Friday, September 24, 2010

Single Handed Race - Part 1 - The night before.

It's currently the night before the single handed race.  Not sure if I will go or not, if the wind is over 15 knots then I can't do it, Ashe doesn't have an autohelm and I can't handle the boat without one in over 15 knots and choppy seas.  So I sit here, drinking apple wine listening to the wind pushing it's way through the plethora of mature trees on our street hoping for less wind tomorrow. says right now, (9:12 pm) the wind is gusting to 30 knots, that is a lot!  I bet it's a bit more than 30 knots right now.

The saving grace of this evening is the temperature.  It's perfect, about 27 degrees in the house - perfect.  I would have gone sailing tonight, in the dark, in the waves but the wind...hmmm  The beauty of sailing is your total dependence on the weather and reading it correctly.  We've chanced it and won and we've chanced it and lost - getting caught in a downpour or a squall or two - or three.  

A couple of years ago, Paul and I were racing home from the Scarborough Bluffs with our usual group of eager beavers when a squall hit the fleet.  We all saw it coming and frankly, there was nothing we could do about it!  Full sail, hatches open...  I have no idea what the wind gusted, coming out of the south east, but I remember the driving rain, the unusual calm of the water and the smile on Paul's face as he hung on for dear life on the tiller.  I was worried about the sails being damaged, he was enjoying the force of nature - the beauty of it's fury and our helplessness.

This summer, a weekend in August, we planned on sailing across the lake to 50 Point.  We set out under cloudy skies.  We watched a several squalls develop over Mississauga, squalls develop to our south and one about 1 football field from our port side.  It always amazes me to see the rain off in the distance, slowing soldiering it's way toward you, you see the trees and the land disappear then you see the water being pelted as the rain mingles with the lake water and it splashes up to the sky with the force from every drop.

I grabbed the raincoats, battened down the hatches (yes that's a real term) and smiled as we watched the full force of the wind pass behind the boat.   The full  downpour pelted the deck of Ashe.  I was laughing as I looked at Paul in his medium grade yellow rain jacket scowling as rain ran down his visor around his neck and down the back of his rain jacket.  I didn't care - it felt wonderful.

When it rains like that and you are on the water everything disappears, all around you is water and you are there on your own, the boat becoming your saviour underneath you.  Strange, you are floating on the water, yet in the water.  Personally, the downpour ended way too soon.  I was enjoying it.  I couldn't see out my glasses, we were soaked inside and out and it seemed like we were the only people on the planet.  We were laughing!

We have a cool little boat that Ashe - a tough cookie.  She's old, needs a little TLC but she's also our way out of the boring city.  Our way to be on our own.  When we sail - it's always too short a time or it's too long until the next sail.

My wine glass seems to be empty.  I guess it's time for a refill and a quick check on Sailflow to see if tomorrow's forecast has changed...

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