The June full moon was due this night, and she asked to come along. She rarely wants to sail and never at night, and especially not when the air is likely to be cold.
But, she asked!
She also asked to be allowed to take the boat out herself, with me as the ‘safety’ in case something went beyond her comfort level. I agreed. I was pretty excited to have her ASK! I didn’t know how difficult it would be for me…
“I’ll get that” when I reached for a bungee-wrap she dropped from the mainsail.
“I’m doing it this way” as I suggested she ready the mainsail lines at a certain time.
“That’s far enough” as I walked Lifeline down the dock before shoving off the pier.
All in all, I know she has the skills to sail. We sailed around Florida together on a 30′ S2. That was eight years ago this summer, though, and she hasn’t sailed on her own since. Our family’s adventure chronicles* some reasons why…well, maybe why.
“You just set their and enjoy” she said. “I want to learn just by doing”.
“But then, can we do that in the middle of the lake instead of just off the shore?” She took that advice calmly. I was grateful.
The evening was beautiful for sailing. The wind was S clocking to ESE through the three hours we were on the water and blowing 5 – 10kts. The sky was crystal clear except at the horizons. We were waiting for the full moon. I missed the first two this year.
‘Just sit there and enjoy’ echoed in my ears. I folded my arms. I looked forward. I looked aft. I looked to port. I looked to starboard. “This is hard” I thought, “doing nothing on my sailboat”. It took me an hour before I looked at the colors of green changing in the trees, the deep greens and grays in the western shore shadows, the bright color of still new leaves illuminated by the deepening amber and orange of the setting sun. The water’s brown chop was steady from the SE as the wind danced back and forth between the afore-mentioned compass points. Fishermen, in pairs, in their fast-bass boats raced from there to here for no apparent reason other than ‘because they could’.
On board we talked some sailing terms and why I use ‘ready about’ now instead of our ‘prepare to come about’ from the Florida cruise. Why, again, is ‘helms a-lee’ important to say? And both of us noticing that the tiller isn’t bolted quite right on the rudder. Now there’s something that needs to be corrected.
The sun seemed to rest on the cloud bank that looked like a rail across the western sky. It dipped, it dropped, and it was gone. A chill came across her and the effort at the helm strained her a bit. She not-so-reluctantly relinquished the tiller to me. We looked for the moon. She wasn’t quite ready to climb into the night sky yet. We decided to wait.
South to the dam we sailed, then east toward the Galena ramps. Finally, we came about to the west and sailed to the channel for home. Still the moon lagged behind, not showing herself above the haze to the east. No matter. The wind was right for sailing to the slip, right down the channel, into our ‘harbor’, and strong enough to give breathe to fill the sails as we turned past the slips. It would give us enough way on the hull to come about and slip right up to the dock.
We stowed Lifeline snuggly, bidding her wait our next visit and dressing her so as to be complimented by those passing by. We climbed to the top of the hill to the parking lot to find the moon had finally climbed into her place in the night. She was as orange coming up as the sun was in falling down, a color continuity suitable for her June visit to Alum Creek.
Find a map of Alum Creek State Park and the lake as a visual aid to the sailing and wind directions: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/alumcreek
* From Tampa to the Cape – Eight Days Around the Florida Peninsula” is a short story in book form, telling of our 2007 preparations and sailing adventure from the Gulf, through the Keys, and up the East Coast. Print and e-book copies available through iUniverse.com, Barnes&Nobel, and Amazon.com.