Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Lido 14 and a Cloud to Steer Her By

Saturday was a beautiful day for sailing Bluesette, with the temperature in the high 80s F, blue skies with splashes of cumulus clouds, and a steady, cooling breeze off the ocean at about 6 mph.


As it was late morning when we arrived at the lake, we opted to eat lunch first. Neither of us was very hungry, so we went for lighter fare than usual at Mama's - I had an egg sandwich on a bagel with fruit, while Kimie had fried rice, chicken and curried potato patties. The meals included a visit to the salad bar, but no dessert. Delicious as always.

Please allow time for all nine pictures to load. Click to view individual pics.

We had our first serious run-in with a bamboo pole. We were on a down wind leg very close to the north shore. A clump of bamboo poles lay ahead and slightly to starboard and I was planning to do a 270° turn before reaching them, so I ignored Kimie's repeated warnings of "stakes!" "stakes!" "oooooh, stakes!".

It turned out that she was referring not to the clump of poles that I had fixated on, but a single one dead ahead. The 1 inch diameter stake was set in the lake bottom like all the others used for holding net traps, and stuck out about two meters above the surface. I hit it first with the port bow and it slid along the rail until hitting the main and boom which rode over it, bending the bamboo, but pushing the boom in toward the boat as well. As it popped back up from under the boom, it was between the boom and the outstretched mainsheet, which it snagged. Fortunately, although it was pulling the boom back again, it bent over once more and freed itself from the mainsheet without causing us to jibe.

I quickly executed the 270 and we were on our way back toward the center of the lake. We argued briefly about what Kimie should have said to warn me of the specific hazard, but I soon realized that no matter how she put it, I probably would have hit the pole anyway because I was so focused on the large stand of poles. We laughed about it. Situational awareness lesson learned.

"Begging your pardon, captain, but do you happen to notice the row of bamboo stakes off the starboard bow? Please try to avoid these, sir."

The striped mullet were jumping and I finally managed to get a picture of one in mid-flight.

(The fish is in the lower left corner.)

After washing down Bluesette and putting her away, we headed for the showers. Kimie was drying off in the ladies shower room and I was still in the shower in the gents, when I thought I heard a freight train coming. No freight trains around Hinuma, this was an earthquake. A fairly big one. Awkward place to be and fortunately it was over soon. No damage, except briefly to our nerves.


We are used to frequent quakes off our coast, as they have increased in frequency by a factor of twenty since March 11th, but we usually only feel them as a level 1 or 2 on the Japanese "Shindo" intensity scale of 1 to 7. Saturday's quake was magnitude 4.8 on the Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 11 miles from where we were. We experienced it as a 4 on the Shindo scale.

That just shows we should have stayed out on the water longer. ;^)

As for the title of this post, you may ask, "Why a cloud to steer her by and not a star?" Well, we're on a small lake, in daylight, with nowhere in particular that we need to go. A cloud is as good a guide as any for a lovely afternoon sail. Don't you think so?

Until next, sweet sailing.


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Before we moved to the beach about a dozen of years ago, we could afford (ahem) better accommodations which included a pool outside and a fish tank inside. We measured our California earthquakes by how much water splashed out onto the pool deck. That worked until a bigger one came along that splashed water out of our fish tank. When that happened, I was really sorry I wasn't on my Laser in the local lake where I don't think I would have noticed it at all! Moral: Earthquakes are just one more reason to spend as much time in your boat on the water as you can!

Sandscraper said...


When you are on the water, not only are you protected from earthquakes, but "the gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent sailing".

Pandabonium, as far as the earthquake from a car video, if you noticed, one person bailed out of their car while the other elected to stay in theirs. The fact we got a video from the person in the car, probably means he/she survived.

Don Snabulus said...

The lighter fare is still beautifully presented and it is always good when partners communicate openly. It makes life easier to know another and oneself and work with it.

I am also glad the earthquake scare was short lived.

Pandabonium said...

Doc - that's what I take away from it. Either that or the lesson is to get sloshed.

Sandscraper - Sailing time is not deducted? Do you have that in writing? :)

The blurb on that video says the driver got out and survived, and the camera was mounted on the dash and kept recording. Scary footage in any case. Thanks for sending it.

Don - gave myself a dope slap for tunnel vision on that one, but only after I gave up on trying to defend myself. The communication was good. We did a lot of laughing Saturday.

Intensity 4 can be scary - in fact that is part of the definition - but what made is so for me is having gone through 3/11, which was "5 plus" in Kashima, six months ago and wondering if this one would get that bad.