Sunday, May 21st, on the way home from church, we saw what a gorgeous day it was and we wanted to go for a sail. We ate a quick lunch and then I took a nap while Jon and Jonathan prepared a picnic dinner and got the boat ready.
We were all ready at the same time, and we headed off to the river. As we were setting up, I was nervous about the amount of wind, but Jon said there had to be less on the river, since we never have enough.

However, it was very windy and choppy on the river and rather harrowing for me. Jonathan and I sit in the bows so we can be in the middle for balance without having to switch sides, but we now weigh more than Jon, so we were bow-heavy and I got soaked with spray and waves. Jonathan did not like to sit by himself and was upset every time I had to do something with the boat.

We got nearly to the railroad bridge and decided to turn around. The wind was heading directly upriver, so we had to tack on the way back. I was still so nervous about the force of the wind and waves that I asked if we could just take the sail down and paddle back. However, the wind was so strong that it was blowing the boat upstream - against the current and against our paddling.

We managed to get to a place where we could rest next to a concrete pile on the shore, while a barge went by. After it passed, I tried raising the sail again, but only got about 2/3 of the way before it stuck. The halyard was swollen with water and I couldn't pull it any more. So we had a kind of fake reef, Jon holding the other end of the sail with the boom in his lap. We managed to get over to the other side of the river where there was a sandy shore and a picnic shelter.

We ate our dinner and stood in the sun to warm up. After a restful break it was time to finish the trip home. The halyard had dried some in the wind, and I was able to pull the sail all the way up. The wind had lightened a little, which was a relief. Our second tack was a straight shot to the dock, and the wind was very nice. Jon actually thought it was a calm - it was calm compared to the rest of the afternoon! However, it was probably the best wind we've had on the river. That part would have been a lovely sail if we hadn't been shivering with cold.

We made an almost nice landing, deciding to come up to the ramp instead of the dock. It was another one of those things-happen-so-fast-at-the-end: trying to get the sail down fast, forgetting the centerboard. I jumped out to catch us from running up on the concrete ramp, which was unnecessary because Jon did a nice turn to parallel right at the end. It would have been perfect except for forgetting the centerboard. It made a horrible sound on the concrete, but Jon inspected it afterwards and found it to be fine. We made it safely, praise God!

Jon, who wasn't very wet and thus not so cold, let me sit in the car with the heat on while he did most of the packing up. When we got home, we had hot tea and hot chocolate and dry clothes and blankets.

Jonathan seems to have my propensity to forget the bad parts of things, since he talks all the time about sailing and wanting to go, and describing our various adventures with glee. Directly after this adventure, he said how fun it was, and he likes recalling our capsizing ("The boat dumped us out and we went swimming!")
Posted by Heather Daley on May 26, 2006, 8:45 pm | Read 2208 times
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Wow! I hope to go sailing this weekend with a Sunfish. There's something cool about wind power.
Posted by MikeQ on May 27, 2006, 7:37 am
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