Saturday, September 16, 2006


Went down Major Metropolitan Area last night for a brief visit to Turboparents. Picked up Turbomom at the MMA Airport, which was bustling beyond belief at 12:30 am. Really made me appreciate the Smallish City "International" Airport, which operates on a more human scale.

Returned today to find glorious return-of-summer weather in the Smallish State. No one was free to go sail, but clearly that's what had to be done. So I went out alone. I think this may be the first time I've completely singlehanded a keelboat. Hoisting sails was a bit of a trick, but I got all three up. Sandra Lee cantered genteely out of the anchorage close-hauled in the late afternoon sun, just as a cadre of much faster boats were completing a yacht-club race and running under spinnakers back to their moorings. They were of similar length but had crews of five or more; I felt slightly superior to be operating solo. Racers have always puzzled me. So much emphasis on going fast, but so little emphasis on going anywhere. And when the race is over, it's back to the yacht club-- gorgeous sunset sailing forgone. Also due to the racing there was a great deal of cannon-firing, which I find startling and out of keeping with the tranquility of the sea, sun, and wind.

I tacked back and forth, practicing different ways of holding the wheel, sheets, and winch handles all at once, imagining how it would be to do the same in heavy weather. I practiced heaving-to, which is a method of backing the sails against each other so that the boat comes to a near-stop and you can go below to get a cookie. I tried halfheartedly to fix a few of the remaining boat problems, but got nowhere. At sunset the wind died and I started the engine, admiring how it stays the right temperature since I replaced the heat exchanger. I glanced out the sound, past a half-dozen islands, to the open ocean, and ached to aim that way. But I had only a half-box of Cheerios and two packets of ramen aboard. That's not enough for a week-long passage to Bermuda. I rowed the dinghy to the dock and had a beer back in the city.

P.S. If anyone knows anything about heaving-to a boat with a self-tacking stays'l, please comment.


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