Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Windy Sunday Afternoon on the Alum Creek

Although Judy Jetson is the star of the show anywhere she goes, the real spotlight from Sunday’s sail must be shone brightly on my friend Michelle and my new friends Dan and Carmen. Michelle invited me to pop in at her Church picnic - Vineyard Church of Delaware County - at the Alum Creek ‘below dam picnic area’ on Sunday afternoon. Judy and I were already planning to head up to Alum to work on cleaning and ‘redecorating’ Central Air, so the plan came together beautifully. Michelle introduced me to Dan and Carmen, who are members of VCDC as well as of the Alum Creek Sailing Association. Dan has his Pilot’s license (boat, not airplane!), and there was much sailing talk at the picnic.

While I was puttering around the boat post-picnic (dragging many cabin cushions from car to boat, mainly), Michelle called to see if the three of them could stop over to see the boat. Once the three of them arrived, they all pitched the idea of taking her out for a sail. I was feeling a little nervous about the amount of wind we were feeling at the docks, let alone out on the lake. I’ve been having enough trouble getting out of the docks without having the wind pushing me around! But… I don’t have the opportunity to go sailing every day, so how could I say no?

Dan was a prince in helping me to get the boat out of the dock and on her way out to sea (er, lake.) My ‘worst case scenario’ occurred during the undocking procedure: I didn’t give the outboard enough gas and she stalled. You know what, though? We didn’t hit anything, no one got hurt, no animals were harmed in the filming of the event, the nuclear football wasn’t lost to the terrorists… and I restarted the outboard and we were on our way without further incident. (Need to file this away for future reference. It was okay, spaz-head! It was okay!!)

It was a very choppy and windy Sunday at Alum! Holy Hobby-Horse, Batman!! I wasn’t sure how CA would behave under those conditions and was not yet eager to find out, so we unfurled the jib instead of first raising the mainsail. As happens every time I sail, my blood pressure decreased dramatically as soon as I shut down the outboard. Hooray! The (relative) silence of sailing is a beautiful thing! We were sailing, albeit with an unbalanced helm due to sailing under jib alone. As we tacked back and forth across the lake near the beach, it seemed like we were pointing towards making progress back up the lake, but in reality the wind was just blowing us south. The 110 jib wasn’t enough to allow us to make headway against the wind. (But yet, I think I need more practice at the helm under ‘average conditions’ before attempting it with such semi-high-spirited conditions!)

The conditions quieted once again when we motored back into the channel. I made the same mistake again with the throttle on the outboard and spent a frantic 15 seconds or so pull-starting the outboard in the channel. (Once again, the earth continued to spin on its axis.) We arrived back at the slip ‘cleanly.’ The only casualty of the evening was my sunglasses, which I inadvertently donated to Davey Jones while docking.

Michelle, Dan, and Carmen – please come sailing with me again soon!

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