One of Those Rare Days (for June)

Well I have just finished one of those weeks from hell.  It ended Thursday night and man oh man was I glad.  So there I was sitting at the desk catching up on the latest news that’s important to me when I decided to check the weather forecast.  Just prior to checking it online, I took a stroll around the yard for a visual.  Wow it was mostly cloudy and the wind was piping up pretty good here at the house.  Back in the house the internet ( confirmed that indeed the wind was blowin stink with gust as high as 25 kts and forecast to do so for most of the day!  Furthermore, a cloud cover forecast of 75-80% was also predicted.  With temperatures hovering around 90°-92° cloud cover would be a good thing.  And most importantly (well maybe second to the wind forecast) there was only a slight chance of thunderstorms.  To the lake I said and not a moment to loose!

After gathering the requisite boat bags, ice, and a restock of brews I was on my way.  Arriving some 30 minutes later, I found my friend J Bird sitting in the cockpit of his Bayfield 29.  I love the interior of that boat even better than I do the interior of a Cape Dory 30B.  She is a pretty boat, cutter rigged, but the lines of the coachtop just don’t suit me.  Anyway, there was JBird, so I say, “JBob its blowing stink out there let’s go sailing”?  “Now” he replied?  Of course said I.  Whose boat said he.  I don’t care, but lets take yours and she how she handles these winds.  So JBird began to ponder, looked out beyond the “reef”, ponder some more and then said “are you sure”?  JBob, I am going sailing.  It’s a Cape Dory Day and your boat (Lady J) can deal with it as well.  You decide my boat or yours?  Pondering, pondering, well okay we’ll take Lady J.  Fine said I just let me ice me a few cold ones and I’ll be right over to help get her ready.  Well, JBob must have been a bit nervous about the pending sail because he pulled out of his slip and immediately went aground and he knew he shouldn’t have had Lady J in the area.  Oh well no harm done, as we were able to “rock” her out in about ten minutes, and then out beyond the “reef”.

Well IT WAS BLOWIN STINK and I could see a bit of apprehension in my fearless Captain’s eyes.  JBob this is no macho thing.  It is blowing stink and it’s your boat.  Something could break and it’ll still be your boat.  I don’t want to pressure you into something your not comfortable with, so if you want to go back in that’s fine.  I’ll take my boat and you can go with me or not.  Your choice.  It’s not a macho thing.

Well we went back in and as soon as I could I was back out there with a single reef and the #2 jib.  It was still blowing stink and it only took me about five minutes to realize I needed to reef a bit deeper, so I slipped in the second one.  Now we were talking.  Five to six knots with the #2 and 2 reefs.  Fairly flat and clipping along.  My intent was to sail to Vian Creek, but as I neared the Day Mark where I would have to steer more NNW it became obvious I wouldn’t be able to sail in channel on my return and you don’t get out of the channel in that part of the lake, SO I tacked and start a reciprocal course.  Well lo and behold, there’s another boat on the lake.  RACE!

At this juncture the wind had began to lessen a bit, so I shook out the second reef and that was much better.  Still clipping along at 5-6 knots.  Soon I realized that the new boat on the water was Lady J.  Way Kewl JBird.  It took the better part of an hour to run Lady J down and then I tacked again, and running a parallel course with Lady J we sailed back to the west for a couple of miles.  Once we reached the western end of the lake, we tacked and headed back to the dam, which was seven or eight miles to the east.  The wind had indeed dropped enough to shack out the last reef and all was right with the world.

Well now after all we are sailing in a lake, so what were we to do after reaching the dam, we took the reciprocal course back out into the lake.  I had been out almost four hours by this time and I needed to return to the Rear Command Post (house) so once I reached the middle of the lake I alter course and was running dead down wind wing and wing.  Any other course would have been fairly hard to maintain and by using this option, when I did turn to head back in, I would be on a beam reach.

So that is how I ended a very stressful week and I can think of no finer way.  And I’ll be heading back that way this morning and will be spending the night on the hook in some little seclude cove.  Now we’re talking!  Have a great weekend and get out there on the water and sail your hearts out.

Fair Winds.


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