Day 474 – Gone Boating
Months ago a guy I’d met at the Gabriel dog park asked if I knew how to sail. I told him that, in fact, I did and that I even had some experience crewing on a sailboat. He then asked if I’d be interested in joining him and some other folks for four, or so, days cruising around Washington’s San Juan Islands. The rest, as they say, is history.
A fantastic opportunity I remain grateful for owner and captain Sean Downey and other dog park guy/crew Dave Sutton for making this possible. Over three days we circumnavigated Orcas Island. I’ll just shut up and show some photos, as usual, click for bigger versions.
In no particular order here are some tidbits I acquired:
- Sailing requires lots of strength, balance, awareness, focus and care.
- The reality of being on a 40-foot sailboat for days at a time is very different from the idea of being on a 40-foot sailboat for days at a time.
- The Pearson 40 is an excellent piece of marine engineering.
- Don’t overlook the importance of a good pillow.
- Marine sanitation is cumbersome at best.
- Items not nailed down
maywill become projectiles when tacking.
- When the wind is kicking, do not be out on deck or in the cockpit if you’re feeling sluggish or tired.
- Sleep is not a luxury, but a requirement.
- Minimum of three points of contact with the boat when heeled. No exceptions.
- There are no ropes on a sailboat.
- Investigate all odd sounds, especially gurgling of any sort.
- Two-speed, self-tailing winches are your friend.
- Clean as you go.
- Is that valve closed? Are you sure?
- Coil the sheets after each tack change. Really.
- Know the wind direction with your eyes closed.
- Just as in flying use two points of reference for navigation.
- Drink water, lots of it, often.
- Know where north is at all times.
- Communicate clearly with shipmates.
- Even in coastal waters, emergency help is a long way off. Keep that in mind when slicing vegetables with sharp knives.
- Don’t be hesitant, be decisive.
- The stove is gimbaled, the galley work surfaces are not.