Unfurling the sails

on March 4, 2017
Puget Sound

The weather and wind was finally fair enough on a weekend day that Peter, Jim, and I could go out on CDS!

Before meeting Jim at the marina, Peter and I stopped at West Marine to get some boat shoes. I swear the salesmen (for they are all men) outnumber the customers at that store, and each and every one asked if he could help me find something. I feel out of place shopping there, browsing among the second anchors and foul weather jackets. We left with with two pairs of Sperrys, a Helly Hansen jacket, socks, and a Yeti cooler that was “on sale”. I’ve always liked Sperry boat shoes, but they remind me of the people I saw when I met a friend for lunch near Hunter college in New York’s Upper East Side a few years ago. People in that part of town, in the part of the US, took preppy fashion real seriously.

Peter and I also stopped at Whole Foods across the street and got a baguette, jambon, Swiss cheese, butter, and arugula for sandwiches. We up to the marina with our new shoes on, a backpack of extra layers, and the bag of food.

Soon enough, Jim was motoring CDS a ways outside the marina. He pointed the boat upwind and Peter hoisted the mainsail, and shortly after I used the lines to unfurl the jib. And there we were – sailing!

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The wind was gentle and we moved slowly through the water. Yet, there is something curious and amazing about a wind powered thing, no matter how fast you are going. Each of us took turns at the helm. At a distance, I could see a rainbow of spinnakers off of Bainbridge Island for a weekend race.

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At one point, a curious harbor seal with big, shiny black eyes surfaced near us a few times. It got bored quickly and moved on. I’m sure it’s seen more than it’s fair share of sailboats. A barge and a few tugboats passed by, too.

The light wind petered out after a while, so we played with motoring the boat. Peter tried to practice the protocol for docking the boat, and I steered us to do a donut in the water. Jim docked the boat, what I’ve learned can be a pretty difficult maneuver because you obviously don’t want to crash into the dock. Scotch was served when CDS was safely back in her berth.

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Seattle, bring me a nice breeze and a bit less rain, and I’ll be out there!

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Things I learned:

  • How to tell if my heading and speed will collide with another boat’s heading and speed: close one eye, with the other eye look past a stationary object on your boat at the boat coming towards you; if you can see the other boat just beyond the stationary object for several seconds, you will eventually collide. In geometric terms, if the angle of the hypotenuse stays the same, you’re going to collide.
  • I need to get out of the way when changes are being made to the sails and I’m not making them. How exactly to stay out of the way…to be determined.
  • Wear sunscreen, even when it’s early March and overcast.
  • French ham and cheese sandwiches are GOOD. Quality any type of the jambon will make or break the sandwich though.
  • Docking the boat is hard.
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