Monday 6 June 2011

New sailor, new friend

     "How do you feel by the end of the day?"
                                               -The Beatles

     Need unsolicited advice, unwanted opinions, or unnecessary verbal assistance on whatever you have already half-finished?
   I'm your guy.
   (Hey, recognizing the problem is the first step toward solving it, isn't it?)
   Over the last decade or so, I have learned something- what can be really annoying in real life can have some real value in cyberspace.   Now, with the dozens of sailing and boating forums and message boards online, I have outlets for all of my opinionizing,  which eases the suffering of the long-suffering SWMBO.
    I have also managed to meet some interesting people along the way.

      One of them came sailing with us on Sunday.

    A few months back, Guy posted a question on Sailnet.  I answered, and we soon struck up a keyboard-to-keyboard conversation.  He had not sailed in decades, but had recently bought an Abbot 22 sailboat.

     Which he had yet to sail.

     Guy was signed up for a liveaboard sailing course on Georgian Bay at the end of  June.  In April I  extended an offer to provide some time on the water beforehand, if he wanted.  Often, interest wanes or life gets in the way, so I was pleased that Guy took me up on my offer.  Turns out, Guy had concerns:

     He had bought a boat, he had signed up for a course, but what if he didn't like it?  What if he got seasick? What if he couldn't do it?  He had last sailed a dinghy decades ago, and the experience had ended badly.
    In my experience, sailing with unknown greenhorns can go one of two ways.  It is either a great day with a new friend at the end of it eager to return, or it is a day cut short with a lot of cleaning at the dock, solo.

   We arranged to meet on the Dock at 11:00 am on Sunday.  Guy showed up right on time.

   That is a good sign.

   With a bottle of wine.

    That is an even better sign.

    Sunday was perfect for sailing.  Sunny, warm, with a decent breeze out of the West.  Our friend Pam is going to be joining us so while we await her arrival, I give Guy a quick safety lecture, outline our loose schedule for the day, and explain our first port of call is going to be the pump-out dock, as our holding tank was at the point where it would no longer hold.  He laughs and replies, "I get to experience all aspects of cruising life today, even the unpleasant realities!"
     I'm starting to like this guy, Guy.

     Pam arrives, we load, up, get squared away and depart.  Our pump-out is uneventful, (with the exception of the dock girl dropping her tip in the water.)  and we left the marina.  We motored around to the river mouth, and headed upstream for the nickel tour that every visitor on Whiskeyjack gets.  We pass under the lift bridge, past the Yacht Club, past Gamble's shipyard, and when the water starts to get skinny, we turn back downstream. I turn the wheel over to Guy, and he gets it figured out.  We have one close call with a dock, but we got it sorted, no contact was made, and Guy didn't panic.

   Yeah, this guy, Guy, is alright.

   We leave the river and motor out past the anchored boats ringing the beach,  raise the main and shut down the diesel. For the next five hours we wander about the bay, playing wiht sail trim and trading off jobs, from helm to jib sheets to railmeat and back. We saw no wind, we saw GREAT wind, we were sometimes dead in the water, other times hitting hull speed and hearing the waves chuckle along our hull.  It was one of the best days of sailing in recent memory.

  How did Guy fare?

He's well and truly hooked.

We hope to see him again next weekend.

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