Waiting to sail away

04 May 2015 | Lake Rathbun
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27 February 2014 | Indianola, Iowa

“We don’t need no stinking tug boats!”

28 July 2014 | Lake Rathbun
Gene/ Day 1 5-7knot winds: Day 2 15-20knot winds
I would like to say that I wrote this post while I waited in the early morning for the sun to rise by my own choice. I would like to impress you with flowery language describing the beauty of the still marina at night with no wind, but I can’t. I was not up by my own choice because the cabin of Clair de Lun is a HOT, MUGGY, PIT when there is no air movement. The temperature is a good 30 degrees higher in the cabin then on the deck. So here I sit, three in the morning wishing I had a cup of coffee and reminiscing about the day.

With my friend and college roommate, Steve scheduled to arrive at the lake around ten, Amy and I prep the boat for forecasted light winds and the scheduled maintenance of repairing to the jammed center board. Steve is an old hat to sailing; sailing with his dad on Hobbies in Colorado and the Midwest and on larger sailing vessels on the north east coast line. When he arrived to the marina he was welcomed aboard sailor manners requires, and we were off onto the lake. Steve and Amy took to the tasks to preparing to raise the Main and Genoa. Due to the light winds we planned on sailing to a protected area for the new experience of anchoring and free diving the keel to try and free the center board. Steve was a great help and instructed me through the procedures of turning the boat into the wind and dropping the jib, effectively stopping us within 15 feet of the shore. Steve throw the bow anchor and I tossed out the aft (rear) anchor with enough line to allow for proper holding power. I was first into the lake with the intent to find out how shallow or deep we currently sat. To my surprise, we were only five feet deep. With the depth established, Steve took the more reckless lake entry style of jumping in, Canon Ball style. While Amy remained in the boat, Steve and I dove to the center board to try and manually drop it. After frequent raising and dropping, as well as Amy’s increasing frustration at not being in the water, we figured that the center board was raised with to much force the weekend prior. It works just fine now. The next hour was spend swimming and joking with my old friend. Than the sky turned dark, and the clouds looked full and ready to ruin or great day. We brought up the anchors and started the motor. Now, most of my friends and family know that sailing has intrigued me do to art and history of the sport, but a nice perk for me is the low fuel costs. I hate paying for gas! This will come back to bite me later. We had to motor all the way in to the marina from half way down the lake. We never dried out from our swim, because the rain fell the entire way. We made it back though and got cleaned up and changed for the party on North Dock. The parties theme was “Vegas baby!” The members of North Dock went all out. They had dancing girls (friends from the yacht club in bikinis and huge tail feathers and head dresses), they had the Little White Chapel sign on one boat, and a Circus Circus boat full of clowns (Acting and dressing the part). Each boat had food, drink, and good conversation with much laughter. We left early and headed back to our quite dock to get rest for the great sail in the morning. The weather man promised higher winds the next day, and Steve and I were looking forward to the heeling the next day (Amy was not though).

The Next Day……

The winds promised arrived, we motored out onto the lake and into the wind so Steve and Amy could raise the sails. Amy took the tiller and worked on becoming comfortable with the heeling (to her credit she has come a long way from when she started). We decided to end our sail early, due to Steve’s 3 hour drive home. As we pull into the cove the problems started. Amy who has never worked the sails learned the all important lesson, “Never let go of the hosting (raising) sheet (rope) for the main or the jib unless its secured, and I mean secured.” We looked up to the middle of the mast and the host is 15 feet in the air, and by the time we arrived to the dock it is all the up the mast, about 25-30 feet in the air. That was soon realized that the host sheet was the least of our problems. We dropped our sails as we entered to cove and realized that our motor would not start. The boat was either low on battery (we ran our new bilge pump, to empty the water from the hull of the boat.) Or we ran out of gas during our long motor in the day before. We decided that we would sail in to the marina, instead of getting a tow from the patrol boat that passed us. Steve who had the most sailing experience took the helm and I worked the sheets for the jib as we tacked all the way up the cove. Later, we found out that the members of the South Dock watched in horror and awe as we sailed into our slip with only slight damage to the bow. We closed up the boat and took lunch, when we ran into one of our spectators from South Dock and was requested to come down an tell our story to our boating friends. They watched as we performed the difficult maneuvers and considered coming out to rescue us, but cheered when we did what many considered impossible. After many “pat on the back” moments for Steve we had to go and Amy and I said our good byes to him. Later I thought of a question I ask Steve before, “what is the difference between a Captain and a Skipper?” I think this experience has provided the answer. We will be dropping the mast to retrieve the main host sheet, and working on the battery connections when we return to our girl. There is definitely a reason to start with a cheap, older, learning vessel for new sailors. Fair Winds till next time.


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Vessel Name: Clair de lune
Vessel Make/Model: 1982 25' O'Day s/v
Hailing Port: Indianola, Iowa
Crew: Amy and Gene
About: We are beginning our journey from land based people to sailors. We are starting our blog as a way to share our story (which was inspired by many other bloggers on this site) and measure our own progress.
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Clair de lune's Photos -

sailors in training

Who: Amy and Gene
Port: Indianola, Iowa