04/18/2010, White Oak River/Longpoint Landing
Sunday Sanctuaries has officially become an expeditionary field guide. New paddlers joined us this weekend to explore the White Oak River and it's peace. A friend of mine had some friends visiting whom are dealing with the hardship of terminal disease and wanted a relaxing, peaceful, therapeutic experience for everyone. 'Peace like a River' was the prescription for the day. We paddled up river investigating small tributaries, farm field landings, old-growth cedars, columns of cypress and hydroponic gardens. The coolness of the river and the heating of the afternoon sun provided the perfect environment for laughs, stories, song and river whistling. Upon arriving at the end of a tributary filled with whirling butterflies and whiz-by insects we paused for a treat of our trademark 'fruit of our labor' zip-lock tradition. Each paddler was gifted with a bag filled with 7 fresh fruits: raspberries, blackberries, green grapes, globe grapes, raisins and nuts.
I noticed the difference in the mood of the river from morning to afternoon and commented that the wildlife were much more active and vocal in the mornings but must have been napping in the lazy, hot afternoon.
It was great practice to guide new-comers to the paddling world and gift them with a calm-soothing experience.
My love affair with Multihulls began so long ago when I was invited to a collegiate race in Toledo, Ohio sponsored by the local sailboat dealership that was attempting to market beach catamarans to rising college graduates. It worked. Although I had been raised on traditional wooden hulls, designed by some of the best names in yacht design and was transitioning to small dinghy racing, I had no idea something quite so glorious as flying & skipping across the water was possible...until the day I flew a hull~
Nothing in my mono-hull, one dimensional upbringing compared to this....this was beyond exhilarating.
The winds were light the morning I grabbed my crew and set out for a wonderful day on these new fast-cats. It took us some time to figure out how to make her go in light air, but it became apparent that our weight and agility had everything to do with finding her 'sweet spot' of power. In our exuberance, we took her to the edge and promptly fell over, which was the greatest learning curve as a skipper....'one must learn the delicate balance of unleashed thrust and then reining her in for maximum velocity'.
When everyone had given up for the day and headed for the showers and libations in the clubhouse, I remained on the beach, watching and waiting. Scanning the horizon for a breath of air and gazing upon the line-up fleet of potential energy sitting at rest on the beach. Ah-ha, it finally rose, a warm-evening off-shore breeze caused a clatter of halyards on the steady group of masts. One rocket-boat was still rigged and was rocking in the new breeze, awaiting someone to reach her in time for lift-off. Another sort had been waiting for the breeze at the other end of the beach, our eyes met and we knew we had to set off to feel the sensation of catamaran flight. I will never forget that first evening flying a hull in a trapeze over the cool Lake Erie waters as the sun set and the off-shore breeze connected two strangers and took them aloft~
It is with that same feeling of pure aesthetic adrenaline that I watched the 33rd Americas Cup and remembered that first time. Multihulls are pure potential energy and I was honored to see the spectacle for my first witness to an Americas Cup match. And beyond the international venue, the multihulls of the world trembled in their amas as the attention was focused on their magnificent power, beauty & grace. The Americas Cup has been won back to American shores by a multihull~
|Cabin Fever Musing||
01/03/2010, Cold Crystal Coast
The cup of water I had left outside was frozen half-full. (a sign) My thoughts exactly. I see this new year as a chance to reach out and attain some of those dreams floating around in the back of my head for years and even decades, waiting for their turn. I've spent a lifetime, seemingly, waiting on others to come, go or grow. And after some time alone here, reflecting over winter break, I've come to realize, the waiting is over. I recalled one particular memory from this past summer that still stands out in my mind, like a beacon, an intuition, a talisman.
I had just come in from the outer bank island, across the sound, on a beautiful northern broad reach on a balmy mid-summer morning. She had handled herself like a thousand other sprits'l skiffs who had sailed the sound before her...solid, steady and frisky. She behaved quite companion-like, as I lowered her rig and rolled her up on her trailer and hauled her up the ramp in front of the Morris Marina Grill. While readying the sprits'l for road travel, I noticed quite a few ladies walking into the Grill and thought, must be some kind of women's group meeting this mornin'. So when I stepped into the Grill to pay my respects and pay for the token ramp fee, I was pleasantly surprised by a lively group of women sitting at the bar there. Of course they took interest in my being there and were quite aware I had just sailed in...and one of them spoke up to confirm my place among them and a silence fell, "so, ya sailed all the way from the island by yourself did ya?" And all the faces turned my way to hear the response. I shook my head in agreement, pointing out the door at my humble wooden steed and responded, "well, me & the Heather Jane". And they all took a liking to me, their approval marked by a nod, a smile on their faces and a return to their lively conversations. I had won their approval, the Heather Jane & I were amongst Water Women and felt at home.
The freedom to do as you please is a delicate dance...especially for a woman. Knowing when to dance and when to sit out and wait for the next good song that inspires you is critical to a life of happiness and a steady diet of soulfood.
Sailing does that for me. I don't sail everyday, but I think about it. And the anticipation keeps my senses keen on the wind and my focus on the next adventure destination or better yet, the next vessel that can handle the circumstances. This constant vigil I play out day in and day out is the rythm of my days....and I'm hoping to fill even more of them in new waters over the next half-century~
|Cabin Fever Musing||
11/30/2009, White Oak River
..and so we finished the year on the same river we began the year, paddling up the White Oak River excited about finding what was around the next bend.
And all I ask is a dog and a boat to carry her by~
09/20/2009, Cedar Island
We lead the 40 mile race for the first half, blasting down the sound to the channel. Lost all ground trying to needle a loaded down catamaran through a narrow channel with an intense headwind. Exiting the channel and into the full brunt of the Core Sound Easterly blast, our reefed down main riped at her grommets causing the old sail to fold. We limped back to the half-way ramp under headsail and called it a day~
|small boat adventures||
08/10/2009, Lake Erie, Cleveland Waterfront
Summertime is not complete without returning to my home-waters on the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes to sail with my father. This year was very low-key, in tune with the mood of this past year, as my mom sleeps down below. It means a lot to him to have the companionship of a fellow sailor onboard. I will be forever grateful for the blessings sailing has brought to my life and the memories of long voyages to the islands as a child~
|small boat adventures||