Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sailor Fred

The rest of the crew working at the Civic today, so I invited Candy out to the boat on Sunday afternoon, should the weather be cooperative, and she asked a couple people if they wanted to tag along, and her coworker Fred took her up on the offer. It was a blast of an afternoon, the sun was shining, it was a little cool, but not unbearable. The wind was about 10-15 knots from the SSW, and there were plenty of sailboats out on Lake Muskegon, a reggata going on out in the middle of the lake, running from SE to NW. We quickly prepped the boat and sails, everyone took a potty break, and we were off around 2pm. A smooth exit from the slip with no mishaps, and we took a quick tour of the boats at their mooring balls, showing Fred the beautiful old wooden boat that had previously been for sale all summer, but it looks as if the sign had been taken down, so it must've sold. We started out nice and easy with just the headsail, puttering around Lake Muskegon on either a broad reach or beam reach, going about 2-3 knots, with Fred at the helm for most of the time, while Candy shouted encouragements from amidships. We did a gybe and headed towards the channel to check out the big lake, where waves were predicted to be 1-3 ft (we had driven by the beach, and they looked a little bigger, maybe 2-4 ft, with quite a few whitecaps out on the lake).

We managed to sail about halfway down the channel until the wind switched around to our bow and got a little flukey, so we switched on the engine, and rode the rest of the way out. The waves were a bit more than we expected and aside from a few brave souls far out on the lake, there wasn't much other traffic out there, and it was a bit bouncy, so we turned around and headed back into the channel. Raised the headsail again for the return trip down the channel, and got about halfway again before we resorted the engine. Once back on the little lake, I put us into the wind, put Fred back on the helm and I raised the mailsail, and we sailed a short while with just that, and then I raised the jib as well, and we really started flying. Fred seemed to be really having a blast, we were mostly on either a beam reach or close reach, heeling over from time to time, and making some pretty decent speed, 5, 6 knots or so. We went back and forth across the lake a few times, avoiding the reggata still in progress, and got a little better at our tacking maneuvers with each repitition. We saw the Lake Express Ferry come in, and we zig zagged on a close reach back towards the marina, until we eventually put away the sails and headed for home. A lot of fun, Fred was an enthusiastic crewmember, and a big help, and Candy seemed to have a good time as usual (the boat seems to really like to put on a big show for her every time she comes out). We ran into Matt after our docking and putting everything away, and I asked him about the 'wooden boat' (which we had passed going out of the channel, with presumably the new owners), and he informed us that the hull was a 'blank' (which I didn't understand what he was talking about until later - apparently, it is the plywood 'mold' that they use to make the fiberglass).

Afterwards Fred bought me lunch at G&L (mmmm Flint Style Coneys), and I bid them adeiu at Candy's house, and I got home just ahead of the rest of the family, after which I headed down to Riverside for a round of disc golf (and was sore by the end of the night). A nice day. Maybe we can squeeze one more trip in either this month or next.. I'd still like to sail with the fall colors. (battery #2)

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