May 29,2011----Last evening as a breeze blew over the Indian River Lagoon, we decided to take a sail in our catboat, Sweet Adeline, with our friend, Patience. One tricky thing about sailing is the fine balance between too little wind and too much wind. Another challenge, in the lagoon, is a lack of water depth—it’s around two feet (or less) near the shore.
As it turned out, the “perfect winds” were not so perfect after all. Once we boarded the boat and motored out to get away into deeper waters, we hoisted the sails and Adeline spun around and flew into our neighbors dock (which nearly severed one of the stays.) After several minutes of maneuvering, without success, Alan hopped out of the boat. Pushing, dragging, muscling the boat into deeper waters and tying it to the dock, he climbed back on board.
|O Captain, My Captain|
We headed north---flying across the top of the water, heeling (leaning sideways) for the distance, with the keel saving us from taking a swim. Being propelled across the water as your hair blows in the wind is one of the thrills of sailing.
Tacking (turning) Adeline created new challenge for our captain. Waiting for a stream of Memorial Weekend boaters to pass, he took advantage of a break in the traffic and turned the boat around. A 30-foot fishing boat was bearing down on us with little indication that he was going to slow or veer around us—he didn’t but we shot out in front of him.
Deciding to thread the needle between one of the spoil islands, lining the lagoon, and the docks for some local businesses created a new challenge. The lengthy sandbar and shallow water provided a narrow channel, but the winds had shifted from out of the east to out of the south. Now we are trying to sail directly into the wind and Sweet Adeline was suddenly bearing down on a docked boat with a man working on the deck. At the last moment, Alan was able to bring her around and we headed back north. A big sigh of relieve.
Coxing her into a southerly direction, we made it to the channel in front of our dock, cranked up the engine, dropped the sails and made it about 100 feet from shore when the engine quit—out of gas. Alan jumped overboard once again, grabbed a line and towed us in as he drudged through the muddy bottom. Not exactly the sail we had anticipated but in it’s own way, the mishaps created a fun evening on the water.