05 May 2012

when the waves get rough

This past weekend, we took Harriette out for the first Nate & Scott combo sail, with Lacey and I in tow. It was the funnest sail I have been on and definitely an experience I won't forget. Here is the story from Captain Scott himself:

i like the sound of captian scott. erika and i have tried to figure out a good post for me to contribute to on this blog. nothing seems more fitting than writing about almost sinking our boat.

the truth is that we had the best sail of our lives. our glorious voyage reached its pinnacle with lacey buried under the collapsing mainsail, erika diving under the swinging boom, nate soaking wet as he furiously working at the tangled rigging, and me blankly holding the broken shards of our newly finished tiller while watching as we and the boat furiously turned circles between two rocky banks. 

the whole story began two weeks previous in my mom's garage with nate and i scratching our scruff and mulling over our broken tiller (the devise used to steer the sailboat). we needed it to sail, but in last years final epic sail, we had cracked it and sailing had to wait for the tiller's repair. after two weeks, hours of work, and several trips to lowes, home depot, a few different specialty shops, we had a fresh and perfectly restored tiller ready for sailing.

with the eagerness of robust and land-bound sailors, we launched the very next day, a cold grey saturday. we thought that owing to the scant wind, we wouldn't be very cold sitting in the sun, but just incase both nate and i showed up with our waterproof sailing jackets. within 100 yards of the dock, the wind was already double the forecast and our boat was gaining speed.

leaving the harbor was when i realized we were entering perfect sailing conditions. dozens of sailboats skimmed the grey lake, and just as we broke the harbor wind blind, we lurched ahead at double our speed. our 1962 lido 14 creaked and groaned in the heaping wind, but the old boat held and we kept gaining tremendous speed. my grisled beard, now a full 1/32 of an inch, billowed furiously in the wind, beading off the water from the waves that broke first over the heaving bow and then over nate who sat up front. the boat pitched and surged against the weight of our four bodies that extended over the water. all four and a half of us (lacey is with child) held onto rigging and extended out as fully as possible to keep the boat from giving in to the cold wind and capsizing into the sea. every tack was expert with each salty crewman throwing his or her weight to the other side of the boat in unison, quickly to arch their backs over the water again. we sailed a perfect sail until we lost track of the harbor.

we set the wind at our backs to return once we were finally satisfied and cold. but as we did, we noticed that all the other larger sailboats had already left, and the wind had grown more unpredictable. just as we neared the harbor and passed between the two rocky banks that mark the entrance, the wind redoubled and the freshly remade tiller shattered between my hands. before anybody else knew that the means for steering our small boat were gone, i screamed for everyone get down. nate's reaction was instant, and he undid the ropes holding the mainsail. erika and lacey went flat to dodge the swinging boom and lacey was covered by the sail. the rudder was pushed against the transom and the boat swung in a complete 360 degrees in less than 5 seconds. once the sail was at half mast and we uncovered lacey, i steered the rudder with my hands in the water and laughed as the four of us limped the boat back to the dock. it was an amazing sail.

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