This weekend we had a wonderful day, accidentally, that summed up why we are all here...
After a lazy morning on the boat we were gearing up to head
out, in a land based way. A friend was hauling up his main as we passed him and he called hello. We paused to visit for a moment across the water
and as he was telling us about the days endless tasks he had planned he was looking around at the sky. Stepping over the golden wood spinnaker
pole he had on blocks, gleaming with wet varnish
he paused and said "what we really should do is go sailing". I grinned over at Himself with a questioning look. "wanna ditch work?"
So we did. Dave put away his can of varnish
and began to tune his rigging
. I hustled out to the car and ran the dogs
home. Dave has a chocolate lab and we had two setters that day. A lotta dog for a 32" racing sloop
, and the big setter had no experience on the water
so I figured they would be better at home. Himself trundled back to our boat and collected up all the gear
and stuff. We met back at Adagio at one and stowed our gear
, stuck the ice in the sink and cast off.
Oh how glorious. The sky was blue studded with clouds, the wind
was blowing tiny white caps up on the bay, the boat was a 32' macaroni rigged sloop
, a master mariner boat, all wood and drenched in the classic sailing boat mystique. The sails
were crisp and clear white against the sky when I looked up and filled to billowing curves as we caught the wind
and slid thru the water.
Dave is one of those fussy racing
breed. The first head
sail, a 120% was too much to suit him with the wind we had and after only 5 minutes or so he was re setting blocks and swapping out for a 100% which didn't suit him either as the bottom of the leach was rubbing on the upper shrouds. I made the suggestion that he might like the sail shape better if he ran the sheets
between the upper and lowers. Dave grumbled more about his sailmaker
and yeah that had been suggested to him but he didn't like that because... yada yada yada... after a bit we watched, amused as he began to rethread the windward sheet between the shrouds, tack and then reset the starboard sheet in the new position as well. After a bit a grudging and then with slowly building enthusasim he began to adjust and finiggel, tune and taughten the jib
until he finally announced that 'that's the best this sail has ever looked!' Not that that kept him from messing with the lines all the time... but that's what makes him happy and there must be a reason he wins all those races and the young racing bucks at Saint Francis are lined up to crew for him...
The view from under the bay bridge of the cranes and construction on the new East Span was facinating and then along the water front in San Francisco
, with the city laid out in all her glory. All the while the wind whipping us along effortlessly.
Now here is the best part of the day. All through out it Dave kept up a running monologue about what he was doing and why, and had Himself doing everything right along with him. Hanking head sails
, setting blocks and sheets
, adjusting the tuning on the rigging
, taking the tiller and answering the stream of questions on what they were doing and why.
It was a revelation to Himself that we were out sailing on this immaculate, bristol boat that was built in 1951 and were having the same issues that we commonly have whilst sailing our little hole in the water. The sails
go up and then go down and are replaced. The wind changes and the heading is wrong suddenly. This sailor with huge experience is constantly second guessing his choices, reconsidering his position, constantly adjusting, reacting, responding to changing conditions.
We even had that lovely awful moment when we hit a dead zone beneath the bridge and were a bit closer than Dave liked to one of the footings. He decided to pop on the engine
and it flooded, and wouldn't start. While never even close to real trouble, it was eerily reminiscent of the numerous times our engine
has failed to behave well and left us in the lurch. we sailed along under weak wind power until the flooding cleared the motor
started and we pulled north back into the wind.
That Dave took my suggestion on setting his jib
didn't amaze Himself exactly, lets just say he was surprised that I could have something to offer in the way of technical matters that was of use to such an experienced sailor!
We circled a bit short of Angel Island and ran back down wind towards home. The cold was setting in as the sun dropped lower and I was glad for all the extra layers Himself had brought along for me. I have ordered a new heavy wind and water proof rated down to -10f for the next time we are out on a cold day, with heavy mittens to go with!
We were back at Oyster
Cove before the sun set. We slid into the slip with the aid of friendly neighbours, one more example of how little difference there is between all of our experiences, and tied up carefully following Dave's instruction on placement of bumpers and lines. That was another good one. I make Himeself bring in all the bumpers once we leave the marina and he always moans about how pointless it is. He questioned Dave about it and gotta *LOOK* and a brief 'only condos on the water leave out their bumpers. Sailors stow them. Would you go dancing with your fly open?'
Which cracked me up and earned me a dirty look from Himself and a rueful grin...
It was just such a wonderful day, such wonderful conditions, good company and good sailing.
It's the point of what we are all doing here... working towards that moment of perfect movement thru the water. What better way could there be to spend a day? That we had not planned it and it just serendipitously happened made it even sweeter.