The windiest day in months is the perfect time to get up early for a sail. I stopped for a picture at the crack of dawn (no pun intended because it was actually the crack of dawn). I don’t see the sunrise very often so this was breathtaking. Old salts may say sunrises are a dime a dozen but I’m a new salt so it’s still a sight to behold.
The engine didn’t sound quite right when we left the dock but it was So! Windy! that we decided to take our chances. There was less water than usual coming out of the diesel and a bit of white smoke that we thought was condensation and would burn off. Not so with the diesel about to overheat. There was no seaweed in the strainer so what could it be? We slowly motored back to the marina with a very hot engine and Charles figured out there was seaweed in the raw water intake; he’d recently been to a shallow marina at low tide and we ended up with some marine hitchhikers in the lines. Shortly after clearing out gigs of plant life we were ready to get back into the wind.
Windy days equal fabulous things with the sails. The wind was directly behind us so Charles put up a lovely butterfly configuration. For most of the summer the wind has been light and we’ve been doing lots of motoring so having both sails filled was beautiful. Did you ever notice that the back of the boat is never far enough away to capture the majesty of your sails?
We had pretty strong gusts and with a new speed indicator we watched the speed fluctuate to fast and faster with each gust of wind. Our top speed was the fastest I’d ever been sailing! Charles has sailed faster while moving the boat in March (March winds, anyone?) but I’ve only sailed under the heat and gentle breeze (i.e. no wind) of the summer.
Time for lunch! Dogue Creek is close to home, bordered by McMansions and a private marina on one side so we anchored near the wooded side. One rib eye steak, one piece of tuna and some grilled veggies later and the sun was on it’s way down. It was still pretty gusty and Charles worked against the wind to pull up the anchor that weighs half as much as I do. We’re looking for a set of bluetooth ear pieces so we can communicate with more than primitive hand gestures and yelling while he’s pulling up the anchor and I’m steering. This time, hand gestures and yelling.
With the anchor finally up and the sun low we sailed for home. Motoring versus sailing is a big difference. Think plodding along on the diesel while you stand around with the auto pilot on watching for crab pots and steering into the wake from power boats. Then think sailing with gusts of wind, tacking, feeling the direction of the wind and listening to only the sound of flowing water streaming behind the boat.
Fall is here and I’m already planning my cold weather gear. I want to be on the water when the folks on land are picking pumpkins and drinking hot cider. Maybe a few months from now after some cold sailing trips I’ll change my tune but for now, I can’t wait until the wind picks up and all the power boaters have pulled out for the season.