Monday, September 22, 2008

An Impromtu Sail

I keep all the essentials on the boat now... foulies, gloves, radio... beer... just in case the opportunity should arise and I actually get to go sailing. I headed down to the boat yesterday to tidy up a bit, I had just thrown everything down below after the last race and didn't really care where things landed. But I do like a tidy boat and it was starting to bug me that I have left things in such a shamble. As I entered the harbor area I watched Peter and Suzi raise their sails and head out for a sail. I raced down to my gate and got out of the car and noticed 3 other folkboats out sailing... did I miss the memo? Was there an event or race I was about to miss? I stood on my stern and Peter and Parker cruised by, Peter gave a pleasant hello and no, they were just out for a sail... imagine that, sailing for fun. Just sailing, no racing? Hmmm. As I stood there thinking about this novel concept I notices a nice 10 knot breeze with a lot of south in it. Should I? By myself? Single handed race is coming up... oh, the heck with it, I'm going. I started my stop watch and began the set up process. Halyards in position, sails on position, untie the tiller, uncoil the mainsheet, ease all the control lines, remove the fenders... etc. I have the best slip in the world for single handing. I can tie off the bow head to wind, put up the sails, back wind the jib and spin 180 degrees without even going back into the cockpit. So I did. I took off without too much thought and it only took me 14 minutes from thought to departure. As I turned the corner at the wave organ I had already set the jib. I pulled in the main sheet and balanced the helm. I didn't check the tide book, but it was obviously flooding. Perfect day for a one tack beat up to the Golden Gate Bridge. The current will make it take a while and I won't even get the rail wet, smooth water, steady breeze and wait, what's this... a beer in the cup holder right under my bum? Outstanding. Where are those Latitude 38 photographers when you want them?
I made it under the bridge, closer to the north tower than I usually make it under similar conditions, but I did take sick pleasure in out pointing some random Ericson cruiser... they dropped below me and then tacked away. I bore off and headed toward Sausalito and saw US 65 Kirsten and Bob Grigsby out for a sail. I tacked and sailed a parallel course reaching back toward the city front, jibed at the rocks and back out toward Alcatraz. On the way to my usual terrorizing of the swimmers in Aquatic Park I saw US 56 with Rich Haslacher and Mark Schlicter. They asked me where my crew was... not today, it was solo day. The wind started pipping up to 20 mph, but it was still very manageable as I headed into Aquatic Park. Just before I entered I saw another Folkboat beating to weather from Alcatraz, but thought it was a red hull, might be Chris Herrmann? If it was him, I'm sure he'll have seen me and follow me into the cove. Well, he followed me in the cove, but it wasn't Chris. I think it was Mike Reinath in US 72, Don Wilson's old boat. Looking good, I might add, as we duelled around and did 3 or 4 laps... got me to thinking how much fun it would be to hold a Folkboat Match race regatta in the Aquatic Park... I'm sure the swimmers would love this. Left the Park and headed back to the marina. Just as I was about to tack for the end of the wave organ I heard this snapping noise... nothing like the sound of a mast coming down and I see this seagull fluttering away then regain his flying composure... stupid dumb rat with wings snapped my weather vane on top of the mast! Every year I break one of those things... Svendsen should carry them in 6 packs. It was probably the same bird who had a gastrointestinal nightmare on my deck earlier that day. Nasty big ol' bird poop all over the deck. Took a while to scrub that off. As I head into the harbor I sail into a flock of Optimus (or should it be Optimi?) from the jr sailing program at the St. Francis. As I weave through the heard, I notice two of them following me. I dock the boat and bring her into the slip and look up and it's Mots! Richard Keldsen's son has really got a handle on that little boat. He cruised right up to the dock and asked me what I was doing. How cool is that? He reached back and forth a few times and showed off his tacking skills for a while then took off with his friend on another boat. I put the boat away, rolled up the main (which has always been the hardest thing to do by myself) and jib, washed her down, checked everything over and walked away knowing I only need a couple of hours to go for a quick sail and really enjoy myself... wouldn't be so easy in any other boat of 25 feet. The Folkboat really is a user friends craft, especially on the bay and even by yourself. Even though summer is officially over today, take a day or an afternoon soon and go sailing. It's still ok to play hookie once in a while and winter is coming... I had really good dreams last night... even with the stupid seagull snapping the weather vane. Try it, you don't have to always race you know.


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