The Joys of Upwind Sailing
09 December 2009 | Somewhere in the Caribbean Sea
The lovely beam reach lasted only a short time and then we turned upwind to head to St. Croix, which is the closest we estimate we can get to Antigua. A funny thing about sailing...I remember thinking way back when that if you're headed upwind the boat would heel less and be more comfortable than if you were broadside to the wind on a beam reach. It seemed intuitive to me (a non-intuitive sailor, for sure!) that the wind at your side would more powerfully push you over than the wind at the bow of your boat. Nope. THE most uncomfortable point of sail is the close-haul, where you're sailing as close to the wind as possible. The boat heels uncomfortably and there is so much tension in the boat that moving about requires the utmost effort. Imagine you're in the back of a rollercoaster and you're hungry (or you have to pee), but the food (or the toilet) is in the front. The rollercoaster is hurtling down and around as you painstakingly climb from one car to the next, a handhold here, a foot there. Finally, you reach your destination: let's use the toilet example. (Sorry, dear reader, but it's Season 3 and you're still following the Scappatella blog. You've made it through Pole Dancing, Sex on the Boat, and Strange Sightings at Curacao Marine, so I'm assuming you're ok with a little bit of toilet talk?)
Ok, where were we...oh yeah, first, reach down into the belly of the rollercoaster car - don't look down or you'll get sick! - and find the teeny little handle that opens the toilet valve. Don't mistake it for the big handle that diverts the flow into the holding tank! (You know who "you" are!). You're grasping around - you know it's there - ahhhh, there it is! Open the valve, and now have a seat. Don't mind the water sloshing around. Fortunately you can brace yourself by putting your feet against the far wall and holding onto the grab rails of the car as the rollercoaster lurches one way, and then the other.
Oh, are you a bit queasy? Ready to bolt back to the rear car of the roller-coaster? Sorry, but you're not finished. Don't forget to pump the toilet 30 times and then reach back down to find that teeny little valve again and turn it off. Otherwise the next time you want to visit this car there may be seawater below you, making an unpleasant experience all the more, er, unpleasant. Finally, you're finished and - if you're like us - thoroughly seasick. You bash your way back to the rear of the rollercoaster, perhaps giving yet another offering to the sea...
Wanna come sailing on Scappatella?