Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boat Clubs and Boats

The only way I have access to a sailboat is through my boat club with the school I use. Northern Breezes on Lake Minnetonka, Shorewood Yacht Club. It has worked out pretty good for the most part but there is that whole sharing thing. You have to sign up to use a boat, I use the 26' Pearson as that is the one we all fit on comfortably, has a cabin and all. Anyway, that sharing thing.... Some people just don't seem to pay attention on how the boat is set up when they get there and that they should at least leave it in a "condition" that someone else will be able to use.
Happend to us last Sunday on my birthday. We had sailed fine the day before, was a bit chilly but the wind was good and we got in a good 3 hourson the water. That's another thing, you only get the boat for 4 hours.... can only string together multiple uses if no one has it reserved on that day. So it can be kind of difficult to spend a day at the marina and sailing when you want. But, that is one of the prices you pay for not having your own boat.

On a quick side note, my daughter, Samantha, is the photographer/videographer of the family. So she takes most of the pictures and videos. Her friend Jessica was with us my BD weekend and she took a couple of pics of the 3 of us. Sam, Stu, and myself. All the pics and the vid are from Saturday's sail.

So on to Sunday, the 5th. So me being all "Sailing Guy" now I really wanted to just have a nice sail on my birthday with my kids. We did great on Saturday but, well you know. Anyway, so the weather is actually a bit better Sunday. We motor out the channel as usual and point "Nightcap" in to the wind to raise the main. I pull on the halyard and it goes about 3 feet and stops. I tug and nothing happens... Great. So I check the reefing line and it is all freed up as it should so I pull what little of the sail is up back down and try again. No luck, up about three feet and it stops.

So I am looking at my options at this point, go up to the mast and trouble shoot, motor back in and see what the problem is on the dock, or just go back in and call it a day. So seeing as I am the only person who can helm the boat as my kids are not quite there yet and the only person who can trouble shoot the issue, I decide to head in to the slip.

Now the Pearson 26 has a bit of freeboard so when the wind hits it from the side it likes to spin. Not just so that it is head to wind or stern to wind... it likes to spin around and around and.... well you get the picture. Well at least this one sure does. So after spining a bit and getting the sail ties on and trying not to spin a tapestry of obcenities to hang from the mast, I decide I have had enough and we just motor in and call it a day.

I know, I know, hind sight has me stepping off the dock, calming down, and then having a look at the problem in the slip and then hopefully going back out. I guess it was the annoyance with what "day" it was and wanting it all to be just right. I think the problem was that someone had reefed the sail the evening before and then cleated the reefing line. They do not have to do that as there is a clutch that you close and then all is good. All I had to do to shake out the reef was open the clutch and the line would have run clean as I raised the main....

So this kind of goes back to that whole people need to undestand the boat that they are using. One time before, when the people came in late and we were standing there waiting, the guy decided to get me a new tank of gas for the outboard. Well this boat has a 2 stroke, yep you guessed it, he came back with a tank of just gas. I noticed it, talked to Mike the marina manager, and he gave me back the original tank. Still had over a gallon in it and this thing sips gas so there was no problem there. If I would have used that gas tank, I could have, probably would have, siezed up the outboard and then we would have really been stuck. There is a nice little sign in the lazerette now telling people basically "DON'T REMOVE THIS TANK!! IT'S A 2 STROKE! FUEL IN YELLOW BUCKET TRUCK!!"..... *sigh*

So then today, the 12th, my daughter and I go out for an afternoon sail. Seems the boy recalled at 9:30pm yesterday he had some homework to get done so he stayed home to do it. Offered him the chance to go and he said no, he was going to stay home and get it done. Huh, sometimes you do get it right with your kids... So we get to the marina and I notice a shore power cable, well an orange extension cord attached to a shore power adapter, attached to the boat. Never saw that before. Saw Mike and walked over and asked it there was anything different about disconnecting it and he said no.

Asked why the cable and well, people like to evening sail. I like to evening sail but you are supposed to have the boat back 15 minutes before sunset. Well seems people motor for about 5 minutes, barely charging the batteries, and then run with the lights on. There is only one battery on Nightcap. So then you get back in, it sits for a few days.... battery drains, maybe they leave the lights on..... who knows.. so anyway, hence the shore power and more people not really paying attention to the big picture. Who knows though, maybe other people in the boat club hate the way I leave the boat but, never got a phone call on it. And no, I have yet to call and complain......

So Sam and I enjoy a few hours of sailing today. Winds started to build after about 1:30pm or so and the lake got all churny. We brought in the jib for a bit and then got tired of doing the bob and roll with the waves. So we decide to head to wind and bring down the main. So can ya guess what happens when I try to start the motor? Yep, nothing... that sick feeling you get in the cold of night in the middle of winter when your car won't start, that was it.. So of course the boat drifts a bit and then starts to spin.... weeeeee!!!! Well not quite but you get the picture. I unsheet the main, which of course was tight in the cleat and got me yanking on it, and we sail a bit more until I get us farther from those wonderfull shoal marker buoys.

So I head her back in to the wind and start pulling on the starting cord. Well it took a few good yanks but she fired up. Oh the relief........ So we got the sail down, Sam noticed one of the guides was out of the track so yeah, let's pay attention folks, again. We get the sail tied up on the boom and we motor back in. Was a pretty uneventfull docking, which was nice. I had to give her a little bump of power to get in to the slip as we started to drift sideways in the cross-wind but, no big deal.

 So yeah, being in the boat club really is a great thing and I am very glad I can be a part of it as I have inquired about a couple boats and they have been sold, slow to act I guess. But, I think it may be best that I don't own a boat quite yet, maybe this time next year unless the opportunity kicks in the door... will have to see. Having your own boat does make things a bit easier as you know the boat and know how you left it but, as I said, maybe another year on that........

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