|Heather and Walt
April 18, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010, was a great day for
sailing on Canyon Lake. We had thunderstorms
and heavy rains for most of the week. The lake
was up several feet. The lake was up so much
that a ramp extension had to be placed to the
lower road at the Canyon Lake Marina. The
courtesy dock, beside the boat ramp, was under
several feet of water.
The wind was fresh at 10 mph (plus) from the
northwest. I met Heather and Walt at the marina.
They arrived early so they could take a tour of
the marina; surveying many of the sailboats.
After meeting them near the marina store we
made obligatory last stops at the rest rooms,
then proceeded to the boat. The lesson began
with safety instruction covering moving about the
boat, PFDs, emergency communication, basic
knots and moved on to predeparture rituals. One
last rest room call, and we were ready to go.
Since the wind was blowing steady from the
northwest, we moved the boat out of the slip to
the end of the B-wing. Moving the boat to the end
of the B-wing allowed us to tie the boat off at the
bow to an outside cleat so the bow could point
into the wind as we raised the main sail. Once we
raised the main and checked over the boat to
insure all was ready, I pushed us off. My
daughter, Stacy, was at the helm. She steered us
around so that we cleared the E-wing easily.
Upon clearing the E-wing, she swung the boat
over on a beam reach to clear the entrance to
the marina. The key to sailing out of a busy
marina is prior planning. You have to know where
you are, where the wind is coming from, how
much wind there is, and how to proceed to get
where you want to go. As we cleared the break
water, we noticed the boat was not moving
right...in fact the boat was moving left. As we
moved forward, we were also drifting to the
leeward. Oops; we had forgotten to drop our
centerboard. A quick release of the centerboard
corrected our problem, we gained speed, and
entered the cove.
The wind was brisk so we sailed on the main
alone. We concentrated on practicing tacking
and maintaining stability. Both Heather and
Walt picked up tacking quite well. There are
three approaches to maintaining an even keel.
First, you can shift the crew to windward side of
the boat. Second, you can let out the main sheet
to spill air. Third, you can steer into the wind. As
we were out in the cove, the wind picked up
speed frequently allowing us to adjust the
balance of the boat frequently. At times, there
were white caps, suggesting the wind speed
topped 15 mph.
After having both Heather and Walt practice
tacking and maintaining balance, we sailed for
the mooring buoys to play "Good Buoy". Upon
completing my demonstration, I sensed a change
in the weather and noted a buildup of dark
clouds to the northwest. That, coupled with a
drop in the wind speed, suggested it was a good
time to head back in.
Many boats were out on the lake. We had lots of
opportunities to review rules of Right-of-way.
Heather and Walt seem have a great
interest in sailing . It was a pleasure sailing
with them. I look forward to sailing with