Last sail of the season?

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Last sail of the season?

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:49 am

The racing season being over, but the weather not having been told to quit, I set out for a "fall is not quite here yet" evening sail.

It was still unseasonably warm, but a big cloud bank stole any chance of viewing the sunset. There were blue patches all around. I didn't bring the camera, so I could focus on sailing, but that means I missed a number of neat pictures where light from beneath the clouds snuck in, in one case setting "alight" every single window on the opposite shore, but not with the sparkle of the setting sun, but more of a mellow, cool glow, like moonlight - or the reflection of the sky away from the sunset in that case.

Well, it may well be end of the season for me, as once I park my boat off-site, I can't get to it on a whim, even for one of probably several perfect sailing days that we can expect to be sprinkled throughout fall. But it wasn't the end of the season yet for many others. There was a good smattering of sailboats on the lake, big, small and intermediate.

Clumps of stand-up paddle boards; not being paddled but supporting a friendly sit-down chat on the water, with all the attendant rituals - including simultaneously holding flat shiny objects (of about the size of a pack of cards) at arms length...

Crew practice (had to be careful not to be run over), kayakers, some other row boats. Several motorboats dotted over the lake and some background traffic of boats transiting. A cruise boat from one of the tour operators and a few of the cute electric rental boats making their way back to home base - before their batteries run out?

Very peaceful (especially compared to the same lake at race night). Everybody relaxed. Waving. Smiles. One guy at a houseboat was standing in his tender, scrubbing. My tack took me very close, so I asked whether he took "sail through" customers. He declined but offered a beer instead. And asked about the DS.

The wind lacked any real bite; it never died, but sat down to rest briefly a few times. In between it roused itself to give me a gently push, sustained, but then quickly switched directions when it surprised itself at having become almost vigorous by accident.

A Northerly and a Westerly were alternating. Not battling for dominance, more like a "you go first, no you" kind of thing. For a while, along some of the shores, the wind held steady enough to fly the spinnaker. A reach, using the pole, and a run, letting it fly free. A spinnaker sheet in each hand, elbow on the tiller for small corrections. A form of mediation, almost.

I followed the wind, but also the contours of the lake, dipped in (almost) every corner, almost as if reassuring myself that they will still be there when I'll come back for winter racing.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
GreenLake
 
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Re: Last sail of the season?

Postby fatjackdurham » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:01 am

Sounds nice. I like the feeling of a slight by sudden increase in the wind, with sails trimmed in tight and the boat starts to pick up speed.

What lake or body of water were you on?
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Re: Last sail of the season?

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:47 am

Getting more speed is always good, of course.

For a relaxing sail it's nice if the wind stays below the point where you need to fight it for control of the boat. I'd say things were well below that point that evening, with recorded gusts only up to about 8 (possibly a tad higher in some of the wind lanes on the lake).

Under bridges things can get squirrely. Most of the time it was enough to sit on the rail (not hiking) to keep the boat level when things picked up, but there was one surprising gust under a bridge that felt so much stronger that I let out the sheets immediately in an instinctive response.

It could be that it was just more sudden, came into a deeper lull under the bridge, and hit from an unexpected angle -- I've learned it's best not to take chances.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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