Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sailing, no need for sails!

Everyone says the wind can come up quick!  Well, it isn’t like I didn’t believe them, but sometimes things get demonstrated to you. 

The night before, we had had a decent headwind most of the day.  Didn’t make it as far as we had wanted.  Ended up staying at a place called “Hole in the Wall”  Obviously, see the pictures.

As we were sitting there, looking at the hole, the wind switched and was blowing the way we were going.  We made some passing comments about how hopefully it would be blowing the same direction tomorrow then went to bed.  

The next morning, it was still blowing with us but kind of light and flooky. After shoving off, we put up the new stay sail that I had made in Great Falls. Again it worked great and we were scooting right along! 

Suddenly!!!!  SNAP! the wind drops then gusts!, the sail snaps taunt… it instantly shreds!  It look like we had ribbons and tissue paper hanging from a banister rail!  We halled it quickly as we could.  Now we had no sails up… and we were still being blown along like we were a galleon running from pirates in a hurricane!   I still don't know what hull speed is on this boat, but we were being blown at over 8 knots with no sails up.  (Don’t let the single digit nature of that number fool you.  it was way way to fast!) The boat is shaped well enough that we had complete control and were still blowing right along where we wanted to be!

After realizing that all we had to do was hold on and steer, and ignore the coming frothing waves of the boiling river around you… it was actually really easy!

We had hoped to make about 30 miles that day and over night at Judith Landing.  By the time we got there, it was barely noon, and the bank was all sharp rocks.  We quickly made the decision to keep going.  This is similar to when you make the decision to not jump out of a moving car on the freeway because you don’t like the song on the radio.  You might not want to be there, but getting off is way worse.  So we kept on “sailing!”  (Sailing is in quotes because we had no sails up, and were mostly just holding on and steering.  It was a lot more like sledding actually.)  As we were slinging past the camp ground there, a crowd of RV campers did come out and ask the two standard questions, “What is that thing?” and “Where you guys going?” At that speed we only had time for one answer! “ST LOUIS!!!!”  Then we were gone.

All in all, we stopped before two in the afternoon when things were getting ridiculous… and had sailed over 40 mile with hardly a stroke rowed at all.  In fact, we passed several camped huddles of canoeists waiting out the wind under their tents as we blew past them like crazy men!  It felt like we were surfing lunch trays down the hall past the principle!  

 Finally Parked...

Old Homestead that we ran across

  You can imagine Wild Bill hanging onto the tiller yelling “WEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeEEEE!”

For the next two days, we had a headwind... thus, a lot of this...


Anonymous said...

What a glorious description. Filled with envy for you and Wild Bill. Sails "shredded"--hope not.
Looks like my comments don't always appear. The joy of being Anonymous.

Notorious said...

Well, shredded is probably the right word unfortunately. I did bring spares though!