Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Sunday Night Update - Lake Powell

It has been a pretty busy month. We are sitting quietly blogging and surfing with a warm fire nearby, and we are both pretty beat.

It started with a trip to Lake Powell - the Kokopelli Cruise and Messabout. This usually involves a weekend of beach camping and day sailing, then the more adventurous start up or down the channel, according to the current plan and sail, row or paddle anywhere between 5 and 10 miles, then camp and do it again. Outboards aren't prohibited, but sort of indicate your status as a polliwog, as Dad would probably say. We were pollywog's on this trip for the first day as there was basically no wind, and we cheated and used the motor for the second day too, and least for part of it as the wind was directly from the South, and that was where we were heading. So when we could sail, we did, but mostly motored as we wanted to get to the camp site in reasonable time. Monday night was our night to cook a meal for 24 people, and we didn't want it complicated by dark.

I had dutch ovened some chicken thighs and legs and then separated the meat out, and did my best to imitate Andrew and Caren's pulled pork sandwich filler with chicken. I put the meat in ziplocks and froze them solid. On Monday night, they still had a few ice crystals in them. We stopped by Green River and picked up some melons, and Annie cut them in chunks and made the melon shells into decorative bowls. The other ladies gave her the prize for presentation.

We had originally planned to stay all week and do more exploring, but we were invited to attend a special event in Salt Lake and had decided to leave on Wednesday, to make sure that we would be there on time. Then we heard that Wednesday was going to be cold with a lot of wind from the North - and we wanted to go back North to the marina. So we decided to leave on Tuesday while the wind was from the South.

When the wind is up, sailing is quite a bit of work. It is like having a strong and fairly unbroken horse on the end of a rope. By the end of the day, you can be pretty tired. We put a reef in the sail before we even raised it, and when the wind strengthened in the afternoon, we realized that we should have put one more in when we stopped for lunch. But all's well that ends well, even if it is a little too exciting in the middle. Annie might try to tell you a story of how the boat jibed and how we were thrown about like kittens in a barrel, but you know she sometimes like to dress up a otherwise boring experience with a little extra description.

This was the first real wind that we had to test the boat. How does she sail? With the wind from the side or back (downwind or on a reach) she sails like the dickens. Gaff rigged boats do that - there is a lot of sail, and away you go. Upwind, not so much. Gaff rigs aren't that great upwind (close hauled) and this boat is no exception. Plus, she has a lot of windage from the big roomy cabin and not such a skillful sailor at the helm. Handicaps abound. So I when we had to go upwind, I just kicked on the outboard, and we dropped the sail, and cheated. Maybe the new sail will be better, or maybe I will learn to trim it better. But we like the cabin, and when they found a baby rattle snake in some driftwood, Annie was glad we weren't sleeping ashore in a tent. Everything is a compromise, boat designs included. So far Annie happy with a snug, clean cabin, and doesn't seem to be overly put out that her husband is not a real red blooded sailor and has to use a motor to go upwind. So, if it doesn't bother her, and she doesn't think me too much less of a man, then it doesn't bother me.

We got the boat back on the trailer, despite the waves trying to knock it off and got home pretty late, with something to think about during the many long days to come back in the beige cubicle.

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy. The canoeists have quite a few miles on them. I'm sure none of them will see 60 again, and most of them won't see 65, yet they paddled over 18 miles on Monday in rough water in windy conditions. I was pretty amazed.

Mike and Michelle are in their Sea Pearl. Mike is a retired software engineer, Michelle is a midwife that goes up to Alaska in the winter to deliver babies in remove villages.

This is Jim Thayer. Jim has been sailing for many years. Here he is, 76 or 77 years old, with a bad heart and an cryogenic oxygen bottle built into the boat. His son and grandson came along but Jim sails his own boat. Quite a remarkable guy.

And here are a couple of newbies. This picture is actually from last year, but we haven't changed that much, and it is the same boat.


Annie of Blue Gables said...

I do love the snug, clean cabin. I kept it ship shape every day, swabbing the decks, etc. I also learned how to hoist the sail and drop it too. When bringing it down, I was always in a rush because the wind was getting strong, and it took a strong arm to keep it from getting away until I could secure it. I noticed a bit of soreness the next few days after we got home.
Thanks for the great ride, Sailor. hugs xxoo

Andrew said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. We need to do another river trip someday, eh?