Friday, October 06, 2006

The learning curve.

Okay - I've been obsessing about sailing for just about a year now. The last time I owned a sailboat was more than 25 years ago. Last October a friend called with a tip about a boat being auctioned on Ebay - it was in Cape May and slated for destruction if not moved/sold. I got the boat and over the course of the year it has displaced just about everything that previously held my interest. Especially work. Learning about sailboats in general is now beginning to give way to learning about sailing, and I'm looking up the slope of a steep learning curve. I took the boat out single-handed a couple of weeks ago. It was just the second time out under sail. The first was with my friend Milt, who is my primary source for sailboat wisdom. My solo trip was under mainsail alone - not confident enough to try my hand at jib and main. It went well enough until the end. My docking technique continues to evolve, but that evening I ended up in the harbor when I found myself unable to stretch between a boat drifting backwards and the piling I was holding onto. Major Lesson 3A is about having your cell phone in your pocket when you fall into the harbor. (Hint: don't)
Ahh, the expensive lessons that pile up at the bottom of the learning curve. The fifth and most recent trip on the boat was when I took my sister, brother-in-law and nephew out for a couple of hours on the bay.

That sail was fun, though uneventful. Learned about the speed of the current that accompanies the falling tide (fast!) and also that 5 - 10 knots of wind is a bare minimum for the Westwind.
My friends Bob and Anna tell me "The wind and waves favor the skilled sailor" - I'm working on that 'skilled' part, my friends. Still got a ways to go.


W. Sistare said...


I am filled with envy. As I spend my summer paddling my kayak on the Farmington River here in Connecticut, you are harnessing the free wind and enjoying every minute (almost).

Lem's friend, Bill

Tina said...

It was such a fun sail! And hardly uneventful - I heard that at least one person's heart was in their throat when we were trying to get out of the way of the oncoming ferry.

You are smart and coordinated and a fast learner (did I meniton damn good-looking too? Just look a the Sailing Magazine cover shot in your latest post) and you have the makings of a fine sailor. Can't wait 'til our next sailing adventure with you!