Sailing Adventures: Less Safe on Land

We extended an offer to a few different guests for a Sunday morning sail, but everyone had prior engagements. So it was to be a family sail. We opted to wake up early, and to launch from the Lily Pond Boat Launch – which was nearer to the opening of the Portage Canal.

During setup, the boat was damp and cold. It took two attempts to get the mast raised properly, but after that everything went smoothly.

There’s a lot of trees around this launch…

We motored to the breakers and anchored (But in hindsight we probably could have sailed). We viewed an eagle, loon, and several seagulls. We may have an incorrect anchor, because we were slowly drifting around. We had snacks, and listened to some music — it was relaxing

The loon promptly disappeared under water
Hazel has seen us up at the bow and wanted to give it a try.

Once we’d drifted far enough, we decided to raise the sails. First it was just the main – the wind was low – so we followed with the jib. We began cruising down the channel slowly (but comfortably). With the wind at our backs, the jib had trouble picking a side, which was okay as it made good practice for us.

Both sails are out!

We were able to sail all the way back to our boat launch, which felt like a minor success. We were doing so well, we decided to go right on past and keep sailing. The channel was almost entirely empty of other boats.

We turned around eventually, and I found I had a little bit of difficulty trying to go the directions I wanted  with the wind in front of us.

Docking was a breeze this time, and I was eager to get the mast down and on to the rest of the day. Perhaps too eager. As I swung the boat around a curve at the launch, I caught a branch with the mast. The boat was uplifted, the strap holding the boat forward snapped, and the boat came down with a loud crash.

The boat was now misaligned on the trailer, and it was sort of teetering. The front shroud plate was bent in, one of the stays had 2 rivets popped out (but surprisingly was unbent), but other than that there was no noticeable damage.

We had to take the boat back to the launch to realign it. I used the anchor line as a stand in for the broken strap, which may have been a mistake because it began fraying under the tension. We were able to get the boat out.

Sarah had the wise idea to use the rest of the severed strap looped around the front ring on the boat, which felt much more secure.

You might be wondering – why aren’t you sharing any pictures of this? Well I wanted to take a quick picture at one point – however my phone was below deck on the boat, and at some point it had gotten flung and struck something directly on top of the camera. (I’ve ordered parts to fix my phone, but it’s a bummer)

Truth be told I feel pretty dumb about what happened. It was a fun day that is now soured by my mistake. Luckily the impact was relatively small and manageable (The boat could have easily tipped off of the trailer, how embarrassing would that have been?). I look forward to our next opportunity to sail. I’ll be more cautious getting out – that much is certain.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email