Monday, August 27, 2007

Questions from the Class - Best Cruise

To help me break through a stress induced case of writer's block, my good friend and illustrator Keet suggested that I just start answering her questions. She pointed out that while acerbic and amusing, my life couldn't be nearly as horrid as I was making it sound.

Or maybe it could.

In any case, we start with Keet's questions about s/v Don Quixote, Toast, and crew. If any of you, my fine readers, have unanswered questions, please send them to me so I can tackle them over the coming weeks.

Question: What was your best cruise so far? Where'd you go? What made this cruise the best? The destination or the way the cruise itself went?

Best is such a funny word. I have to start with a challenge to anyone to define the best experience of their lives. What makes up “best” on a cruise? The least number of repairs? The most fun had by all? Great wind? Good weather? Memorability?

For me, the best sail of my life was after the weekend of the 4th this year. I was single-handling the boat from Dockton State Park on Vashon Island to Elliott Bay Marina. This is a one day trip, mind you, not some odyssey, but I was completely sans Dr C. I motor sailed up Colvos on a 13-knot wind, taking advantage of the winds by tacking back and forth periodically. As we rounded the north end of Vashon, the wind kicked up to 18 and I turned off the motor, put her into her most favored angle to the wind, and did my damndest to top out our knot meter. At one point, I had her flying along the waves at 8.53 with 9.7 over ground. For our condomaran, that's good speed. We sailed all the way home and just kissed the dock when I slid her into her slip. It was a thing of sailing beauty and marked a turning point in my confidence in myself as a sailor.

But there are so many other bests. There was the cruise with Dr C's parents to the Gulf Islands last month during which my husband smiled for the first time in so long it's hard to remember. He is so very unhappy here in the Real World, still tied to a job that requires he spend six hours a day in a dark room. It makes him ill. Literally. After days rolling around on the deck of our boat, blowing holes in it and installing things, Dr C finally woke up to life again and smiled at us just because the weather was fine, the girls were healthy, and he was happy.

There was the time Jaime navigated us through a tricky anchorage, and she decided she was a sailor. And then there was the great evening when the girls set up a tent on the tramp and camped out all night. There was the week I actually managed to provision the boat with just the right amount of food, the day Jaime and I pumped out the heads without getting covered in shit, and the many days we spent with s/v Reverie buddy boating through the South Puget Sound.

The best trips have this in common:
  1. We hook up one or more times with a buddy boat, preferably one with children but even that isn't a requirement.
  2. We stock the boat with lots of hardware for Dr C to mess up, books for Mera to read, and power for my laptop.
  3. We do not have a set destination but rather just go where the wind blows us.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I'm de-lurking to say how much I enjoy reading about your adventures which so closely resemble some of our own. We own a small single-hull sailboat and have been enjoying sailing in the S Puget Sound with our 2 home-schooled daughters (the one of whom is named Meira loves hearing about your Mera!) We especially enjoyed seeing pictures of Dockton on Vashon Is. as we spent a wonderful part of this summer's vacation there.
We're rooting for you to be able to cast off soon, but only if you take your internet access with you so we can follow you on more adventures.
We'll be out on the boat again this summer; perhaps we'll spot you!