Earlier this summer, i showed a new hand something of sail. Slacks and i have known one another for some years now, and we’ve a good trust of one another, and as such i could not have had a better hand (green or not) for exploring the local lakes.
Now first, of our craft: she was a natty little thing, an Enterprise racing dingy. A touch over 13 feet, she set over a 100 square feet of sail, and thoough her half-fathom of centerboard kept her well into the wind, two (and sometimes three) hands on the rail were well-pressed to keep her on her feet.
Now before you get all inspired, picturing some fine craft, it should be said that although she made for fine times, she was no beauty. Her sails well-stretched, varnished mast peeling, and with a thick coat of black paint on her bottom being the most of what held her sprung seams together. Caulked up, she still presented some challenge for the bailer, and in a lively beat to windward, her split and weathered stem gave us cause for much caution.
Still, she was a fine boat for a new hand to learn a thing or two. Board up, she drew a pittance, and would move in lightest breezes. With a firm hand on tiller and sheets, she would fly in some wind, but as it crept over 20, she would baulk and show a vicious weather helm.
We two (a hand of some experience, and a hand of some enthusiasm) had been taking to water most every day the lake showed a ripple. On day, the air too hot for other other endevours, we thought we’d try our luck once more, though the lake was more still than not. Indeed, by the time we had the mast stepped and steadied, sails bent, and hull kissed by water, there was little enough breeze, but as summer it was, and free we be, we ventured out nonetheless.
The afternoon progressed as well as could be expected, given the calm conditions. We reached out into the center of the lake, then slowly taked south down the arm, into the failing breeze. We made some manuvers to retrieve a piece of floating trash, then later hove-to, and Slacks slipped over for a swim. Mid-afternoon found us both spread upon the thwarts, soaking up the sun, and looking up at a wrinkle of slack baby-blue sail, and to the deeper blue of the sky above. By and by, a tickle of breeze tumbled in from over the hills to the SW, and catching the tiller with outstretched toes, I brought us onto a ghost of a reach across the lake to a friend’s dock.
I handed the sails as Slacks steered us alongside, and our friend, the baker, came down and caught our lines. We sat for some time on his deck, enjoying some conversation, and a crisp beer, but as the sun lowered itself nearer th’horizon, we thought it best to cast off. Indeed, the wind was freshening, and more northerly by the looks of it, and we were looking forward to a brisk beat home.
to be continued…