The silly me worried all night.
We were to sail a 34-foot Kal about 40 nautical miles up the southeast coast of Lake Michigan – the first step in putting the boat to bed for the winter.
Those of you who have lived in the Midwest know the mercurial wind, seas and skies of early October. Cloudy skies reigned the days before and after we sailed.
Why worry, you ask? Once you’re committed to the crew, you buck up, right? Pull out the fleece, the plastic/nylon/rubber jackets, find the long-johns, pack extra socks and hope for the best. And that’s what I did. Packed a pretty good size sea bag of protection.
When we boarded DownDraft at 7:45 that morning, the weather gods were smiling. Lake Michigan acts more like an ocean than a lake, but on Thursday, October 4, it was quite the lady. And a summer lady at that.
Winds were SSW 5-10. Rolling waves about 3-5. And not a cloud in the sky! Temps zoomed from 50 to 78 that day.
Karl, David and I took turns at the helm. Our course was 40 degrees NNW and while we worked to steer by the compass, keeping our point of sail was a bit rough on the biceps at first. But steering got easier after passing New Buffalo as the lake smoothed out before us.
After 7 years in New Mexico, this has been my first summer sailing again. “Again” because I worked at learning the ropes a couple of times during my years in the city – taking lessons first taking the city’s Belmont Harbor then through Sail Chicago.
It’s one thing to learn the all the terms; it’s quite another to earn the experience required to maneuver a boat through wind and waves. I am humbled by the experience. It’s hard to imagine skippering a boat with passengers. omg.
I have so much to learn. This week I found myself journaling about my first real regret in this life – not learning to sail as a youth.
On Friday I leave for a week-long learn-to-sail class off Florida’s Gulf Coast. I’ve been studying the books, learning what I could this summer on the Down Draft. But the more I read the less I know.
I can only hope that the weather gods will smile kindly on us during my remaining sailing days. While I hope I have years to learn the necessary skills to sail safely and enjoy the water I love, today I wonder if I should stick to my knitting. It’s a lot safer sitting on the couch!