Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sailing Close to the Wind

Sarasota Bay, Florida

Ken called me about 9:30 and asked me if I wanted to go sailing. He said I could steer the boat while he worked the sails.. He has a 30 foot sailboat. In the picture below, Ken is motoring over from his mooring to pick me up at the dock.

We went to where he has his boat moored and he paddled out in his "sea eagle" inflatable kayak while I waited on the dock. His faded T-shirt says, "Sailing: an expensive way to get wet, sick, and go nowhere".

We spent a few hours tacking into the wind. I learned which sail is the Jib and which one is the mainsail. The rope that pulls the the mainsail up is called the "sheep". Ken tried to teach me some sailing knots, but I have never been good at knots so it all went over my head.

It was a little amazing how he was able to sail almost directly into the wind and use the winds power to move the boat forward at 4 or 5 knots. As I recall from my time as an Air Force navigator, a knot is about 1.04 MPH. I had been afraid that sailing would be boring, but Ken has a bubbly personality and kept feeding me a constant stream of interesting data...and the weather was wonderfully cool and the strong wind made the day a lot of fun....

It's a strange hobby...Perhaps he will invite me to sail down to Fort Jefferson? At the end of the day we replaced the old "Jib" sail, which had a rip, with a new Jib. That involved cranking up the new Jib sail and then winding it around a pole. With all the ropes and pulleys, it looked like a very high maintenance hobby... was really fun...

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