|SAILING LOGS :: EQUIPMENT AND STORAGE :: MISCELLANY|
Today was one of those great, relaxing sails--no tension, no pressure. Just pure pleasure. I went out to the boat on a cloudy morning to do a few things. The forecast was iffy, there was no wind, and I really didn't expect to go for a sail.
After an hour or two, however, the sun began to peek through the clouds, and before long it was mostly sunny--and warm! Understand that for much of the last couple weeks we've been stuck in this system that, while producing some sun in the mornings, spurned on the development of daily showers, instability clouds, and thunderstorms--as well as fog on many mornings and cool temperatures. This pattern was getting old, and was not particularly conducive to great sailing. Therefore, the prospect of a gorgeous, sunny, classic summer afternoon with a gentle breeze was a real treat.
Not about to let this opportunity slide, I prepared to go for a sail. The wind filled in just enough to allow sailing--perhaps 3-5 knots. I figured it would probably build a little, maybe to 10 knots or so. My kind of sailing! I raised the main, and sailed away from the mooring. As I neared the end of the moored boats, I unrolled the genoa, and started off on what was to become a near-perfect sail.
The beauty of sails like this is that it doesn't matter if you get anywhere--it's all about the relaxation, and the quiet, and the soft movement of the boat through the water. There was enough wind to make it fun--I wasn't drifting or slatting--but not so much as to substantially heel the boat, or increase the pressure on the sheets. Each tack was a ghosting through the water at between 2 and 3 knots of boatspeed. I soaked up the sun and the sights.
I never get tired of the scenery in our part of the bay, much as I like to go elsewhere. I always enjoy sailing along the shore and looking at some of the huge houses there, before tacking away and heading out towards Clapboard Island with its barely visible mansion.
The bay is sheltered by rows of islands, so there's never a swell. The water is deep, and there are few hazards. I almost had the whole area to myself, sharing it with only a few other sailboats and the inevitable lobster boats.
Even though we're close to Portland, you never feel any of the effects of the city bearing down on you. We avoid sailing into the inner harbor, as the traffic can be pretty hectic, with ferry boats, lobster boats, trawlers and all the small runabouts from Portland buzzing about. Our general sailing area is several miles away, and the only signs of the city are a couple lonely apartment buildings on Munjoy Hill. Why, even the hideous, rusty old drydock that used to "grace" the skyline is gone, cleverly sold to the unknowing saps in Croatia. I wonder if it came with a warranty?
After a couple wonderful hours, it became apparent that the puffy clouds in the western sky were becoming a little more organized, and starting to darken. Before long, it was obvious that rain was falling somewhere to the north--and the clouds were heading my way. I was already heading back to the mooring, so I enjoyed the last bit of my sail--downwind, of course (I always try to start out by heading upwind, so that I may enjoy the last part of my sail on a relaxing reach)--and marveled at the contract between the scenery at the bow and stern of the boat.
About this time, Heidi called me on the phone to tell me that it was raining at home, and wondering how wet I was. Was that a slight note of glee I heard in her voice? (She was working from home this day...) I had to tell her that I was still enjoying the sun--for the time being, at least!
Looking forward, towards the mooring field, the weather appeared quite dramatic! Note, however, that the boat is still completely bathed in sunshine.
But, at the same time, looking astern could hardly have provided a different view! I was tottering on the line between a change in the weather.
I made it back to the mooring under the threatening skies, and, just as I was coiling the last line after making everything shipshape, the first raindrops fell. I retreated to the cabin and waited while the brief shower passed.