Monday, July 9, 2012

The Seahorse Sails

A few weeks back we decided on a name for the boat. After tossing around many ideas, we settled on Seahorse, which was suggested to me by one of my friends.  Last weekend a number of things happened with the boat. I was able to find a rudder on Craigslist, after selling a bunch of stuff on Craigslist myself. (Window air conditioners are a hot item when it's 100 degrees outside.) While picking up a few parts at West Marine for attaching the rudder, I ran into Tony. Tony was a gentleman who Dave and I met on the Belize trip last fall. We ran down the river together for about 9 days. We were able to catch up on the remainders of each of our trips.

On Saturday, the weather finally cooled down enough to go back out on the lake. Both Lori and I had gotten fishing licenses, so the plan was to fish off the boat on Lake Harriet. Things started out pretty well. About halfway out on the lake, the wind shifted in the opposite direction. The area we picked to go fishing happened to be on the downwind side of the lake near the shore. Lake Harriet, along with many of the other lakes in the cities are shaped like giant bowls. In the center it's nearly 90 feet deep, so the sides drop off rather quickly. As we got closer to shore, the wind was pushing us in, and I tried to get an anchor down, but wouldn't grab on the bottom. On a second attempt, the anchor did hold, but by this time we had drifted into weeds, and the wind started picking up. I decided we needed to get out of there because I knew it would be a challenge to get out of the weeds with the wind blowing us to shore.

In the past, we were able to cross the lake in about 10 or 15 minutes; however, this time it took almost 2 1/2 hours to get across the lake. I knew there were weeds on the keel, and so we tried to crank up the keel in order to dislodge the weeds, but it didn't work. The rudder also was getting bound up with weeds--specifically Eurasian Millfoil, an exotic/invasive species. Also, there was a sailing race going on, so we had to maneuver around 20+ sailboats whipping around across the lake. With all of the weeds, the boat was very difficult to maneuver, and I could only turn to the port side, or left side. So we ended up spinning the boat a number of times. The boat would heel over somewhat erradically. We had Jane below in the cabin as the cockpit got busy sometimes. Lori said it felt like being on the tail end of a line of roller skaters at the roller rink. When we finally got to the dock it was questionable when and if some of the crew would go sailing again.

I dove under the boat, and under the left side of the keel I pulled out two giant armfulls of weeds. For some reason most of the weeds were on one side of the keel, which explained why turning was so difficult. Lori told jane that she was a brave sailor after that experience, and Jane responded by saying that she was a scared sailor, too. As we were getting ready to take the boat out of the water, there was a mom and her son about 10 years old sitting with their feet in the water, and the fish were nibbling on their toes. We had lots of corn for bait, since we hadn't done any of the fishing we had planned, so Jane hand-fed the fish, and we watched them devour the corn.  Tired and sunburned, we headed home, swinging by a pizza place so we didn't have to do any cooking for dinner.

On Sunday I got up early and met a couple of friends Wilbur and Amy and had breakfast at a cafe where motorcyclists are known to frequent. We ate on the loading dock of the building, which was converted from warehouse space. After breakfast the three of us headed out to the lake and had a much better day of sailing. Lori and Jane were invited and chose not re-live the adventure of the day prior. It ended up being a great day on the lake, and crossed back and forth across the lake at least 15 times, before calling it a day. Sunday evening, Jane and Lori and I went fishing off a pond at a local park near our home. I was able to catch two small bluegills, so we ended up feeding more fish than catching.

I'm looking at ways to change some of the rigging on the boat so it will be easier to handle during sailing, along with making rigging/set-up and tear-down easier. I hope to have that work done by the weekend and get back out on the lake.

1 comment:

  1. I see your thrill-seeker style of sailing has not changed!