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Old 29-08-2009, 19:11   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South of St. Louis
Boat: not much yet
Posts: 170
River Sailing!

I went to the Seascout open house a couple of weeks ago, my first time on the Alton pool. I clowned around for an hour or so with a Sunfish, and enjoyed my day. It was nice having a bigger puddle to play in, and other sailboats is a plus also.
Beautiful weather and good wind today. Newcomer,(newcomer sounds better than dummy), decides to take his little Snark and go take a better look at the part of the Alton pool his friends clubhouse is on. His clubhouse is off a slough behind an Island about 7 miles downstream from where the Valley Sailing club property is. Never been there before. This is an exploring trip.
Prefect wind. Got in the little boat on a downwind run and did not even attempt to use the board until time to turn out onto the river.
Hey, what is that??? That looks like waves breaking on a reef along the line where the slough meets the river proper. Too late, can't use the board. Not enough water, and it is way to late for the brakes. No way to use the centerboard to head back up and out anyway. You would be surprised what a motivated man can do with a paddle! Good thing I weigh 4 times what the entire boat does, so I can get it to cooperate just enough! Pat self on back and start an upstream, upwind tack across the river to get a better look at the two big boats playing.
Okay, we are now out on the river proper in the best wind I have ever been in. I am sailing really well and there are two larger boats making it look easy and playful all over the area. Tack back to-wards the side I came in on, and realize I have lost about 50 yards from where I started, and I have been sailing upstream.
Oops, the dam is wide open and the current is nothing like it was two weeks ago. I spent about an hour fighting a losing battle. In the steady wind, I was following the same angle as the big sloop, I just was slower than the current. I think they call this part stress or something!
Luckily, it is a slowly losing battle, so time isn't critical. I had just decided to make a break for a marina nearby and had started to-wards it when one of the big boats came close by again. Fun Factor was the name on the boat. I informed them of the problem and they asked me if I could make the marina. They passed on by and I started pinching for the marina again. I was going to miss it by about 50 yards, but still a nice place to pull the boat out. I thought the other boat had left me. They had circled downstream and dropped their sails, and then had came back upstream to me under power. Big boat!
They could only give me a tow part way because they needed more water than where I needed to go. A family in a power boat offered to take me right on in. Very cool!
So now, I am being towed behind a powerboat on the Alton pool. The board being out means the boat is slowly filling with water being splashed in. I stuffed my socks in the hole to help that. I think to myself, I need a short plug board to stop this problem as sit I back and relax again. Everything once again under control.
That is when the first carp landed in the sail beside me.
I threw the carp that ended up in the boat with me back overboard while the kids in the power boat had a blast watching me duck and dodge! It was actually fun for a minute there.
Then the power boat went aground in the soft mud, a long way from where I needed to be. He managed to power it off! Thank you power trim! He took me a little up stream and I attempted to run back in across the shoal on a run with the board up.
Before it was all said and done, I got out and walked about 150 yards in ankle deep water to where the water started getting deeper again inside the mouth of the slough. The water deep enough to use the board is only about 20 feet wide. So, after my little hike thru the muck, I got to paddle a Snark upwind 200 more yards to get to a place I could beach it and walk for the truck!
Thinking seriously about a lake for tomorrow!
PS: Much thanks to Fun Factor and her crew. Nice boat! Many thanks to the power boater and family that helped me out also!
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