Saturday, September 20, 2008

typical inland-lake sailing in Ohio (during a hurricane, that is)

During the morning of Sunday, 9/14, I received a call from my friend Scott. He said, "The winds are really picking up here. Would you like to join me and my Dad for a sail?!" (Me: "Heck yeah!") I checked the weather report on my Blackberry during the drive up to the lake (while stopped at a traffic light, of course), and learned that there was a wind advisory with predictions of 'gusts to 40 MPH.' It turned out that Hurricane Ike was making a visit -- albeit a 'dry' one -- to Central Ohio! The winds had picked up to around 20 kt sustained by the time I arrived, with gusts to 25-30 kts, and I shared my Blackberry weather findings with Scott and his Dad. We decided to head out to see what it was like out on the lake, with the main and the 100% 'club foot' jib.

Well... we didn't stay out for long! Just raising the jib resulted in giving LaVita a nice window-washing and we quickly climbed to the high side! Scott's Dad suggested that we sail down to the dam and back before packing it in, but the looks on Scott's face and mine must have indicated our (good-natured) distress over such an idea. (In fact, if I had been in charge, my command may have been, "Crew, prepare to urinate in one's pants!") We had tons of laughs during this adventure, but it sure was nice to tuck back into the protected channel that leads to the sailboat docks.

Before heading up to the nearby pizza place to swap stories with the other few sailors who tried their hand at sailing in a hurricane that day, Scott and I walked out to the end of the breakwater thingy at the main marina. At that point, there was spray coming off the breaking waves! Using Scott's head as an anemometer, you can see from the photo to the left that the wind was blowing at approximately 30 kts from the southwest. (Scott was facing South.)

Later that day, the wind gusts reached 80 MPH -- yes, in Ohio!! There was a lot of damage throughout Central Ohio, and just about everyone was without power for nearly a week. It was nothing to compare to what our friends in Texas went through, so I'll resist the urge to whine anymore than I just did.

You know how the TV always shows those crazy folks who surf and kite-board before a hurricane hits? Well, it's too bad there weren't any TV crews at Alum Creek Reservoir that day!

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