Last Sunday was opening day on the bay and we had been planning for 2 months to be ready to go out for the day. Extra gear
, meant for upcoming system upgrades, was boxed and lugged to the house so we wouldn't be sailing with 2 cubic yards of *stuff* gummin up the works. The boat was pressure washed and cleaned inside as well. Warm gear
was stockpiled and stowed. Gear that had done half gainers last time we were in winds big enough to heel us a bit was secured. The sheets
were changed on the vberth and the bed
neatly made. Our little hole in the water
was a fine as we could make her.
Did our morning stint making breakfast at the club and then cut out early to set up before Garrett and Katy Rose, who were coming along, joined us. Did all the last minute refills of the water
bottles, boiled a kettle full of water for warm water for at least the beginning of the sail. Unhooked the shore power
and cable. It was a beautiful day and there was a small promise of wind
to come later. Himself starts in about getting the headsail out to be ready, all hanked on and stuff and I point out that until the wind
comes up I won't know which sail we need... and that we are waiting until the wind arrives to pull up one of the 4 easily accessible sail bags when the moment comes.
G and KR arrived and Garrett, who had heroically volunteered to retrieve the anchor
bag, lost overboard
on our last trip out, suited up in his swim trunks and his weird footie toe shoes
and jumped in to search. It was low tide (planned) and he only took about 3 minutes to locate it and drag it up. Oh joy. I was SO not wanting to replace the darned thing! We cleaned it off (removed from bag) and I hung it on the new hardware
I had mounted to the bow pulpit for just that purpose.
We all donned life vests, and put out the flag and started the motor
. Now this was a very exciting moment, because while we had started the new (to us) 15hp Mercury 2 stroke
circa 1994 (which replaced a circa 1985 johnson sail master 6hp) we had not yet taken it out for a spin. It took me a little finagling before I figured out the routine and got her going. The choke setup is different from the little outboard
and the throttle is as well, so there was a learning
curve. First lesson of the day; PRACTICE starting the motor
when Himself is NOT around. By the time I got it figured out and got it going he was ready to cancel the sail because clearly the motor was unreliable and we could not depend on it to get us out and back in... ok, check, practice time scheduled so next time I know EXACTLY what combination of twists, pushes, tweaks and pulls starts her up... rather than starting HIM up!
We backed out of the slip and pulled forward smooth as silk. I can not tell you what a pleasure it was to have enough power in hand to do the job easily and to feel all 9000+ lbs of her moving along so easily. Ok all good and Himself is calming down, except he is still fussing about getting the head
sail out and *ready*.
We pull out of the channel and into the bay proper and look around. Nada. Not even a breath of wind. The water is like glass despite the excellent winds the day before and the good wind promised today. Time passes and still nada. We are having fun motoring along at a nice clip and enjoying the lack of fumes and noise
as the new motor purrs away in the closed lazarette with no air issues.
Finally, across the water I see waves and we head
towards it. When we arrive at the darker water the breeze picks right up. Within a few minutes I head down and grab the 120. By the time I get it on deck
and unrolled and ready to hank on the wind has strengthened to a nice steady breeze. But there are some white caps and Himself is looking out at the water and calling out that its getting rough, the wind must be 15 knots... the sail is too big, don't raise it. Ok. Fine. I bundle it up and go below for the measly 80 and haul it up. To be told 'nope it's too rough out. we aren't experienced enough, our equipment
isn't good enough, we can't sail in THIS'...
Fuming silence and then a long bicker about the wind and its' desirability, the boat, how one acquires experience, why sailing in these conditions is EXACTLY what we want to be doing. All met with stony silence and 'we are not sailing in this. the wind is too hard.'
Until in one of the more ironic moments of my life as I look over his hunched up P.O. shoulders at... a nearby boat about the same side as ours (28') raising....
wait for it....wait for it....
So I manage to get off my broom long enough to gently point out that the boat behind us is raising a Spinnaker
, a sail most commonly used in light winds...
He thinks on it for a few moments and the musters up a low growl of "fine do what ever you want, you're going to anyway" which I have to confess is mostly true ; -}
As a sop to his anxiety I put on the 80 and give Katy Rose, our 16 year old, instructions on running the port sheet thru the blocks around the winch
and knotted off to prevent it flying free. I hand Himself the other sheet and move up to raise the sail. After a verbal "ready?" check I start hauling when to my dismay the sail fills on a port tack and the sheets
fly thru the block and go whistling past. I am barely able to grab the bitter end of one sheet and secure it. So the next 5 minutes are spent recovering the sheets and getting the jib
set and the lines run properly. At which point I turn to Katy Rose and ask in my most patient voice "Honey, why didn't you knot
it off like I showed you?" only to be answered "He told me not too mama..."
deep breath. another deep breath. Actually I just climbed back up on the deck
and hung out where I could swear softly and only Garrett could hear me. (*&^(&^%^%^%$%#@!$$%%^&%&^%^%*^%)
So we raised the main then, while I thought about my bad. Never assume an inexperienced person had retained what they have learned from one sail to the next. Never assume they will remember what to do with out actually checking that they have done it. The good news in I am the one with the rope
burn across my belly. appropriate punishment I guess. Never never never assume the crew is competent until you know from experience that they are. and maybe not even then.
I took a captains class, a long time ago, and learned all the drill and passed all the tests, but it was a single
handing test on a Catalina
22, and most of the hundreds of hours sailing that I have under my belt are on small fry boats. Sunfish and lazers in particular. So I don't have much experience captaining a crew
. Next time spend more time going over with people what is going to happen and making sure they are all on the same page. The right page for that matter...
anything... and all the obvious corollaries.
We sailed pretty smoothly from that point, with far too little sail, but oh well, better that than none at all or Himself in a tizzy worrying about being over powered. He practiced falling off and spilling wind when he felt like he had too much to handle. I practiced trimming the sails
to improve performance a little bit and when we got towards the end of the day we sailed back past candlestick to oyster
And ran into our next challenge. We were sailing along so nicely and the wind was going to allow us to turn into the wind and pull up the channel to the marina. But Himself was predicting dire consequences if we didn't drop the sails
right NOW. Every boat in any kind of vicinity spooked him. I finally started the motor to shut him up. By the time we got to the 1st markers he had himself in such a fit that as we were dropping the sails he managed to decide he couldn't pull between the markers and aborted the entry and as I looked up he was swinging us to port and heading back down the bay. arrrgh. ok so no big deal, but he had convinced himself that he had saved us from sure collision
By dismissing his fear of collision
with obstacles that I knew were a more than safe distance away, I set us up to fail. Because he didn't trust my judgment he couldn't have faith that the course I had set him on was safe. I think part of it is that as the sails come down the view on the port side was somewhat obscured. I assumed (there's that word again) that he would watch the buoy on the right (the red
one) and guide us in by that. But he was so fearful of hitting something he steered towards port and when he finally saw the green buoy he freaked, because it was fairly close, maybe 15 yards, and he thought he couldn't get past it.
And then to really set my feet on the walk of shame I lost
it. I was so fed up with all the drama over nothing I just went off on him. So he's stressed and tired from sailing for hours, and upset by the activity around us (much higher than we had experienced on other outings because of opening day) and embarrassed by some of the stuff he has done and I just skewer him. For everything he has not done right all day long. I was just such a total bitch. : -/
Garrett and Katy Rose of course are wishing they were ANYWHERE but with us...
Garrett and I fold up the jib and bag it while we are moving up the channel and when we get to the marina Himself hands the tiller over to me. He isn't comfortable enough to take her in or out of the slip yet.
The last few moments were pretty cool. With the juice from the new outboard I brought her into the slip with out evening kissing the dock. I mean it was stellar. and after all the underpowered, embarrassing, neighbours rushing to help us/protect the other boats in the marina, parking by braille berthing we had had already it was just so nice, even in a sturdy wind, to be able to control her so easily. That went along way towards easing the sting of all the earlier botched attempts on other days. Garrett and John were stationed on the deck ready to fend off as needed. They were both left standing on the deck as the boat drew to a total stop right smack in the middle of the slip. That was a perfect moment. I'll prolly never manage it again!
Garrett and Katy Rose jumped ship and headed home as soon as we hit land. no surprise. Himself and I put her away and stowed everything and got out all the stuff that had been put away for the sail (like the micro and toaster oven and the clip on 110 lights)
I apologized then, for loosing my patience and yelling at him. I know he HATES to be yelled at. Amazingly enough he apologized for being an ass. and we were able to sit in the cockpit and sort of get square with each other again. I have a lot to learn about crews.