Category Archives: Sailing

An Adventure – Sailing in a Storm

Today’s Music: The Doors – Riders On The Storm

This weekend, I went sailing. For the first time in well over 10 years.
Me and one other person on a 12′ Laser (it’s like a Sunfish). I had a blast. And learned that both sailing and storms are not quite what you remember them to be.

I don’t think the heavy stuff will come down for quite some time yet…

It took about half an hour to rig the laser. The sail needs to be fitted over the mast, mast gets raised and stepped, the boom is attached. Several lines and block and tackles are connected – the vang and traveller, the cunningham. The sheet is run through its cam and chock feed, and the tiller is connected.
We even remembered the daggerboard! (Yeah, I don’t use it either – I just slide it all the way down and leave it there.)

Looks pretty when it’s done right!

As we got ready to hump the boat down the ramp and into the water, we saw storm clouds in the distance. A storm cell, about 10 minutes off. we looked at each other.
“You want to go?”
“Sure. You?”
Simple and to the point. And as it turns out, not really a problem.

You know that phrase, “the calm before the storm”? It’s absolutely true. We shoved off, got in the boat, and coasted out. Only to find that there was slightly more than absolutely no wind.
Fortunately, there are some tricks you can pull in that situation:
-Scull, or use the tiller as a paddle to gently propel the boat
-Roll tack – get the boat to lean over so that the sail forms a bowl. this will help it catch whatever faint breeze wanders past.

Of course, a laser is a tiny (light) little boat, but we managed to roll tack and get into some stronger breezes before we capsized. (I know, right? I’d have sworn we were going over too!)
Then came the storm. Or so we thought. Rain started falling, small drops disturbing the water, and some nice gusts. We rounded a buoy, both of us splitting our time between the tiller (steering) and the sheet (adjusting the sail to catch the wind).
I was actually surprised at how much I remembered, and how much fun I was having. Until…

Several other boats came out as the rain stopped. Bigger boats. With larger sails.
Which meant they were catching more of the faint breezes than us. Until the breezes stopped.
When the squall passes, the lake face settled into a glass sheet – no wind. On a boat with no means of really moving. Other than wind.
So we’re sitting on opposite sides of the boat to keep it flat, looking over the water for signs of breeze, and we see

Ok, it wasn’t that bad. But our boat was a lot smaller than this too…

Yup. A new storm cell. And this one looks a lot nastier than the first.
We look at it, then each other.
“Head in?
“Probably a good idea”
We start turning the boat, as a gentle breeze started pushing. We manage to get our bow pointed to the area we need to be when the rain starts. With drops the size of marbles.
In moments, the glassy lake surface is frothy, from the sudden gusts of wind and the pelting of the water.
Our conversation, which up until now had been general and far ranging, comes in short bursts:
“Turn to port! TURN!”
“Look out! BOAT!!!!”
“I can’t see anything!”
“Where the hell are we?!?”
“Who are you again?”

Ok, that last was me. What, I got distracted for a minute.
There was enough wind to sail now, but as often happens in a storm, it was coming from every direction at once, settling for a moment, then whipping back around to another direction.
We were swinging the tiller, yanking the sheet to bring it in or let it out. We were ducking under the boom trying to keep our weight in the right spot to keep from flipping.
We get about 30 yards from the boat ramp, in about 6 feet of water. The wind stopped again, and the storm cell settled over us, dropping buckets of never ending rain marbles straight down on us.
“How deep is it?” I yelled over the storm.
“I don’t know” was the answer I got.
I shrugged, and hopped out of the boat. We were in about four and a half feet of water. No problem. But the bottom was very soft mud.
Which means that while I have never slogged through poo, I can now speak quite knowledgeably about how it feels.

We got the boat up the ramp and broke it down in about 10 minutes. Sure, it took 30 to set it up, but it’s always easier to break something down. Plus it was pouring. And cold.
And I wanted nothing more than to be done with it for the day.

It looks so innocent under wraps…

But as Shandy commented in another post, even a bad day sailing is better than a day at the office.
So now I’ve got a whole new set of sailing experiences that I will hopefully get to use before I forget them.
But next time, I’d rather go sailing here

Friday Foolishness – Undead Edition

Today’s Music: The Nearly Dead – Never Look Back

A quick note – June means Mental Health Awareness Month is over. But please, keep them in mind. They’re just people. the only difference is, they have a name for their problems.

FRIDAY!!!! You know what that means, Ladles and Gentlemints: Bring on the Foolishness!
Don’t worry, we will. But before we do that, I’d like to acknowledge those of you who made it possible for me to get here. One of the big themes this week was Memorial Day, which Smaktakula exemplified with his reminisces of his personal links to the armed forces.
In other posts, Sights N Bytes presented a truly unique bucket list. And Kayjais family is starting their summer by embracing their relationship with critters.
Ah, summertime…With all you great bloggers out there, I know my summer reading will be enlightening, entertaining, and pretty damn good!

But we’ve been preparing for summer too, here in the Asylum Labs(TM)! We are working on the perfect summer drink! And you guys had some great ideas that I hope I get to see the finished product of.
And some I hope never see the light of day. Because that’s how mind blowingly spectacular you people are!
So here are your answers to last weeks poll, What Should The Next Flavor Of Coca Cola Be? (As always, I am bubbly and effervescent in italics):

Cupcake – Thoughtsy
(For those of you who know and love Thoughtsy, she meant, and I quote, “Pop-Tart-flavored Cupcakes” or “Cupcake-Flavored Pop-Tarts.”. Though I don’t think she cares. As long as it’s pop-tart flavored. Because, c’mon. Pop-Tarts!)
Dont want it in a can tho, I want it in an environmentally friendly baggie thing
(Wouldn’t a hemp bag leak? Oh! I Know! We can seal it with patchouli oil!)
The legs of a madagascar cockroach. Starla
(I find the heads to be more succulent…)
the original flavor 0f cocaine. isn’t that what made it the “real thing?”
(Cocaine is flavorless. I mean, so I’ve been told…)
anything but that pasty taste you get in your mouth after a weekend of drinking
(Um, I’m pretty sure that taste is vomit…)
Lime. In a Corona, in seltzer, or chewed off the rind til your mouth squirts.
(Got it – squirty mouth flavored Coke.)
fresh cut grass and lemonade
(Would you consider fresh hemp and patchouli oil?)
hamburger with a side of fries (from Madame Weebles)
(But how will you stop the grease from floating to the top of the drink?)
the beach – like Kramer’s cologne
(Hold on,something clever will come to me…)
the beach – like Kramer’s cologne (2nd try by Spacey Stacey)
(Got it! Did you ever WONder, why, at the beach…)
Rum-Ola(Free Penny Press)
(Excellent, FPP! Research proves that Rum makes the taste of Coke bearable!)
Mai Tai (Quirky)
(A free umbrella with every can!)
Mojito (and all variations on the original) Quirky
(Aren’t you not supposed to mix liquors like that?)
Beer. Quirky
(I admire you’re focus here!)
Booze! (I get that I have a problem.) Quirky
(You see problem, I see opportunity!)
Tooth enamel (Elyse at 54.5)
(Can we combine it with flavored flouride?)
free – Hobbler
(YEAH! Though right now it tastes like they should be paying us.)
Cherry Batpoop LindaV
(Why on earth would you want to mask the winsome flavorfulness of batpoop, Linda?)
Tony Montana’s Private Reserve
(Can’t – the rights are owned by his little friend.)
Coffee with just a hint of cinnamon.
(The carbonation would make it go in your nose. All bloggers know coffee is supposed to come out your nose!)
Too easy, Halle Berry! Stay Abnormal
(Doesn’t she already have a deal with Pepsi?)
Thanksgiving dinner. –Lily
(Nono, thanksgiving dinner is for milkshakes.)
Coca Guapo … Coca Guapola (Frank)
(I’m already available in six packs, Frank. But only in Madagascar. Guess what it tastes like!)
Gravy. Cold carbonated gravy. Joe Hoover
(WE HAVE A WINNER!!! And I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)
Rum John Phillips
(Just rum, no coke? You haven’t been hanging out in enough college bars, John.)
Rum & coke with a twist of lime and from a slushy machine. sandylikeabeach
(John, meet Sandy. Sandy, this is John.)
simply better than teaching the world to sing KJ
(Definitely KJ. Because warm fuzzies taste horrible!)

Congratulations to Joe Hoover for this weeks win! And for giving me culinary nightmares.
From the offered choices, the most popular one was All of the above. In one can.. Like I said, y’all are mind blowingly spectacular. In the best possible way!
(By the way, I’m sending you a blank backdated form for last week, Ginger Fight Back, for further proof that you’re a winner!

Well, out with the old, in with the rotted. Just say BRRRRAAAIINNNSSSS anywhere. In a mall, at school or work, in your house of worship. Everyone will know what you mean. And shuffle away, pretending they don’t know you.
But surely we underestimate our flesh-craving-fiends-friends. Surely they can say more than that.
So this week, we ask, What else should Zombies say to herald their decrepit and devoursome appearance when they show up on the scene? Vote often, and if you vote other, leave a sign of who you are, and I’ll link back to you next week.
But do it before 2359 EST on 7 June, because that’s when this poll closes.

And while you ponder how you’d like to be prepared by the undead among us (in truffle oil? with fava beans and a nice chianti?), I leave you with these. I’ll be going sailing, during which time I expect to capsize a small boat.

It would be nice if it looks like this:

But it will probably look like this…

Either way, it will be fun.
Hope y’all have a great weekend, and a great week to follow!

An Adventure – Learning to Sail

Today’s Music: Jimmy Buffett


In a June, quite some time ago, Ms. Diamond needed to get certified as a Life Guard.
So, one day in the cafeteria, she dropped the brochure for the place she was going for the lifeguard course on the table.
Being a nosy S.O.B. (though it’s possible sh offered it to me – not sure – been a lot of drinking between then an now), I looked through it.
Sailing! Learn to sail on a lake in Pennsylvania! One person Sunfish! Oh.My. God.

At the time, I was listening to way too much Jimmy Buffett. Parrothead, (mostly) recovered, that’s me.
One of the things Jimmy sings an awful lot about (besides drinking, and women, and food and islands and…) is sailing.
And here was an opportunity to learn it on the cheap!

So I went. My sisters came along to learn to Scuba Dive (in the same lake), but I was there for the sailing.

The first day, it poured. So they brought the sailing group (there was sailing, lifeguarding, scuba, and a bunch of other classes being taught that week) into a cabin. The instructors told us about themselves, told us about the boats we’d be using, and asked us what we wanted to get out of the class, and to draw a picture of it.
I wrote Sail like Magellan. The picture I drew wasn’t quite as bad as this, but lord, it wasn’t good:

Not even Magellan could keep this afloat.

Fortunately, making us artists wasn’t the point of the course. Making us sailors was.
They taught us how to put together a sunfish and take it apart. How to step the mast (insert it in it’s slot so it wouldn’t leave the boat when the sail was filled with wind), how to run the lines (ropes on a boat are called lines), how to tell where the wind was coming from and how to trim the boat (adjust sails and heading (direction) for the wind).
They taught us about the hardware on the boat – the stays and guys, tiller and running rigging, and how all of them held the boat together and made it go.
They taught us witty sailor sayings – “red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky at dawn, storm coming on”, “tiller to boom to avoid doom”, “rain before wind, better stay in. Wind before rain, soon set sail again”.
All phrases that I’ve found useful even in my daily landlubber-ous existence.

And they taught us how to sail.
Picture 5 newbies, each in our own boat, trying to sail in formation. Okay, we managed to get more or less to the same part of the lake, more or less at the same time. But when they told us to sail in close formation, we all managed to get in exactly the same part of the lake at exactly the same time. And had a massive pile up.
I think that was the first time I fell out of my boat, avoiding the nose of another that parked itself on top of me.

But slowly we learned. We understood the points of sail, learned how to trim a sail to take the most advantage of the wind. How to get out of irons, or steer for a buoy.
And we learned to not crash into each other. Unless we really wanted to.

On the last day, we were allowed to sail around on our own. When time was up, I steered in, coming up to the dock neatly against the wind. I put my hands on the dock – to hoist myself out of the boat – my feet still in it.
And the boat, which wasn’t tied down, started to drift…away…from the dock…

Which was the last time I fell in.

I’m sorry I couldn’t find it, because i really wanted to scan and post my Upside Down Award, for falling creatively out of boats. I earned it, dangnabbit.

And before you leave the post chuckling at how i wasted a week, several years later I was invited to crew on the Around Long Island Regatta on a boat something like this:

Image from

I got here from a Sunfish.