Monday, September 27, 2010

Leroy the Cricket

With the weather getting cooler and the leaves starting to change color the sailing season here is coming to an end. I reserved the Pearson for Saturday and Sunday afternoons with the hope of getting in one last sail in before the end of my season. Which, this year is September 30th on Minnetonka as that is when my boat club membership expires. Will re-up early next year as it is a 12 month membership not a seasonal one and then next season I will be able to sail in October until the boats are pulled for the winter.
Saturday was gray, rainy in the morning, and very calm. I made the decision earlier that morning that there was no use even driving out to the marina as I had checked the forecast and current conditions. Clouds would clear out but, wind would be barely at 3kts. Not really conducive to sailing. So I ran errands and Stu went to Sam’s volleyball tournament and stuff that needed to get done around the house was dealt with. Sunday looked very promising in regards to the weather. Sunny, decent temps and some wind. Plus the Vikings were playing the Lions. Does that even count as professional football?
Sunday we get up and head to the marina. The weather is great, sunny and warm and a bit of a breeze. We get to the marina and are ready to leave the dock in about 5 minutes. As we motor out I notice that the 6kt breeze is non-existent but, you never know, the wind could be out on the lake. We motor out in to Gideon Bay and I raise the main. Didn’t really need to point in to the wind as it was slight but we did anyway.  We roll out the jib after cutting the motor and we are sailing! Oh wait, no we aren’t, we are sitting in the middle of the bay hoping to catch any sort of breeze.
So we are sitting in the bay, bobbing a little in the occasional power boat wake, not bad at all. I look up at the Windex to see if it shows anything and nope. That’s when I noticed the stow-away we had. A cricket was on the main sail about 5 inches above the boom. He was just sitting there on our fully raised sail. None the worse for wear, the absence of wind allowed our new friend Leroy, Sam named him, to just sit there and enjoy the ride.
I decided after about 20 minutes of sitting and doing nothing that maybe we should motor in to the lake a bit more and see what we can find for wind. So we head out farther in to the main lake area.  We get past the shoals of Solberg and Sunrise points and are in front of Excelsior Bay when I cut the motor again. Nothing, not even a wiff of wind. Leroy has decided to move off the main and plant himself on the starboard bench of the cockpit. Apparently the breeze we created by motoring disturbed him on the sail so he hopped down. A few minutes later he even got bored with the situation and flew off.
So after about an hour and a half of trying to find any wind what-so-ever, we decide to call it a day. I fire up the motor and we head in. Was really easing getting the jib furled and the main down and tied up. Docking with no crosswind is also very simple. Would have preferred the 6kts of wind though and a nice season ending sail. But that is one of the things about sailing, its very weather dependant and that is not a bad thing. We were out on the water, me and my kids, and we were still having fun joking about the 2 degrees of heel because two if us were on one side of the boat.
All in all it really was a great season of sailing. We all learned a lot; I know more now than when we went out the first day and there is still more to learn. I have more confidence now in my sailing abilities than I did at the start of the season and my comfort level as a sailor has increased. Sam & Stu did enjoy themselves also and I am hoping that Stu will be taking the same class I did to get started in the spring or early summer next year. Sam, she just likes to ride, which is great. She can crew as well but prefers to handle the boat as we leave the slip and as we dock. She is the dock hand I guess and Stu is more of a sailing crew person. The point I guess is we all had a good time sailing. That’s what it’s about I guess, me being able to spend some “quality time” with my kids before they get too old and head out in to the world on their own.
I still have one sailing trip left and that is this weekend up on Superior. Going from Pikes Bay Marina to Spirit Lake Marina Duluth to store the boats of the boat club for the winter. There will be one extra one joining us as well so there will be 4 boats with about 5-6 of us on each boat. Should be a fun trip as the weather looks great and even if the weather wasn’t optimal I am sure it would be a great trip. That will be the next post, of course complete with pictures and vids.
Of course today, Monday, as I sit at work and look out the window, it is sunny, warm and the wind is blowing about 10….. Go figure eh?
Well the Minnetonka season is over for us and sailing in general will be in a week. Hoping I can get through the winter and ice out can’t come soon enough. Looking forward to spring already……

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