sailing

racing, cruising, floating, drifting… sailing.

Finally got the TriFoiler into the water today. Conditions were perfect, probably even better than we thought they were: NNW 10-15kts, light chop. Being a first sail, we erred on the side of caution and unzipped the reefing panels from the sails. The book suggests 16 kts as a reasonable reefing windspeed. In hindsight, I now feel that the boat can take much more, and that it would probably be easier to spill air from full sail rather than curse and fight and flail away with reefed sails when the windspeed is just a little light. Full sails would have made for a much more entertaining day, but safety first, right? Bill pushed me out into chest-deep water, I slid off with remarkable leeway on, and spent almost the entirety of the next 3 hours trying to beat back in to shore.

As it was, the wind fell through the day, and it became increasingly frustrating to sail in displacement mode, underpowered and dragging so much structure through the water. Impressions? Hideous to tack, the forward foil latches need reworking, low-speed steering like a shopping cart full of rocks… But just once, I wore ’round right into a puff, the sails popped over, the boat lurched off a wave, and the windward outrigger jumped out of the water, closely followed by the leeward one. I dumped the windward sensor line, and the boat leveled off. I sheeted in, as fast as I could, somehow managing to pop the leeward sensor line… and whoosh, the stern came up, the rigging shrieked, the unplugged pitot tube spurted a rooster-tail… Sheeting in nearly to the centerline on a broad reach and Oh. Sweet. Beard. Of. Zeus,¬†acceleration like nothing I have ever felt on the water before. Full-on overblown powerboat acceleration! On foils, the boat was transformed; steering well-damped and precise, ride smooth as glass, zero fuss from the rig, completely dry.

The sailing season is winding down here, but I’m hooked. Gonna try to get as many sails in before the water cools down too much, then onto next summer!

The world is starting to flame. The economy is in the tank. “Nothing will ever be the same”. Say it, think it, feel it, express it all or not at all; okay, I get it. But why the negativity?

I’m getting so tired of the same old piss and moan. It flirts around the edges of every coffee-shop conversation these days, or boldly proclaims, and in every form still feels to me like the worst self-fulfilling prophesy of recent memory.
Lately I’ve been given to reminding people that it’s not as if “they” took all the money out of the vaults by the wheelbarrow and burnt it in the streets, or dumped the global gold supply into the sea… Okay, okay, they DID dump most of the above into China somehow, but it’s not like all the money/energy in the world is actually gone.
As far as I understand it, economies are not built upon having money/energy, but are built upon moving it. But get this: far far far too much of the global economy has so far been built not upon the movement of money, but upon the movement of debt. Money may be a portable, transferable medium for human energy, but debt, if anything, is the inverse.
Now, finally, there seems to be more debt than energy in the system, and it should be completely unsurprising that the economy is going to shit. Hell, it went to shit a long time ago, on that long-past day when somebody started to equate credit with cash.

But the piss and moan! The fucking piss and moan! We all get it! Now stop whining, get out there, and produce some energy! Then move it! And in the meantime, try to remember:
When the rent money is tight, that you’re still alive, that air, water, and sunshine are free.
When you’re actually brewing your own coffee, that you’re not a kid in Starbucks-less African warzone.
When you’re walking down the street not actually being maimed/raped/shot at, that at very, very least you’re not floating in the middle of the ocean on a crippled boat wondering what the fuck just happened.

Oh, does that last one bias me a little? Maybe, but please forgive me. It’s been a rough year. This spring I’ve already lost everything I own, lost all my savings, lost the product of 4 years of labour, and, oh yeah, watched my last great impossible-yet-just-barely-within-my-grasp dream bobbing off and away, broken and behind me, into the sea.
Don’t coyly cough and smirk into your coffee, pretend at cynicism, and try to hide your fears for this unrecognizable economic future behind a stuttered parody of hope. C’mon folks; it’s every bit as bad as “they” say -probably worse-, and yet simultaneously not that bad. I call out fear as the flipside of hope; let us now take a lovely deep breath of free air and cast out both.
I know you’re afraid, but there’s fear and then there’s The Fear. How can you tell the difference? I wouldn’t have known the difference myself before this year.
All I can tell you now is that fear is what you feel when you’re afraid; The Fear is what crawls up your spine when you try to remember how you felt before, that time you should have been afraid, but weren’t.

And now? Economic implosion? Fear? The Fear? Nuh-uh; I’m still breathing free air and movin’ my energy…

This was a short work week. I caught this cranky horrid cold over the weekend, and it knocked me out for Monday and Tuesday.
So here I am, again, feeling a little behind on projects, but an opportunity has come along for a little stress-free vacationette, and I’m taking it.
Tomorrow I’m sailing with a friend and client over to St. John aboard his hot-rod Newick 38 trimaran. I’ve often wanted to go for a ride on this rocket, and despite being offered numerous opportunities, I’ve always bowed.
I’ll stay at the owner’s place up on the mountain tomorrow night, then catch a ride back to Tortola with another sailing friend, aboard his lovely little Rhodes-designed Swiftsure 33. This is the same boat I sailed to Antigua a couple years back, a real little gem.
I hmm’d and haw’d a little bit, guilting over the time spent away from my work, but I’ve got to face it; I’ve been burning both ends of the wick all summer now, almost a year (!) without any sailing at all, and it’s time to get out and remind myself what I’m really actually working towards…

The last few weeks have been pretty busy. Finally have a moment to sit down and bang out a few words…
Thanksgiving weekend I joined up with my friend Marty aboard his Kinney Pipe Dream 36 Ruffian for a weekend of racing out of Coral Bay on St. John. Great time! Light winds, though, but we still managed to place second in our class. About 50 boats racing there, including a very healthy classic and gaffer class.
The next weekend we raced in the WEYC Gustav Wilmerding Regatta here out of West End. Compared to the great gathering we’d attended the weekend before, the racing ranks were awful thin. We won our class that time, in winds that were just the other side of the sweet spot, 35-40kts! Great galloping sail is screaming sunshine and windblown waves.
A little more recreational sailing rounded out the last few weeks. I’m feeling really behind in my homework schedule now! Last weekend I managed to get in a needed day of shopping at the various chandlers, and a whole day of fiddling with the new boomkin/windvane bracket.

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