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Annapolis YC Race to Solomons, Sept 22, start near Thomas Pt., finish at Patuxent River Entry: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4681 Shearwater SC Cove Pt. Classic Regatta (Race Back), Sept 23, start outside Patuxent River, finish West River G1 Entry: http://shearwatersc.net/
Freak line of summer squalls flip-beached me on an island; umbrella-huddled most of the afternoon lightning all around. Almost made it back to the dock! Helicopters and fire dept. searching for lost kayakers. "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Winston Churchill *** It was probably an omen that I forgot the rudder pins on the kitchen counter back home. I had the mast up and was ready to back down the boat launch when I discovered it. I was twelve types of bummed (really glad no one was around to see me chew myself out.) It’s funny how right when almost all of your brain is kicking the stuffing out of yourself publicly, a tiny corner of the faculties is off hatching a solution. I zoomed to a local Home Depot. An aluminum rod, a drill bit and new cotter pins, a cheap hacksaw. I was in the water in an hour. Even early on there was a bit more wind than I could handle. A beginner knows this when they continue on close-hauled tacks, avoiding any down-wind runs with the drama of jibing. This and my rudders kept popping out (there is nothing so difficult as steering a cat with flat-back rudders.) First note to self: if you raise a sail then your rudders are the only thing between you and death (very deep.) The distant point with the dockside restaurant (I promised to visit someday when I got good at sailing) was thirty feet away before I could manage a tack downwind. Then it was off across the bay. All of my lounge chair scheming came back to me. Internet searches for bigger sails, lighter hulls, hours of youtubes of racers hiking out on one hull. Instead it was like a controlled plummet horizontally across the ocean. Note to self: current sail has no “slow” mode when running downwind. Reconsider. An island was coming fast before me and, wisely, I searched for a sandy spot and improvised a trajectory. At the last minute I pivoted upwind. Note to self: beach cats don’t ‘pivot’. Not mine. You can cajole, you can encourage, you can aspire but pivot is not in the lexicon. The sand was deep and soft and it is not an understatement to record here that I was laughing hysterically. And all at once everything was still and the world was not hell-bent. I think this is the thing about sailing. That moment when it stops - rediscovering the bliss of crawling atop the mighty rock that is land. I laid on the wide trampoline of my beached cat and my heart slowed. I remembered the Amazon eclipse glasses in my shirt pocket and with my head pillowed on a coil of wet rope I caught a glimpse of the crescented sun before a cloud wiped it out. That should have been my cue. Actually, earlier when I was careening across the bay I caught sight of the sailing club being corralled by a sputtering powerboat back to shore. At the time I thought all the whistling was part of a training regimen. Note to self: do whatever the sailing club does. As fast as two moments can be in time I thought “I should head back” immediately before a fat white hair of lightning flashed in the sky behind my home port. I recalled the lengthy story I'd read about the 42 foot cat that pitch-poled off the Oregon coast and how the moral to that story was ‘never attempt to outrun a storm’. So I got my umbrella and my pack from the cat and found a spot down beach. If my 26 foot aluminum lightning rod mast was going to catch some action, I was going to watch and not participate. Digging in my pack I discovered that I’d brought the wrong charging cable for my phone to hook up to the extra battery. My phone was giving me a low battery alert. I checked the radar. I checked a couple of radar image sites. Nope. That thunderstorm wasn’t really there. Not on the map. I was in an alternate universe. Note to self: some weather drops in unannounced. I’ve sat through a thunderstorm outside before. Doing mushrooms in the Berkshires. That afternoon I discovered I had two personal best friends: my $4.99 umbrella and a can of OFF 25% Deet bug spray. The lightening built and built. I counted the seconds between flashes and crashes. Of course, I couldn’t remember the calculation for distance. But then, it didn’t matter since the flash and crash drew together. Then it rained. It poured. The bay exploded in black bullet impacts. Then the deluge really opened up. The bay sizzled like a dangerously hot skillet. I believe I have discovered that there are stages of castaway. First stage: can I escape? Second stage: reasoning with staying put. Third stage: cursing the little drops getting through the umbrella. Fourth stage: laughing hysterically. Fifth stage: exhaustion. Sixth stage: wind. Then came the blow. In the course of about twelve seconds the wind descended and at once my umbrella blew inside-out and I saw my Prindle Catamaran unlike I’d ever seen it. On its side, like an abused toy. I think I was scream-laughing as I wrapped the umbrella, bent spokes and all, around me like a shawl. I found it very useful to repeat ‘though I am sure it won’t, this will pass.’ *** One can become used to anything. I believe this is a fundamental human quality. Imprisonment, beatings, summer thunderstorms. But after the second hour, exhaustion sets in. There was a break, even a shaft of sunlight. I saw far out, scudding quickly to port, a small sailboat. I’d never seen a single hull move that fast. Truly, like a voice outside my head, I heard ‘go now.’ Note to self: do not listen to voices outside one’s head when it pertains to things boaty. I ditched my umbrella and spent can of bug spray (I told them I’d return for them some day.) I beach-righted the cat with superhuman strength and before I was on she was flying. You could have water-skied behind me that day. And then the windward hull lifted and I saw god. And god was not nice. And I heard another voice, truly not from inside my own head ‘you should reef the mainsail.’ Note to self: always listen to voices that encourage you to reef the mainsail. Beachcats do not reef. I don’t think so. I’m really going to look into this. There are no pussy ‘reef points’ on my cat’s sail. So I released the halyard and dragged the mainsail down. First six feet. The boat was still lifting off one hull. Another six feet. Another. I wound up flying home across the bay with three feet of main sail. *** Then another blow descended. But I was closing in on the boat ramp. Really fast. I designed to pivot at the last minute just before the dock to dump my wind. Note to self: an armful of sail, unless tied in a bundle, will spontaneously volunteer to help out by rejoining the wind. At the last minute the mainsail inflated like a lusty ghost to join the dance. In short I almost made it into the boat launch. Almost. Instead, my Prindle Catamaran rushed in and made deep love in that most magical and sexiest of places, the crook of the dock outer pilings and the black granite rocks of the jetty. Clearly it was reunion-sex because it went on and on. Oh, and the sounds, of grinding and thudding, squealing and gushing. And the waves. Like that famous love-making scene, the lovers washed over. Except sharp rocks and splintering pilings. No sand. *** Then the newscopters appears, I sh*t you not. Two. I was straddling one hull grabbed onto a piling futilely pulling the lovers apart. Larger and larger waves rolled in. Whitecaps even. The two f*ck-mates were really going at it. Bam. Bam. Bam. This was porn-sex. The the fire department rescue team and two cops came running down the wave washed dock. I was so happy to be home I guess I found my happy place inside. I said, ‘I guess this looks pretty bad, huh. But really, it could have been worse.’ All this while my beach cat and the land worked up to a multi-orgasm plateau. Note to self: stay the piss away from rocks. Find a beach to land. Even if you have to leave the boat overnight. In short, the cops and copters moved on to look for some alleged missing kayakers. My boat and the jetty entered the lovemaking hall of fame egged on by that most prurient of instigators, the sea. I held on to the piling riding the port hull till my forearms were numb. In an hour the whitecaps evaporated, the waves lessened and the sky opened up to a post-coital late afternoon pink. I pried the spent lovers apart, its and smears of each on the other other. I pulled my cat around and into the slot of the ramp and grounded her. *** Everything else was denouement. Even fishing for the mainsail that was wedged deep under the docks and rocks like it was sleeping off a nasty day-drinking bender. I took a selfie once the boat was on the trailer. When I reviewed the shot I saw that the water in the background was illuminated and sweet and was just about perfect for a calm evening sail.
Leon T posted a topic in Sailing AnarchyTime to paint the bottom of my 30' performance cruiser in the mid-Chesapeake (Beneteau First 30 JK). I've been using VC Offshore for quite a while, Yard has done a great job in the past rolling on a baby-smooth bottom (1 coat applied w/ 3/16" nap Red Tree roller, no sanding or burnishing needed b/c there's no orange peel and I'm not racing). Diver cleans every 4-6 weeks during the season. (I try to extend the painting times to 18-24 mos.) While I love the smoothness of VC Offshore, its antifouling doesn't last too long. The diver said its antifouling was shot just under a year IIRC. The yard offered to suggest alternatives (e.g., Pettit Ultima SR-60 or others once they see the boat hauled out in July). What say ye: (1) Switch to a newer paint like SR-60; (2) add another coat of VC Offshore; or (3) suck it up and use the diver more often? Thanks in advance, Leon.