Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gone Sailing - August 07

I finally, FINALLY, got a chance to go sailing! Mike and I went out for an afternoon with our friends Harry and Frances on their Gulfstar 47 and it was divine. Mike and Harry spent most of the cruise fine tuning the rigging, fiddling with the instruments and otherwise immersing themselves in the technical stuff while Frances and I stood on deck and enjoyed the sail and good conversation. It was a wonderful afternoon.

On our way out, we encountered a storm, of course, but even that was enjoyable. There’s something about watching a storm roll toward you over the water that’s invigorating. And a first for me in that I wasn’t drenched to the skin because when the rain began, we simply went into the partially enclosed pilothouse and stayed dry! Although I’ve never cared much for the way a pilothouse looks on a sailboat, I have to say it was much more comfortable than simply hunkering under the dodger.

We motored a good ways out before hoisting the sails but when we finally did it was heaven. Standing on deck with only the sounds of the wind and water, feeling the boat pull ahead as the sails were trimmed properly, the breeze in my face…it was beyond words for me. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a school of dolphin (porpoise, not Mahi) joined us, leaping and diving in our bow wake.

After the sail we sat with our friends for a cocktail and discussed their plans to sail offshore up the coast to New England and Frances showed me all she’d done to the cabin to make it their home. Varnish work was everywhere and she did it all. She’d modified many of the lockers, galley cabinets, and even access to the bilge, all to be more efficient and user friendly. So many improvements at the hands of this grandmother; she is truly inspiring!

Eventually the day came to an end and we returned home. It was a difficult evening for me. The chance to go sailing again after so many months was bittersweet. It was less difficult to push sailing out of my mind when I was so occupied with a new job, new house, new life and had little time to miss it. But lately schedules have leveled off, we’ve settled into routines that allow us more free time, and I’ve grown wistful to be out there. Still, after so many months, I’d almost forgotten the feeling of being out on the water under sail and that day was a heart wrenching reminder of what I was missing. Ironically, this was the same week our sailboat, which we affectionately called “The Beast” sold. We agonized over the decision for months and finally decided that bringing it down here from Georgia wouldn’t be practical. Re-experiencing the joy I feel while sailing, coming on the heals of realizing that we’re actually without a sailboat was a horrible feeling. I wasn’t pleasant to be around that night.

And so our search for our next boat has kicked into full gear. Overdrive mode, really. I’ve had several leads from readers (thank you!) on boats for sail and we’ve gone to look at several that meet our needs. We need something in the mid-thirty to mid-forty foot range, a well laid out cabin, an adequate number of sails, a trustworthy rig, stable hull, the list goes on. The thing is I’m so desperate for a boat I would have just written a check for nearly every single one we’ve looked at, regardless of the state it was in. Mike has been the voice of sanity and reason and in my more rational moods I’m thankful for this. In my less rational moods I blame him for selling The Beast and threaten to buy the next boat we look at, even if we have to have it towed to our dock! But we’ll find the boat for us eventually and we’ll get out there on the water and once again feel the wind in the sails. In the meantime, we’re very grateful for Harry and Frances and other sailors who’ve been so willing to let us get our sailing fix. Thank you.

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