Sailing Bliss…or is it…

We both love to sail.  Well, maybe what I SHOULD say is that we both love being on the water.

What we don’t love is:

  • Not sailing cuz there’s no wind
  • Sailing when its blasting 25 knots
  • Not enough hands to help with the work (or not having a boat with the best equipment)
  • Engine is placed on the wrong side of the rudder
  • Me, being a scaredy-cat

No wind means either you sit floating waiting for the wind to show up (becalmed) or you start the motor.  OK, starting the motor means you give up.  So let’s wait a little bit longer for the wind, LOOK, that boat over there is starting to move, so we will, too, yes, we will, too…just waiting for the wind, just waiting…damn, just start the stupid engine.

Blasting 25 knots?  You need to reef the sails (shorten them, making less surface for the wind to catch) or you take them down completely.  There’s also the ‘me being a scaredy-cat’ inserted here.

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Its nasty waves, bashing against the boat – it’s a good little boat, though.  Too much wind on the sails and it naturally turns into the wind a little bit, like a safety feature!  The problem is more than you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing, either steering or manning the lines, and it gets hard on the feet and knees to be balancing while heeling all the time.

When only 2 of us are handling the boat, it can be really tiring.  The lines have to be pulled in and let out and tightened and let out and pulled in and tightened and the main has to be pulled in and let out and tightened and the traveler has all those things to be done to it, too.  I couldn’t find my sailing gloves so I was using my motorcycle gloves.  Can’t possibly pull on those lines all the time with my bare hands, I felt like the skin was being ripped off.  Plus, here’s another little complaint, while pulling on those lines I have to brace myself on my knees, the nerves of which were damaged in a car accident (not our fault) so that was painful, really painful if I didn’t do it right.

Then there’s the time I destroyed the steering, cuz I’m a dope.

We were sailing with Rick’s parents, his brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Ingrid and nephew James.  I can’t remember what we were trying to do, oh yes, it had gotten very windy so Rick and his bro (who is good on a sailboat) were on the deck of the boat (and I had my heart in my throat because of the wind chop), trying to take down the sails so we could stop in at Angel Island for lunch.

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Info re Angel Island here

Its a great place to visit!

Anyway…I’m at the helm, idiot that I am, I forget to give the boat a little more throttle so to keep it headed into the wind so they can get the sails down.  I’m struggling with the wheel and feel it ‘pop’ and lo, and behold, no steering!  Oh, yay.  Again, no steering.

I had pushed it too far and the blankety-blank cable had popped off the sprocket again!  Criminy.

Now we are in a little harbor at Angel Island with no steering.  But this time, we had the emergency rudder right at hand!!!  See, we DO learn from our (I mean my) mistakes!  My hubby slaps it on and we wander over to the 10 minute dock at the marina and decide we don’t care, we are having lunch and we’ll deal with it all afterwards.

Now, lunch is over and we are trying to figure out what to do, we are a couple hours out from our home marina and the wind is crazyCRAZY and we have to use the emergency tiller.

Rick decides it would be better to motor home than to try to sail using the emergency tiller.

The chop is so bad we are very glad we aren’t sailing.  Yet it’s not so bad that some racing kayakers aren’t out in it.  I can’t believe they are so far from shore in this weather.   They’re pretty spread out but, naturally, it seems we are on a course to hit one.  Weird how that works, all this space and we have to avoid the kayaks.

Fortunately, the way into the marina is via a long, very sheltered estuary and we have all recovered enough from our ordeal to set our sights on dinner at a restaurant in the Jack London Square on the Oakland waterfront.  A lovely end to our adventure.  Jack London Square info

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By the way, we figured out how to fix the blankety-blank problem with the steering cable.

Picture a bicycle gear and chain.  The bicycle chain looks the same along its entirety.

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Pretty cool, actually, turned into a chandelier, right?

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Anyway, the steering chain is similar except it ISN’T the same along its entirety.  So, if you turn the wheel far enough the chain becomes a plain cable which no longer meshes with the sprocket and it slips off.  Stupid design.

So, MacGyver, I mean Rick, put a clamp at each end of the chain where it attached to the cable so it can’t be pulled past the clamp and pop off the sprocket.  Genius, I say, genius!  In the Zombie Apocalypse, this guy is one you want to have around!

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Get your ZA Survival Kits here

Now, I was much more comfortable on the boat, one less stupid mistake for me to make!

Why is the engine in the wrong place and what does that mean?  Ours used to have an inboard but it disappeared long before we bought it.  We could add an inboard for a huge amount of money or add an outboard off the stern of the boat for a lot less money.   Here’s the post on the outboard engine

When the propeller is in front of the rudder, you can steer more easily cuz the water is being pushed into the rudder, then the rudder gives it direction.  When the propeller is behind the rudder, you get less effective steerage.  You are aiming the rudder and then pushing the water with the propeller.  The rudder doesn’t have a lot to work with.  Rick got used to it but it meant getting into our dock slip was a bit more of a challenge.

Why am I such a scaredy-cat?  Well, you can easily die within 15 minutes if you go overboard into the San Francisco Bay.  It’s that cold!  June temp is an average of 52.8 degrees F (11.5 degrees C) .  I don’t want anyone up on the deck for any reason and on a sailboat, that’s an impossible thing to ask.

Even Rick, the most sensible, calm person, who knew how to handle himself with ease, would go up to the front to raise the jib or the main and I’d be a nervous-nellie – dumb, I know.  I tried not to show it but he figured it out :-\

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Maybe I’m such a baby about it because there is no easy way to retrieve a person who’s fallen in.  Especially when you’re with people who are newbies.  YOU! Throw out the cushion!  YOU, don’t take your eyes off the person, and YOU take the lines!  While I’m going to a beam reach and counting to eight and flipping a U-y and coming back around, aiming for upwind of the person, releasing all the lines and letting the boat drift into them >whew< I don’t mean to insult anyone reading this (particularly those we took out with us) but it’s a big responsibility and I felt that burden – needlessly, it seems, since no one fell in.  I used to rehearse it in my head all the time.

Maybe it would be better if I was sailing in a warm place; you fall in and you love it! file000825896197.jpg Leave me here…come back for me on the return trip 😉

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4 responses to “Sailing Bliss…or is it…

  1. Making good use of my extra hour this Fall Back morning, catching up on your adventures! I am SO surprised to hear YOU of all people is a scaredy cat!🙀 But I am happy to hear you have a healthy dose of fear in you sailing the bay. We sail Lake Tahoe with similar surface temps and it’s no joke, the water will literally take your breath away if you fall in. Our best sailboat owner captain friend, likes to do practice rescues. He’ll toss a lifejacket overboard and we practice going back for it. I keep thinking he will increase the difficulty by announcing a name with the “overboard” and that person can’t assist (heaven help us all if it’s ever him).
    Enjoying your stories and photos!

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