Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Docking Video Game!

Can you dock a boat? Try this fun game!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Labor Day -- very belated

November 18th update: Kyun has posted more photos from that day:
(click here)

Several people came sailing with me on Labor Day, enough to keep me on the water at least 8 hours. Atreyi, who was part of the first group and last group, took some great pictures both times, and posted them.

9/16/07 Update: A sailing video from Labor Day!!! As the camera pans counterclockwise, its Pam, John, George, and Lane. Its not overly windy here, but the boat is moving along pretty fast on a broad reach toward the boathouse.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another Double Slog

This one gets the award for succincness. Suscincness. Succinctness. There we go! Red line went away. I can see a very direct link between computers coming into my life and my spelling going down the tubes.

Anyway, I went sailing again. Saturday Ana brought a friend, Shining (that's a short-vowel first syllable, emphasis on second syllable) who has been taking lessons at the sailing center and looking for extra stick-time that doesn't involve going swimming. So that was fun... but I realized I need to come up with a more structured "curriculum".

Sunday I took Lisa, Christine, and Becky. It started out not so good... we paddled away from the docks. It felt like we were trying to paddle through some kind of viscous goo... that was flowing slowly toward shore. The wind was very light, but it seemed like we should have been able to sail a little, if slowly. I theorized that underwater plants were clinging to the centerboard (more than a theory really, they were clinging to the rudder too, and I pulled them off with considerable effort). But before too long the wind picked up and we had quite a blast.

There is still time to request Labor Day sailing. So far there will be Belinda and Xiudan, and whoever else they bring along. This is likely to be my most multicultural sail to date.

Ok, less succinct than I thought. It was originally going to be more like: "Saturday Ana and Shining came sailing and Sunday Lisa, Christine, and Becky came sailing... and now back to my homework for my classes that just started up."

And now, back to my homework for my fall classes that just started up. Will be all done by spring, woohoo!

Laters :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Two More

Been way to busy to post anything but gotta keep up the sailing log in case I ever apply for a captain's license. Sunday was a brief but fun sail with a lot of wind. BethAnn came along... I've been trying to convince her to go for like years now, so that was great. She would have liked a bit less wind though. It was just right for me. :-) Wednesday looked like it was going to be a good teaching day for Ana, with 11mph winds. By the time I got there, it was more like 18, gusting well into the 20's. But I reefed the mail sail and hoisted the jib and went for it... by myself at first. The wind kept getting stronger and stronger until it got to the point where I would have done without the jib too if I was by myself, but then George came along... he's great rail meat, I think over 200lbs, and knows the ropes (when he pays attention). Soon after that Ana came. It is hard to teach in those conditions without risking capsizing, which I'd prefer not to do in my boat. But I think she learned some things to do and a lot of things not to do by observing me. Then when I was just about to call it a day, I got a call from Greg who I had mentioned in a previous post. He was setting up his 12 footer and had his wife with him, who had previous said she didn't want to sail anymore because of how the "last time went". But Greg convinced her to come along and that I could teach him to sail better... but the conditions were pretty hairy... the wind was getting even stronger now and actually broke his boat while he was trying to set it up. So they came with me instead, and I think she actually had a pretty good time. I kept it very short, like 10 minutes, because it was a wild and wet ride, but I think she had a good time and just might do it again.

Any sailing day that helps strengthen a marriage is a good sailing day, I say! Then again, pretty much any sailing day is a good day.

Right at the end, my outhaul suddenly came undone because of all the wind, and nearly ripped the main sail... but... it didn't... so... that's good. :-)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Well, I'm sailing like crazy, making up for lost time I guess! Today Pam and Alyssa came along. Wind was awesome! But I hadn't done my reading yet for our book club on JI Packer's book "Concise Theology"... so I read that while Alyssa sailed after her 10 minute lesson on how to sail. Sailed out for about 2 chapter's worth, and back in for another 2 chapter's worth. Other than that, I'll cut right to the pictures:

The Sandbaggers are in Town!
Paused for Swimming

Two More Sailing Trips!

I'm logging two outings in one post today. Saturday was pretty crazy. I got out of work after a 12 hour shift at 7AM. Did some necessary errands until 9. By then I could see that it was turning into a great sailing day, so started in on building a new rudder. I was originally planning on building something nice, but that takes longer. So I took my skilsaw with its dull blade and hacked out a piece of my marine plywood and roughly copied the pieces of the old rudder. By 11AM I could not stay awake any longer and slept until 2PM. Continued on building the new rudder and by 5:30PM I was sailing, and stayed out until about 9 or 10PM. Passengers were George and Ana. Ana is a grad student at UVM who was googling around last summer trying to find a place to learn how to sail in the Burlington area. In the process, she found my blog and emailed me to ask if I knew of anything affordable. The only place I know about is the Community Sailing Center, which she had already found and was a bit out of her price range. So I said, well, I sail all the time and take people out and teach them to sail, so you could just join us.100_0731 So she did, and probably will again. So that's pretty cool. My first internet "customer"!

Then there was Monday. Started sailing around 2:30 with Pam and Noelle, and when they left I was by myself and met another Christian out on the water (I mean like, sailing in anther boat on the water, not walking on the water), which was neat. Then in the evening Sam, Christine, and Jenny joined in and we sailed until about 9PM. While solo, I took a bunch of pictures. There a few more pictures of us in the boat, but I have to get them from Sam before I can post them here.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Finally made it!

Its been a crazy year! New house, school, organ-playing, organ-fixing, ministry stuff, and other "responsible" type things have prevented me from getting out in the sailboat.

Until now! I got a whiff of the waterfront for the July 3 fireworks and so, even though I really still did not have the time to do so, just had to go sailing on July 4, and did.

What a wind! About 20 miles per hour, gusting into the high 20's, so I reefed the mainsail and stowed the jib and single-handed without a hitch over to the boathouse (making one of my finest single-handed, high wind landings yet if I do say so) to pick up Becky. The plan was to then sail over to North Beach to pick up Noelle and possibly Sarah. Tried and failed to coerce George and Paul C into it.

Well, with a south wind we headed west from the boathouse, and about halfway to the breakwater, I heard a bang and the tiller went limp... I looked back and the rudder had come disconnected! I leaned over to try to hitch it back up and saw that the plywood that holds it all together had disintigrated where the lower hinge attaches. Meanwhile the boat is zigzagging all over the place as I try to regain control. Becky really kept her cool! We were on a port beam reach with a south wind headed for the breakwater, a heading we obviously did not want to remain on for very long (breakwaters break boats too). It took about 5 tries, but with Becky's help on the sail with me barking out instructions as best I could we got it to come about (its hard enough to come about from beam reach to beam reach in high winds WITH steering). I was holding the bottom of the rudder with one hand and the tiller with the other and had just enough steering to vaguely point the boat in an easterly direction, with quite a bit of zig-zagging. Good thing we had the wind from the side, if we had to climb upwind I'm not sure I could have held a heading. I suppose that would have been unlikely, we don't have an east wind very often.

My plan at first was to run it up on the beach, fully knowing that that would likely destroy the boat, as well as be fairly humiliating, but at least it would be safe for us. But the speed kept getting faster and faster and I started to realize that suddenly going from 8 knots to zero might not be so healthy for us either. With the beach maybe 20 yards away I began trying to instruct Becky on how to drop the sail, which in retrospect is what I should have planned on to begin with, once we crossed the channel. She did manage to get as far as uncleating the halyard, which allowed me to run forward and yank it down. Now we were without sail upwind of the docks, and were able to just coast in and all was well. If we hadn't been able to drop the sail in time, my backup plan was to dump the boat somehow and bail out, probably by pulling the sheet in tight.

So... that was exciting! Were we in serious danger? It sort of seemed so at the time, but we both had life jackets on as everyone should when sailing in a small boat in high winds, and the water temperature was in the 60's and we were not far from land. We were in danger of ending up in the water, but that's about all. I was certainly in danger of wrecking the boat, as well as our digital cameras and phones and whatever else we had with us. At least one of the historic shipwrecks at the bottom of Lake Champlain, the General Butler, is attributed to broken steering gear in high winds. But I must say it was a pretty good feeling to have all that happen and coast relatively calmly back to the dock! I'd even say it was fun! A real adrenaline rush, that's for sure.

So... now what? This boat is on its last legs and will be replaced soon anyway. The thought of replacing it now has crossed my mind and in fact I've contacted a couple of sellers from Craigslist about boats for sale in the 16' daysailer category. We'll see. I can fabricate a new rudder using new plywood and the old hardware and most likely will, and perhaps run the boat for the remainder of the season. Will keep you posted! Meanwhile, I'm grounded until the yoot retreat is over, at least. One way or another, whether in a "new" (to me) boat, or in a repaired Tanzer, I will sail on for the rest of the summer.

Pictures? Well, when all that happens you're not really thinking "oh, we've got to get a picture of this!". :-P Just have these two "before" pictures:

Its a beautiful thing! A classic Saab pulling a classic sailboat to a historic waterfront on a windy day!

Horizontal flags are always a good sign if you want to sail: