Monday, January 30, 2006

Now We're Talkin'!

Saturday, January 28th, was a gorgeous day on the Hudson - 60 degrees, wind between 8 and 12, gusting to 18 maybe. In other words, perfect for trying out all my new sails.
Since Laura is in Ecuador with Healing the Children ( ) and Herb and Gina were doing the home stuff, I invited Jack and Lou.

Jack is a friend from the Harbor House Marina in Connecticut. He's a singlehander, too, and has terrific taste in boats. Currently, he's the proud owner of an Olsen 38 that he's rebuilding. Well the wood part, anyway. Incredible patience.

Funny story about Lou - He's actually the one responsible for my being in boating in the first place. I'd like to say he tutored me in the ways of the sea and slowly drew me into a sailing life. But it wasn't like that at all. He owned Mudlark at the time and had invited my first ex-wife and I sailing. We thought that a splendid idea!

So off we all went. Over the afternoon, Lou allowed me to steer the boat. As I was merrily tacking and jibing, we came to a point we were close hauled and sailing for all the little boat was worth. Lou, being Lou, was fooling around. One of his little tricks was to lay against the jib. Well, since it was a small boat, the only thing holding the sheet was a jam cleat - And as we had been sailing about for a while so the sheet was wet, as Lou put all his weight against the aft end of the jib, the cleat released the line.

I still carry the look on his face as he realized that there was no recovery from this and that as the jib released, he was going for a swim. His glasses went in one direction and he in the other
and all in the drink.

Mudlark and I continued on, trying to decide whether to return to Haverstraw Marina to get help (certainly an hour or more) or to jibe and get back to Lou and recover him. And so, my first jibe on Mudlark ensued and my first (and hopefully last) man overboard recovery.

Lou and I became partners in Mudlark. We sailed her throughout the Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound and Gardiner's bay/Shelter Island. I learned a lot from Lou, and Mudlark singlehanding. I've said this before and I'll reiterate it now: A boat like Mudlark is the perfect boat to learn on. She was forgiving, strong, fun to sail, and no matter how badly I personally screwed up, she'd get me back to the dock.

But I digress.

Back to Saturday - as you've been more or less kept aware, I've gotten a full set of new sails and it was the perfect day to try them - new jib, new spinnaker, and new main (although the main had been inaugurated on January 1st). As you'd expect, I have some pictures that Lou took - that would be Lou Spitz Photography.

Jack who has been sailing Long Island Sound for, well, for ever. His observation of sailing the Hudson was that between the currents, shifting winds, shallows and so forth, it's pretty difficult sailing. You could, without much trouble sail an entire circle without tacking or jibeing. No kidding. Makes racing very interesting!

My friend Renee in England, you know the one that lives on a narrowboat, has sent me some pictures that I will use in an entirely new post. But I have to tell you - the length is 55 feet, not 35 as I mentioned. Oops. Sorry, Renee!

All that said, these 55 or 60 degree days during the winter weekends are terrific! Too bad they presage global warming.

Well, I hope I see some of you on the water!

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