Saturday, October 20, 2012

Club Sailout

So I finally got to get to sail on a real sailboat, and you know what happens.  Yep - the curse of Chris strikes again and no wind!  If you ever want a calm day on the water, just invite Chris over.  I guarantee you that the wind will mysteriously disappear.

This past Wednesday was the club sailout for all of us newbie sailors.  Boca Ciega Yacht Club members volunteered their boats and their time to take out the students from the class to experience sailing some larger boats.   I had the pleasure of joining a super sweet couple, John and Cindy, on their 26' something or other (that's my good memory kicking in again).  It's funny how big a 26' boat feels after you've been sailing on 16.5' Catalinas.  It felt even bigger given how tight the marina had the under 28' docks laid out.   I had no idea how we were going to get the boat out, but John got us out with no problems.   Experience makes things look so much better!

So out we headed into the "immense" Boca Ciega Bay.

Everything was so new to me - the wheel (small boats have tillers :) ), the space in the cockpit, a decent sized cabin (in my mind), the instrumentation (GPS, speed, depth indicators).  It was like rolling out in a  luxury car for the first time.  I know I'm getting plenty of chuckles out there from the experienced sailors out there.  But for somebody brand new to sailing and being on boats it's pretty cool.

Our iron sail (although it's an outboard - so plastic and metal sail? :) ) puttering in the background - or rather foreground - how people use motorboats is beyond me.  Those suckers are loud!  And that's a little 2 stroke engine.  I can't imagine what a full powered outboard sounds like.

Off the engine goes, and the sails go up.  Roller-furling is a wonderful invention!  And then - there was no wind. It's a common them with me, sailboats, and water.  I look at the speed indicator - .7 knots.  We are flying!!  Then I get to take the wheel. I prefer tillers at this point.  It just feels like you get a real sense of the water with a tiller.  The wheel takes a little getting used to for me for some reason.

I change direction, heading closer to the wind a little bit, and tighten up the sails a bit, and we get all the way up to 1.6 knots.  It's terrifying the speed we are getting :)   But then the wind completely dies, and we are just sitting there.   So we sit in the middle of the bay, and watch the sun go down and relax.  Cindy brings out some wine and snacks (is this mandatory equipment on a sailboat? ).  I have to say, being out in the middle of the water, watching the sun go down is one of the most relaxing and tranquil experiences I think I've had.  Pair that with some excellent company, and consider me hooked.

Unfortunately the night had to end, and even though I wanted to drop anchor and spend the night, it seemed rather rude to suggest that when it's not my boat!    So back to the Yacht Club we headed.

John and Cindy made the mistake of telling me to let them know when I wanted to go sailing again.  They may hear from me a lot :)

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