Saturday, November 7, 2009

Captain K

K has taken an all day sailing course. Her instructor was Mr. Hakuta, owner of the Hinuma Yacht Harbor. I was all for it as my own knowledge is so limited and also because I knew it would be so much easier for her to learn the concepts in Japanese rather than in English.

While she sat down in the club house with Mr. Hakuta, I went out on Bluesette, sailing her single handed for the first time. The last time I sailed a Lido 14 by myself was as a boy in hull number 443. It was fun, and interesting to see what the boat handled like when 105 lbs lighter. I have to admit, though, that I missed K's company. Not just her help on the jib and hiking out to balance the boat, but as someone I am used to sharing the experience with. That was a large part of the reason for choosing a Lido 14 over a smaller boat - for us to sail together.

When I saw them walking out to the boats, I came back in and docked to find out what the plan was, and watched them set up the training boat, a Yamaha "Sea Martin". The boat is designed for students and is similar in layout to the larger Sea Hopper so that students can easily move up.

I got back in Bluesette and went out again. For the first time, we were both sailing on the lake in different boats. I made sure to sail to another area of the lake so as not be a distraction. When I saw them coming back toward the dock, I headed back too. There are two ramps and docks at Hinuma Yacht Harbor. One for boats on a sendai (four wheeled berth) and one for lighter boats which can be launched from a hand cart. So as K docked by one ramp, I tied up at the other, and we took a break for lunch.

This day we had brought bento lunches with us in order to save time. The Yacht club has stone picnic tables with a nice view of the lake, so we ate outdoors. As we did we saw the high school students coming in from practice on their three Flying Juniors.

A well camouflaged kamakiri - praying mantis - sat on the hedge before us and seemed to be begging for a bite of our lunch. Sorry, pal, we don't have any insects to offer you.

Then it was time to go back out.

K and Mr. Hakuta sailed together for a time and then K tried it solo. She had a little trouble at first, getting the boat into "irons" (for non-sailing readers, that's when to point the boat too close to the wind, the sails just luff and you lose the speed you would need to turn, so you are kind of stuck). She worked her way out of it, but not without first having her sailing cap knocked into the lake where it remains.

I watched her as she sailed to the far northeast part of the lake and back. Mr. Hakuta went out on his jet ski to watch and offer instructions if needed. She did just fine.

Needless to say, I was happy and proud for her. As I marveled at the sight of the sun's rays lighting up a cloud to the west and casting shadows and sun beams with the silhouette of Mt. Tsukuba in the distance, I suddenly had a disturbing thought - what if she enjoyed it so much that she decides she wants her own sailboat to sail by herself? Oh, dear.

She was waiting for me on the dock with a big smile on her face as I slowed the boat and approached.

Lucky for me, K doesn't want her own boat. She is very glad she spent the day learning more about sailing and how to manage a boat on her own - though she admitted it was pretty scary to solo. Mr. Hakuta presented her with a booklet on sailing and a length of line with which to practice tying knots. Perhaps in the spring she'll do another all day course. For now she can enjoy sailing all the more and we can take turns at the tiller. Aye, aye, Capt. K. We'll go on learning together while we sail Bluesette.

Until next, sweet sailing.


O Docker said...

I've been encouraging my wife to take sailing lessons for a long time.

She's been through a women's sailing 'seminar' where a group spent a few hours on a cruising boat with an instructor, but not a formal program that let her skipper a boat. She's finally decided to sign up for real lessons and I think I'm as jazzed about that as she is.

Don Snabulus said...

Good job K! I am glad the weather cooperated.

Pandabonium said...

O Docker - that's great. I can imagine you are indeed jazzed.

Don - K says thank you. The weather was just right for her first solo.