Sailing between the raindrops, part 1

We have spent little time on the water this summer. There have been all those band gigs... and the house siding project... and grad school... and family visits... and the rain. It has rained just about every weekend. In fact, lately it has been raining just about every day. When it hit August and we had spent all of four hours on the water so far this summer, we said to heck with it - we are taking a sailing trip, whether or not it rains. We decided to sail to Kingston, Ontario.

The weather forecast for the weekend was very sketchy, but it looked like if we got up and off, we would be able to sail on Saturday morning in relatively good weather. So we headed to Clayton after supper on Friday, determined to cast off the next morning.

We had a glorious sail on Saturday. The wind was coming pretty much from where we were headed, so we spent six hours sailing close-hauled. That means we were sailing as closely into the wind as we could, and doing some tacking to stay on course. It also meant we spent the day heeled over at an angle of 20 to 30 degrees.

I was the person who went below to make lunch. I also ventured below to use the head from time to time. I didn't linger - it's much easier to take being heeled over when you are above rather than below decks. Q the sailing cat was along, and she did not care for life at this angle. She burrowed into the storage area for the duration.

As the day went on, we learned how to sail more and more closely to the wind. You have to keep the sails as close as possible to the centerline of the boat. We also got pretty darn smooth at tacking. We had an average speed for the trip of about six miles an hour, which is good time for a close-haul.

There was other excitement on the way. There was a Poker Run on Saturday, an event featuring very fast boats tearing along the river as quickly as they can. The Coast Guard used the VHF radio to warn the river traffic when the boats headed up river. Not long after the warning, we started seeing incoming boats - a puff of spray downriver, rapidly becoming a screaming flash of color zipping past.

Here is a picture of one speed boat, plus a following helicopter. The tiny airplane in the upper left corner circled around and flew right over our mast. I missed that shot.

We figured that the regular docks at Confederation Basin Marina would be full, so we headed for the day docks when we got to Kingston. At the day docks, it's first come, first served. We got the very last slip. Here we are with flags flying (US, Ontario and UN on the backstay), plus the sun (and rain) cover I made last year out of an old sail.

Some pics of the poker run boats. The boat to the right in the first pic was the first one to go by us, I think. It sounded like it has a turbine engine - a high pitched scream even when moving slowly.


As you can see, the harbor ducks were unimpressed.

We had dinner at an Indian restaurant, where I had chicken with saag (spinach spiced with fenugreek) and some excellent wine. Then back to the boat, just beating the raindrops. We sat in the cockpit under our cover, let Q have some fresh air, and watched fireworks. Then we went to sleep with the sound of rain falling on the boat.


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