Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sailing through Cowboy Country!

Lets resume after I left the little cove of the big fish… 

The next day the wind was perfect… well perfect direction anyways. I am starting to conclude that it is never possible to have the right amount of wind or the right amount of sail up.  So the day started off with not quite enough wind to make me feel happy, but I was sailing along easily at about three knots.  Not to bad for just sitting there.  I didn’t even hope for more wind. REALLY I didn't!!  I am now super happy with a three-knot-all-day day! 

Slowly though, it started blowing harder and harder.  

The way the progression usually works is you start off in the morning with just enough breaths of air that you can tell which direction it is going to blow.  Then by about 9 or so it is blowing hard enough that you are coasting along at about 2.5 knots. Just enough so that you wish it would blow a little more.

Then around 11 O’clock it is perfect!  The wind is blowing you along at a nice steady 5 knots.  Very comfortable.  No strain on anything.  Then after usually only about ten perfect minutes… you realize shit is getting real.  You start hitting 6 knots regularly… sometimes the boat just starts to come up on plane… then settles back in.  The speed is so much fun that you decide to push it a little bit… but you do start to wish that you had some reef points in this sail or maybe you had a smaller non-shredded sail. You start getting bolder and thinking you can handle it! 

Maybe you get bold enough to reply to a text message or something as you are sailing… or take a video.

Just about then you realize you are going way to fast! The wind is blasting you along, and now the waves are up big enough that occasionally your rudder whiffs in the air because the back end of the boat has come out of the water as you crest a wave.  This gets your attention… and you have a little pucker in your ass that you should do something before it gets out of hand!  I mean something besides push the rudder down farther so you can steer through bigger waves.

(I have now learned to heed this little pucker feeling.  If you don’t, suddenly, you will realize you have fucked yourself!)

It is like if you have ever tried to ride a skateboard down a really steep hill.  At first it is fine.  Then you get faster… still OK… then faster… now it’s exciting!  Suddenly you are overcome by the feeling you are going too fast to stop, too fast to turn, and way too fast to jump off! 

Well it is the same in the boat.  You now can’t abandon the tiller to bring down the sail, because it will flop over and bring you broadside to the waves before you  can get it in, and then you have a damn good chance of getting swamped.  You can’t turn into the wind to pull them down for the same reason.  You've now just skate boarded past where you have the talent to handle… like a cold chill down your back, your whole body knows it!  You figure your best bet is to steer well and it should all be fine!  Also, look what great time you are making!

Then you pass the second chill down the back… You can’t stay this lucky for this long and steer this boat this well!  It is madness! At this point, you have no choice, you need to get that sail in!  You get smarter in this situation… and think of releasing the whole sheet tackle!  

NOW you are literally sheets to the wind!  The sail flapping around so angrily!   At least now you aren’t being pulled around and over!  

Your only problem now is to scamper up the length of the boat as it is riding up and down these obnoxiously sized waves to douse the sail and secure it at least well enough that it won’t surprise unfurl and set you sailing again.  This is like if you put a balance beam on a giant trampoline full of fat bullies trying to get you to fall as you practice tying your shoe when your shoe laces are just a little to short! 

Great! Sails are finally in!  Time for some bare pole sailing again!  This seems like a great idea… but then you kind of remember that time of Ft Peck Lake that handed you your ass and think I could be a reasonable person and put into a protected cove about now.  You look at the time and it is only about 1:30 in the afternoon.  Man, it could get a hell of a lot windier out here before evening.  

Pretty much every time now, I make the good decision to put in somewhere and stand on shore and watch the white caps…. thinking I could probably have been fine…

Either way… still uploading!  So there is that! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you are in Fort pierre please call me 605-295-0556. I think I saw your boat at the bad river dock