Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pancake Hot Cake Sunday

Sundays I usually cook "hotto keiki" (hot cakes/pancakes) for breakfast and today was no exception. But oddly enough, the terms applied equally well to lake Hinuma. It was hot and flat as a pancake this morning.

We set sail at 11 am expecting to go out for two hours then break for lunch. "Set sail" was not an accurate term as there was hardly any wind to act upon the sails. We resorted to the paddle to keep from drifting back into the dock, which is to say, the captain ordered the crew to paddle. After a few minutes we stowed the paddle and watched as the wind vane spun around in circles atop the mast. Most of this action was not due to wind, but a few random power boat wakes that rocked the mast occasionally.

Can we say "flat as a pancake" boys and girls? Can we say "boring"?

Did I mention it was hot? And humid. We're talking 33 degrees C (91° F) with 84% humidity. Uhg. In half an hour of "sailing" we made about 300 meters progress and went through a box of orange juice and a bottle of barley tea. The sun was merciless with no wind to cool us and it felt like being adrift on a lifeboat - "please Capt. Bligh, another sip of water, sir?"

John Hodiak and Tallulah Bankhead in "Lifeboat" (1944)

As happens on deserts, the one and only other sailboat foolish enough to attempt sailing appeared as a mirage. Oh wait, no, the picture is just out of focus. Well, it seemed like a mirage.

The slightest puff gave us some encouragement on the way back to the dock, although the captain ordered the crew to move the jib from port to starboard and back more than a few times without any effect whatsoever on the progress of the boat. A very light wind did finally nudge us into the dock around noon. I could see some ripples here and there on the lake, and promised Kimie that there would be some wind after we had lunch. Having already committed to paying a launching fee, I had no choice but hope that was the case.

We were a sight entering Mama's Kitchen, our clothes drenched in sweat, but we had only one change of clothes with us, which we would need later, and thankfully, Mama welcomed us "as-is".

Kimie had pasta with eggplant and shrimp and I had mackerel in red miso sauce with some ginger on top. Oh, was that ever tasty! My rice was topped with "shirauo" - a tiny white lake fish caught here in Ibaraki prefecture.

We each went through two glasses of iced water in addition to iced coffee or iced tea. Did I mention that it was hot today? Nice and cool in Mama's though.

When we walked out the door of the restaurant, it hit us. A breeze! A nice steady breeze. Captain Pandabonium's reprieve.

Back on the water, we had a great time with the wind getting up to around 7 or 8 knots. We were actually moving, even hiking out. It was still hot - we went through the rest of the orange juice and a bottle of water - but at least we were really sailing and having fun.

We watched a loon watching a fish from a perch on a fallen bamboo fishnet pole until we got too close for his comfort and he decided to forget about the fish.

Kimie made a video of a jet ski pulling a raft loaded with people while a second jet ski made passes to splash them. Looked like something that would be fun for all of about five minutes. Yawn. At least the video does show that we were moving right along.

Fish were jumping a lot today, especially small ones, and just after we tied up back at the dock, this little one - about 15 cm (6 inches) long - jumped into the boat! Oh boy, sashimi for dinner! Not. I threw him back.

I also learned a new sailing technique today - walking on the bottom next to the boat. Well, actually the fellow was retrieving a moored boat, but it looked pretty strange.

Mr. Hakuta masterfully put Bluesette back on her sendai as his granddaughter watched from the water and his son went after a powerboat at the end of the dock that had just returned.

After washing down Bluesette, Kimie posed for this picture.

When given the order to start pushing the boat back to the tie down space, she turned so fast that her hat stayed facing the camera! What a responsive crew member! ;^)

Until next, sweet sailing.


Don Snabulus said...

I am glad the wind picked up. I am completely useless in that kind of heat and I know it would be tough for me to get through a Japanese summer (or anywhere east of the Rockies in the US). I can deal with heat, but not humidity.

As always, lunch looked wonderful.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Heat + humidity + the assurance the water is 70 deg causes me to pass out and fall over board. Repeatedly

Pandabonium said...

Don - living in the tropics for 30 years, I thought I used to it, but this is hotter and more humid even than Hawaii. And at least there we always had a good breeze.

Doc - Me too, except in the case of Hinuma, it's so shallow that it warms up into the high 70's and doesn't offer much relief.

O Docker said...

One of the reasons we're sailing a keelboat now is that we gave up on inland lakes in California's central valley - where we used to sail our dinghy.

Typical summer temps are around 100 F (locals joke about it being a dry heat). Often, the wind would die completely mid-lake and we'd have to paddle back, while being buzzed by Evinrudes and jet skis.

SF Bay is 90 minutes away and 40 degrees cooler most summer days, with big, reliable winds.

Pandabonium said...

O Docker - That would be discouraging. My lesson from this day is to wait and see before launching the boat - not just go out on the water hoping for wind.

bonnie said...

Yay wind.

Pandabonium said...

Bonnie - I was thankful. I might never had heard the end of it otherwise.... Next time we WAIT until after the wind pics up before we launch.

me too said...

Hi Pandabonium.
I've really enjoyed following your blog. We recently acquired an ancient Lido (hull #2211) named 'Me Too.' Got some work to do before we can sail her, but having fun getting ready. Your site has been inspiring. Looks like you have a great crew too. Where'd she get her ball cap ('Bluesette')?

Pandabonium said...

Me Too -
Congratulations on acquiring a Lido 14! I'm very pleased that you enjoy my humble blog. By the way, you may find the Tuning and Racing guides as well as the Lidopedia helpful in getting your boat ready to sail. They are all linked in the "Other Ports of Call" section of the blog.

The Bluesette cap is from Lids -
They offer the most customizing options that I've found and have great tools online for designing your own cap.

Have a great time on the water.

Me Too said...

Thanks Pandobonium. We're stoked to get sailing soon. I will have a close look at that Tuning Guide text linked to your site, as I am considering upgrading my main traveler from the old screwed-on transom-edge system to the more durable triangular rope system. I think this is referred to as a 'Crosby-style traveler.' I've seen a few older model Lidos that have been modified to this new system with good results, but only from afar and in online photographs. There doesn't seem to be any particular 'how-to' instructions available. A diagram of the system would be incredibly helpful. Any suggestions? Thanks again for your wonderful site.
PS- I traveled through Japan once to visit some of their paper-making villages; it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Beautiful country inns. Sailing your Lido there must be very special! All my best!

Captain Me Too

Pandabonium said...

Captain Me Too -

Glad you got to see some rural parts of Japan. Really a different world from the big cities. I feel very fortunate to have discovered Hinuma yacht harbor.

I've read descriptions of the traveler set up, but just reading without images or diagrams doesn't give me a clear picture in my mind, so I can relate to your situation.

I would GUESS that one would drill holes in the gunwales close to the transom and tie a knot in the end of the bridle after running through the hole to hold it. (That is how the bridle on the 6000 series is attached.)

Be sure the top of the knotted loop in the center of the traveler, where the mainsheet attaches, is no more than 22" from the bottom of the hull at center.

The end of the mainsheet is split at the end and braided around a shackle which is attached to the traveler loop when setting up the boat. I plan to go sailing tomorrow and will take some close up pics for you.

The Lido 14 Class Association ( has a Yahoo Group (Lido14Group) and members can post questions there. Or simply email .

Some people (both classic and 6000 boats) have an adjustable traveler. Never seen one. You might ask DoubleWave about that setup - I think they sell kits for it.

Me Too said...

Thanks a lot Pandabonium.

Good sailing!

C. Me Too

Pandabonium said...

Me Too -
Just posted a few pics at the top of the blog. I'll be writing a post about our Saturday sail, so the pics of the traveler will be #2 post soon. It is titled "Lido 14 Traveler".
Hope that helps.