Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best and Final Sail

We needed one more sail and we got it. The storms had abated and finally we had the weekend we had waited for. We launched on Saturday morning to cool temperatures and an empty lake. All those sailors who had already pulled their boats were second-guessing their decision. Not us - we KNEW we were going to get in one more sail.

The faithful Mariner started (with a few more pulls than normal) and we motored out of the launch area. We immediately raised the sails and the wind filled them with a crisp autumn breeze. The winds were 10-12 mph with no gusts and we were able to glide across the lake. We took up our usual home-game anchor outside the Memorial Union and listened to the Badgers battle for the axe against Minnesota. As we bobbed, we took in the view of the beauiful Wisconsin fall scenery. At the Hoofers launch, the crane was pulling masts and boats for the season.

After the game, we pulled anchor and headed out to enjoy the winds. We tinkered with sail trim in spite of our reputation of ignoring the wrinkles. Our new main sail performed beyond expectations. Unfortunately, the head sail is showing its age. Looks like Santa might have to help us out with a new one this year.

Lake Mendota
We received a call from Matt, our youngest son, saying that he and his girlfriend were in Madison. So we pointed back to shore and anchored up where we had been a few hours earlier. As Mike rowed the dinghy in to shore, we passed a gathering of partying frats. They cheerfully offered us a beer as we slid by and commented that our dinghy looked like something out of a cartoon. Granted, their vision might have been slightly impaired. State Street, as usual, was a cacophony of sights and sounds of revelers celebrating the win. We enjoyed a tasty supper at Casa de Lara and the time spent with Matt and Kelly.

We rowed out to our cozy boat, anticipating a chilly night of about 40 degrees. We had extra blankets and we fired up the Weems and Plath oil lantern to reduce the moisture and add a little heat. Not to worry - we had a calm night snug in our v-berth and slept in like a couple of teenagers!

Tenny Park off Lake Mendota
In the morning we heated up water on our single burner butane stove and enjoyed a magnificent spread of coffee, tea and oatmeal. The wind was picking up and the sun was shining, so we sailed off the anchor with Brenda at the tiller. Again, the winds were perfect, the waves rolling, and the sun shining brightly. Sailing doesn't get any better than that.

Brenda skippered while Mike played with the video cam and the loose footed main settings. Brenda wanted to ensure she remembered the various points of sail so we tacked around the weather buoy for practice. When we got hungry, we headed across to Picnic Point for a lunch of soup and sandwiches. The shoreline treated us to beautiful fall colors, wood ducks, smells of shoreline campfires and wonderful warm sunshine.

With our bellies full, we sailed off anchor again to what we knew would be our last sail of the season. We sailed for about four hours in growing winds with slightly gustier conditions. Brenda experienced her first round-up with one particularly strong gust. These Com-Pac boats know how to take care of their owners. We set up for one long last tack toward Marshall Park. It was an interesting sail since the winds couldn't decide whether they wanted to howl or purr.

A view of the Capitol from Lake Mendota, Madison, WI
It was a great way to end the season. It made it easier to accept the end of the sailing season. It is never easy to pull out for the last time, but we were content. With one more perfect landing and an uneventful teardown, we headed Wrinkles to her winter resting place for her beauty sleep.

Thank you Wrinkles for such a fun first season!


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