleach bottle float was split and we had to fish the dangling line out of the water. We affixed two of our own lines to the ball, only to be informed when checking in that the rings on top of the balls will not hold up in a blow. We went back to the boat and, using a shackle of our own, fixed our lines to the shackle at the bottom of the ball. It was an awkward little dance, Deb on deck, me in the Ding, to get it set up where we were comfortable. Several of the boats around us have their lines run from a cleat, through the painter, back to the other cleat; a set up likely to chafe badly if the winds blow as forecast. Others are fastened to the ring on top of the ball. I hope the rings are stronger than suggested, and the winds less.
Still, tonight I am content, if a bit embarrassed by this morning's unease. The trip here was short and uneventful, the waters sparking and clear, the little whitecaps of no concern at all. Kintala's newly installed, rebuilt water pump worked fine, though our wind instrument is, once again, on the fritz. We made the right decisions, handled the boat, and are settled in. I am determined to get comfortable doing this, to be at ease in this world.
But it looks like that will be a while yet.
|For some reason this sign made me think of our good friend Paul of Lat 43 fame|