Wednesday, during the ‘race’, the wind was light and what wind I had was wisely and tactically taken by a competitor. Lifeline came to a halt on the water. No breeze, 100 degree heat index, wrapped tightly in a nylon and poly lifejacket (safety measure for single-handed sailing), and I went mad! I hove to, tied a line off to a cleat, held onto the other end and went over the side. The water was 88 degrees. It didn’t do much, but it did enough to clear my head. Back in the boat…last in fleet, last in class…the misery didn’t end.
Tonight? 86 degrees and humidity down in the 50-60 % area. The sun was mostly out but the heat of the day was past as it settled toward the horizon. One lone, large cloud drifted across it for thirty minutes, throwing a shadow on part of the lake but not diminishing light elsewhere. There were plenty of other boats on the water, most under power rather than flying canvass. As the wind was 0-3, light and variable it would take a lot of patience to tend sails and keep them full.
Tonight I sailed upwind to make the ramps and haul Lifeline out of the water for some maintenance. The wind came in ‘waves’ as it were. In the cooler air I could sit back and watch down the lake. Cats’ paws (with a nod to Baileyboatcat) rolled down toward me, filled the sails, and Lifeline would make a knot-and-a-half. That meant it was enough to do make a decent turn and I’d sail the boat upwind on the opposite tack. The wind would die off and I looked for the next available breath of air. Up the lake it took me an hour to go two miles.
I loved it. There weren’t so many power boats but there were enough that I was still a bobber when the wind dissipated. I didn’t care. The air was fresh and the temperature wonderful. The water was still 88 degrees. I didn’t care. It swept past the rudder and I could steer well enough. The wind dropped off. No one behind me to ‘steal’ it. I didn’t care. I looked for the next puff, adjusted the rudder, filled the sails, and picked up speed. Over and over for an hour and a half I enjoyed working with the wind to move Lifeline across the surface.
The sun was drawn to the horizon. Boats were stacking up at the ramps. It was time to furl the canvass and start the motor, and mix it up with the power boats. Lifeline easily glided alongside the courtesy dock and I stepped off and tied her up. It was a fitting finish to a warm summer evening’s sail. Thanks Lifeline…