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[personal profile] slipstreamsurfr
The day dawned calm and a cool 78 degrees. Not bad for late July in Texas. It was early when I arrived at the marina and picked up the gate card. Walking down the dock to the boat I passed a huge heron perched at the end of one of the slips quietly watching for his next meal. He watched me, as I paused to take his picture, as if to say "Morning... keep it down friend. "

I was early and I knew that my crew would be running a bit behind this morning so I took it easy as I prepped Sofia for our sail. It was dead calm as I opened the companionway and stowed the door panels under the pile of cushions in the cabin. I untied our shore power, stowed the extension cord. Untied, rolled up, and stowed the mainsail cover. I untied the tiller and stowed it's cover in the cabin and unlocked the seat lockers. Hooked up the gas line to the tank and routed it out of the seatlocker, I played with the motor mount a bit to refamiliarize myself with its operation.

By this time John had called and said he was here. I walked up the dock to let him through the security gate. His friend Laura wasn't here yet and he'd go back to wait for her once he'd helped me prep the boat for sail and stowed his bag. At the boat he was surprised that I already had everything pretty much ready to go and he double checked my work. I don't mind. This is all still new enough to me that I won't begrudge a second set of eyes to make sure I did it right. He laughed and said I had the makings of a pretty good skipper, everything was shipshape and bristol this morning for the sail already. I gave him the card pass for the gate and he went back down the dock to wait on Laura.

I went into the cabin, again, marveling at how much more organized it was this weekend than I've seen it in the past. I think I'm going to try to keep it looking like this after every time I sail her. I sat on the port side, my back to the bow, leaning against the stack of cushions taken from the vberth and other seats. Propping my feet on the companionway hatch I sat in the shade and enjoyed the light breeze that was coming and going this morning. This wasn't a bad way to live life, not bad at all.

Soon I heard my minions, er, crew, John and Laura come down the dock. Their gear was quickly stowed, the motor started and John was pushing us off the dock. We were underway! Motoring out of the marina we thought we might go practice setting the anchor, but we don't have much wind at all today so we decided to just give sailing a shot. We spent a good bit of time bobbing along waiting for the wind to start. Looking out across the glassy water it was flat. You could see a dark line and ripples behind where a gust of wind would be. They would move towards us, away from us, sometimes make it to us and then the sails would fill and pull. Did I mention yet that the wind was light and variable?

While we were sailing John and Laura were going over knots again. Laura is wanting to learn to sail and John has been doing a little instruction on the side for her. Watching him show her a bowline and her trying to follow along I could tell she wasn't seeing what he was doing. Several times they would try, sometimes her's would come out right, often it woudln't and because of the way they were tying them it was hard to see where they were going wrong. I picked up the end of the main sheet and offered that maybe she could try to tie it like this and I showed her how I tie them. A lightbulb went of in her head and she followed along and tied one successfully. I offered the tiller to John and Laura and I worked on her knots some. Sometimes people just need to see a different way to do them. I told them the great thing about tying it the way I do, you don't even have to look at it to make it work out. I then held my hands towards them and looked at the bow of the boat and tied another. They said I was showing off. John watched me closely though while I showed her and said he had to try it my way because it sure seemed simpler than the way he had been taught. He had the biggest grin the moment he tied it like I did and said if he'd have known I was an 'uber knot person he'd have gone easier on me during the checkride. We had a good laugh over that.

We had made our way a good bit across the lake. John, having long ago turned the tiller back over to me, declared he was hot and decided to go for a float. We rigged a line so that he would be tethered to the boat just in case some of that elusive wind decided to make itself known. Lowered the swim ladder into the water and with a plunk he dropped over the side of the boat. I tossed him one of the throwable PFD seat cushions and he draped himself across it and regaled us with how much COOLER it was in the water than sitting in the cockpit. We were having a good time even if the wind wasn't helping much. We saw what looked like a sustained bit of wind coming out way and John reboarded as I trimmed the sails to catch what I could. This wind lasted for a good while longer this time and we got a couple of decent tacks out of it and made some progress before it tailed off again.

Now it was Laura's turn to decide she to see if John had been telling the truth. Off the side she went and swam around the boat at least twice before taking up camp draped on the PFD at the end of the line. The three of us chatted back and forth, watching the surface of the lake for when the next wind might arrive. Out in the distance we saw another puff coming, this one looking longer, stronger, than any of the others we'd seen yet this morning. I helped Laura back on board then we set the sails and were soon scooting along in a refreshing five to eight mile an hour breeze close hauled to the wind.

Back and forth we went, enjoying sailing for what it is. Sometimes it's about waiting for the wind to blow, sometimes it's about swimming around the boat, sometimes it's gliding across the water. Above all else, it's about enjoying being outdoors on the water with the sun and the wind.

Our time was running short so towards the marina we go while we still had wind to make progress. On our way there I asked Laura to pick up the end of one of our lines and tie me a bowline. She quipped back at me, "with my eyes closed?" I said "Sure! Why not!" She looked doubtful but then turned her head away and started her knot. A moment later she had in her hands a completed and nicely done bowline. She and John both cheered and she and I high fived over it. It was fun and really neat to watch her get it so soundly today.

We were fairly close to the marina by the time the wind died so in the water the motor goes. The jib is furled and the motor is started as the main is lowered. I call out to my crew, pointing to all the other sailboats in our area. Every last one of them has turned around and is now motoring into the marina. Someone must have a pretty good lunch on somewhere.

An easy job getting into the slip and John steps off to the dock to tie in the bow of the boat. The three of us make fast work in getting the boat cleaned up, all the lines stowed, the boards back in place on the companionway and we are soon walking out. It was just a bare 99 degrees when I got back to the car, and for a change I'm not dead tired after coming in from the boat. I must be getting more use to it.

Still, even with light winds it was an awful lot of fun. I even single handed sailed her for a bit while John and Laura talked working on their knots, working the tiller, the main and jib sheets all by myself as I tacked about. I wouldn't have believed I could do that this quickly. Every time I go out my skills increase another notch it seems. John told me today that with what he's seen the last several times we've sailed together he sees no problem with me taking just about anyone out on the water now.

That's really nice to hear from him.

It really was an awfully nice morning on the water today. Not a bad way to live life for a change at all.
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