Sunday, June 23, 2013

OK Rain - You Win, Part 2

So I messed up and talked bad about the weather man. Boy did he get the last laugh. After Friday evening's thunderstorms we awoke to, you guessed it, more rain. We stayed put for a couple of hours until it finally quit and ventured out of our cove into some stiff winds and strong gusts. We reefed Wrinkles' main sail down one set and furled in about 1/3 of the jib. This worked for about an hour until the gusts started overpowering us again and we rolled the furler in to less than 50%. We enjoyed the rambunctious sailing for a while and then decided we were ready for a rest break.
We sailed over to a protected shore to enjoy lunch, naps and a little fishing. Feeling rested and seeing the wind and waves had moderated we went out again for a little easy sailing, ending at the Memorial Union. By now the forecast called for calmer winds coming out of the south/southwest with a possible thunder shower later in the evening. We rowed Squint The Famous Racing Dinghy to shore for a nice outdoor lunch on State Street. Beautiful weather and cold beer. Now this is sailing.
We wandered down to the Union to check on Wrinkles and listen to the live jazz bands on the shore. It seemed like the weekend had really turned around and become more what we all look for in sailing. We rowed out to Wrinkles as the sun was about to set over a lake that was smooth as glass. We had anchored quite close to shore since it was so calm out and a protected shore from the forecasted winds. Once aboard we mixed sundowners and were just about to settle down to enjoy the music and drinks when a cool fresh breeze came from due west. Hmmmmm? That isn't in the forecast.

We looked off to the west and saw a very ugly black wall just appearing over the shore line of Picnic Point about 1 1/4 miles away. Decision time for this crew. The anchor was well set, but it was set facing the previous south winds and any strong winds from the west were going to dislodge it. We started the motor thinking we could assist the anchor or motor off if it became necessary.

The wall of winds, waves and rain that hit us changed our minds instantly. This sheer front was serious and we needed to get away from shore now. B pulled the anchor up as I motored into the now unbelievably ugly lake. The rain instantly soaked both of us and forced us to shield our eyes to see. The moored boats just 100' away became almost invisible. The 8 HP Mariner gave everything she had as we rolled up the front of each wave and then slammed down on the backside. Wow. This lake turned into a disaster in a big hurry. Our plan was to motor directly into the front and head for the shelter of the east shoreline about a mile away. One hand on the tiller and one hand on the outboard while trying to keep the bow into the wind. The poor motor was cavitating badly as we crested each wave and slammed down the backside.

That was one wild ride. B took it in stride and chatted with me while occasionally peeking through the rain to keep us heading west. I couldn't make out the compass even though I was under a Bimini and only 4' away. We made it slowly, very slowly, to the shore and gratefully dropped the anchor in 5' of calmer water. We waited there until the worst of the cell had passed and then motored around the point to a cove that is usually protected from everything but a north wind.
We dropped the anchor again and went inside to dry off. Well the darn back side of this cell decided to turn loose on us again and turned even this safe spot uncomfortable. B gamely put on her wet clothes to pull the anchor in the downpour again. We motored to the other side of the cove which is better sheltered from the west winds. Even though the forecast still said the issues were all coming from the south or southwest.
So this fourth anchoring in a short period of time gave us a nice protected spot to get some well deserved sleep. When we awoke this morning the sun was shining on a white capped lake. We put two reefs in the main and maybe 1/3 of the jib unfurled for a nice controlled sail while still cruising along at hull speed.
Another interesting weekend aboard Wrinkles. We make our mistakes, make our corrections, learn some more and have a ball during the process.
Mike and Brenda

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