Friday, November 25, 2011

One Hand for Yourself One for the Ship

The title of this post is from an excellent book by Tristan Jones which I read when I had dreams (delusions?) of sailing single handed around the Pacific. My reality - my boat, my "sea", and my challenges are much, much, smaller, but at least I am really sailing now, rather than dreaming about it.

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Last Sunday, my sweet crew took me up to lake Hinuma, helped me set up Bluesette, and let me go out single handed while she stayed ashore taking pictures. The weather was initially cloudy and windy as the previous day had been one of solid rain and wind. Luckily, the storm had passed more quickly than the meteorological gurus had prognosticated and things gradually improved throughout the day.

At "Mama's Kitchen", Mama and her two daughters took good care of us as always. The salad bar had fried sweet potatoes which were very tasty. Kimie went back for seconds on those.

I realize that food pictures aren't going to a big hit to my US readers on the day after Thanksgiving, but I'll post them for those who read this post at some later date when they are not satiated...

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Kimie had pasta with ham and asparagus while I had pasta with seafood. Ono-licious as we say in Hawaii (yummy, oishii).

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Although the American holiday of Thanksgiving as practiced in the USA is foreign to these shores, Mama's dessert featured pumpkin pudding pie with fruit.

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At the yacht harbor, we found that the new club house is not quite finished. Double pane windows are installed, though, and the interior walls and ceiling have been finished off nicely. It won't be long now.

Kimie was against me sailing today and reluctant at first to lend a hand with boat, noting that the last time she didn't want us to go out was the day we capsized. But I assessed the situation, noting the water and sky conditions, and determined it was a good day for it. So, she finally got behind my program and helped me to get Bluesette ready as well as familiarize herself with the camera she would be using.

Single handing the Lido 14 is not too difficult provided that the winds are moderate. Today was perfect - about 7 knots. Not that I didn't have my hands full at times, like when I retrieved the painter from overboard with the grappling hook, but mostly it was just wonderful sailing.

It was quite amazing being so alone. Not only was I alone in the boat, I was alone on the lake. Kimie saw one windsurfer when I launched. In any case, the usual "traffic" was absent. Not a sail in sight, no fishing boats, water skiers, or bleeping jet skis - not a bloody internal combustion engine to be heard. Shear bliss. My only companions were birds - seagulls, coots, ducks, - and the occasional jumping striped mullet.

From the boat, approaching Kimie standing on the levy at the yacht harbor and coming about looked like this:


(Kimie can be seen standing to the right of the boat ramp)


From the shore, it looked like this:


Later, I was approaching the harbor from the East, sailing downwind and into the sun. Rather than jibe, I elected to do a 270°, which from the camera on the boat looks a little dizzying.



What I didn't see, due to the sun, were a flock ducks nearby. Kimie captured them with the camera as most took to the air while I was turning.

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Ducks fleeing as Bluesette turns


Of course, as much as I enjoyed the solo, I missed Kimie's companionship. It isn't as much a matter of having a crew to perform tasks (though I do appreciate the great contribution she makes as crew) as it is being able to share the experience with her; the beauty, the joy, the laughter, the cursing.

And that is the crux of the matter. I enjoy sailing alone, but sharing the experience is even better. Having a crew who helps me to do both? Well, deep appreciation and gratitude fill my heart.

Until next, sweet sailing.

6 comments:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

I could look at and talk about those single-handed shots all day but I'm curious about the thread affixed to the forward bulkhead in the clip. That's a strange place for a wind indicator....? Also what kind of camera have you affixed to the boat? When Kimie's aboard will it pick up the cursing?

Pandabonium said...

Doc - Thanks.

The thread is small bit of line. I have found a certain kind of suction cup works very well for holding things in place. I have two sizes. Larger ones hold our anchor bag, whisker pole and paddle - the latter two with strips of velcro instead of line, while smaller ones are good for things like a small cooler, first aid kit, camera. The one in picture is just stuck there to hold a bit of line I use to hold the jib in place when I've taken it down so it doesn't slide off the deck and into the water at the dock.

The camera is a an Olympus μ Tough 8010 (waterproof). Called a Stylus Tough in the US. The only things that bother me about the camera are: 1) its a bit heavy for a such a small one; 2) it takes a long 4 seconds to turn on; 3) the flash is bright for taking underwater shots, which makes it much too bright for indoor pictures. Also, like other digital cameras it tries to correct the level of the picture, resulting in a tilting horizon when the boat heels over.

Yes it picks up cursing, but that is actually rare on Bluesette. :)

Martin J Frid said...

Sailing around the Pacific alone sounds like a major undertaking. It would be fun to read about how advanced the plans actually were!

Pandabonium said...

Martin - indeed it would be major. It was going to be my main mode of moving back and forth between Fiji and Tonga, plus exploratory trips.

I learned to use a sextant (though hardly anyone bothers nowadays) and looked into various boats and read books. That's as far as it went as my focus shifted to Japan.

Arkonbey said...

I never would have taken you for a duck frightener.

Interesting to see Tabasco. I know the world is awfully small but it still seems weird and cool.

I'm a Cholula man myself.

Pandabonium said...

Arkonbey - I know how to get down off a horse, but how do you get down off a duck?

I was surprised the first time I saw Tobasco here. If the food has too much spice for me, I don't get to taste the flavors.