Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trial Run

I sailed on Tuesday for the first time. The boat, a Caprice, was about 14 feet long, made in the early 1970s in Canada, blue fiberglass, with some teak wood trim. We went to Nimasilla reservoir on Portage Lakes because they do not allow gasoline engines. I would have taken pictures, but my phone got wet and malfunctioned. I'll go ahead and list some of the terms I learned.

On a boat, rope is called a line. When the line is attached or otherwise associated with a sail, it's called a sheet. There were two sheets on the jib, starboard (right side) and port (left side). We controlled the mainsail with a system of pulleys (three in all, I believe). We lowered the keel because the wind was a bit gusty. The keel was controlled by a rope and pulley: the idea there is that the keel lowers into the water under the boat, and helps keep the hull on an even tack when you're sailing against the wind. When you're sailing with the wind the keel can be retracted to lessen drag and increase speed. The keel also helps the boat stay upright, which we needed on more than one occasion.

"Hanking on" is when you're attaching the jib to its stay (forestay) with "hanks." These are little spring loaded hooks much like those found on a dog leash.

A batten in a long, thin strip of wood one uses to stiffen the mainsail. No, it's not the same batten for the hatches.

Coming about is when you switch directions, and therefore, have to duck the boom. We did this a lot, which is the trickiest sort of thing to manage, I think. You've got the tiller, the main sheet, and you're trying to switch seats, hoping all the while 1) the boom doesn't knock your mate into the drink, 2) the boat doesn't tip and throw you both in there, 3) you can keep on tack, which is difficult, because the tiller is very long, and you can't step over it because of the boom, and sometimes you end up catching it with some part of you as you're switching sides.

Sailing was a lot of work. It was also a lot of fun. My phone, once it dried out, works better than ever. I'm hoping to go again sometime soon.


Mr. President said...

This reminds me of the Old Man and the Sea, partly because before we read it my past teacher went over boating terms. The way you explained the terms was a lot better than what he did! :)

Sorry I have not been on lately though, I received a job shortly after the F1 competition with AT & T. It's amazing because my charisma allows me to deal with customers quiet easily. (I'm actually leading the store in sales and I've only been working for about three weeks!) So if your phone dies in the future from that water incident, you now who to go to. Ha-ha.

John said...

The Old Man and the Sea is such a wonderful story. It was supposed to have been one of the sections/novellas of Islands in the Stream, which is also a favorite Hemingway of mine. I was reading Ripley's Believe it or Not! the other day and thought it was interesting that three workers in a Havana museum quit their jobs after (supposedly) having encountered Hemingway's ghost. The idea of the ghosts of writers has always charged my imagination for some reason.

You definitely rolled an 18 on charisma, Josh. Sadly, my phone is working better than before!

Mr. President said...

I did a little research into Islands in the Stream and it sure does look interesting... I'll have to find time for it someday soon.

Wow ghost writers... What’s going through my mind is what would they be doing and why would they still be here? Maybe the reason why they didn't want to leave this world was an unfinished story that they were hell bent on completing. I can imagine them just typing away in ectoplasm! No doubt if that is possible Geoffrey Chaucer would be finishing the Canterbury Tales.

Haha, glad your phone is working great!