Wednesday evening I was sailing with the racing fleet, because I could as well as to let them know I was still about the marina. The extended winter and the lateness of getting Lifeline on the water, as well as focusing on graduate school kept me out of the Spring Red Cup series of racing. This is my social group, though, and I missed my shipmates. I wanted to be on the water with the fleet.
This next night, Thursday, is for the broader community, though, and for my shipmate Vicki who is managing our Learn-to-Sail program this year. I did the same two years back. Supporting the LTS Chair is important to Alum Creek Sailing’s association goal of promoting the sport. It’s a good excuse to get down to the marina and onto the water, too, as if I need one of those!
There are thirty new participants in this, the second program of the season. Vicki needs ten skippers and boats. We provide her with eleven, and that leaves me without anyone to take aboard when they are all spread out across the teams’ vessels. I’m single-handing, again. (maybe I have an off-putting aura?)
The other skippers have some teaching to do but I just have myself. The wind is light. The flags on the mast up the hill are wafting lightly. There is no breeze in the marina. My gas tank is back home in the garage, waiting for me to fill it. Lifeline is in her slip, in a ‘crook’ of the docks, by design. I’m not sailing out. I’m not motoring out. Looks like I’m sculling her out to the channel.
Sculling? That’s rocking the boat side to side, letting the shape of the hull and the weight of the keel move the boat forward. It is a small boat technique and Lifeline is just on the upper cusp of being a small boat at twenty-two feet long and two-thousand pounds. At two-forty myself, I constitute ten-per-cent of Lifeline’s displacement and that is plenty of weight to rock her from side-to-side. It takes me ten minutes to go the hundred yards to the channel.
There’s a westerly blowing this evening and the line of trees along the channel draw in plenty of draft from it. I immediately raise both sails at the end of the docks and I’m being pulled along directly. The speed tack reads half-a-knot. It’s a nice, gentle pull. The other skippers with their charges are motoring out and the lessons begin as to the right-of-way of sail over power is raised to their crews. Some motor ahead, others are still coming from behind, others are already to be seen on the water, mainsails up and drawing. All are heading north up the lake.
The wind is gentle and steady. I come to port. Turning left the sails fill. The breeze is strong enough to keep the sails full and the sails are so balanced tonight I can take my hand off the tiller and ride. Picking up my cell phone I have the chance now to take some photos of the activity this evening.
The sun was setting and a couple of the boats turned back south toward the dam and the inlet. I kept Lifeline pointed north with a couple others. There was something to be seen or done yet this evening and I wanted to know what it was. Onward we road the wind.
Day was done. Gone the sun, from the lake(s), from the hills, from the sky. All was well. Safely rest. God is One.
All the other boats were at the south end of the lake. Ralph had La Vita heading back past Lifeline, leaving her and I the sole traversers near the causeway. We came about and waited….
I stayed out late. It was the first day of my vacation and I had no reason to go back in a hurry. A couple hours later, Lifeline and I were still sailing with the moon as our companion.