Friday, February 27, 2015

A Little Sailing Story

Guana Cay, Exumas
February 16

It must have been the castle. The turreted house we anchored by enchanted us into thinking we could write our own small tale of conquest.
Castle in Little Bay, Guana Cay
Keith likes a fun challenge, and for a long time he’s aspired to a day of sailing without turning on the engine. That’s a fairly rare occurrence with a boat our size. For one thing, there’s the weight of the anchor and chain—about 200 pounds—to be hauled up manually. Our boat is equipped with a power windlass that we use while anchoring (engine running) to handle that weight, feeding out and hauling in the anchor.

Once on Lake Superior, we tried this, but alas, while sailing toward the next anchorage, the wind died to nothing and forced us to start the engine.

This day, the breezes blew just right. No other boat lay in our way. Keith raised the mainsail and told me he’d take care of everything. While hauling in anchor chain, the wind picked up and he yelled, “Don’t let her sail!” Huh? “Let out some main sheet!” Okay. “Now pull it in!” What? “Keep it luffing!” It was a learning curve for both of us, but fun as we got the hang of it.

Wing and wing with whisker pole
Underway, we were sailing directly downwind and deployed our new whisker pole for only a second time—the first was a definite learning experience! We sailed wing and wing, the genoa (foresail) out to port, the main to starboard. Flat, smooth sailing, that’s what I aspire to!

Checking out the anchor
We tacked back and forth to get into our anchorage at White Point. I normally handle the anchor (with the power windlass) while Keith stays at the helm. This time we talked strategy and switched positions. Keith went forward to manually anchor. I was to steer upwind and let the sail luff as soon as he dropped the anchor. Thinking he was still preparing, unable to see what he was doing, I didn’t realize he’d let the anchor go until 100 feet of chain flew out. Yikes! I quickly steered and released the sheet and we settled back on the anchor with only the sound of the wind. Whew!

Happily ever after
So we conquered the challenge of sailing from anchor to anchor, just one small paragraph in our story. And everyone lived happily that night in the lee of a crescent beach.
The end.
Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.
Hans Christian Andersen

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