It is the case in living on a boat, and more especially of the cruising life (so I have read), that one must be flexible. Plans are continually subject to change and are dependent on the wind and the weather. They are also subject to whatever breaks on the boat. So it was for us this weekend. Our good friend, Heather (the mother of our son’s wife), came down from Orlando to visit for a couple of days. Our plans were to go out sailing on Friday, anchor off Egmont Key and explore the island for a while, return to DeSoto Point to anchor, dingy ashore the next day to explore, and return on Saturday evening.
The weather was once again gorgeous – Hardly a cloud in the sky, 90°, and a light breeze. The light breeze was not conducive to a vigorous sail, but there was a brief period of 7 knot winds which allowed us to raise the sails and meander along at 3.5 knots for an hour or so. After enjoying some relaxation on the trampolines, it occurred to me that it would be a perfect time to practice reefing. In my last post, I explained how the wind had increased to 25 knots, which called for a reef in the mainsail. Having never reefed before, I thought it best to lower the sails and direct the ship into the Vinoy Basin. Well, 5-7 knots of wind may not be great for sailing, but it was perfect to practice reefing. Our mainsail has three reefing points and a slab reefing system. There are three reefing lines which lead back to the helm station, so I do not need to leave the cockpit to reduce sail. The whole reefing thing is not complicated, it was just that I had never done it on Beatitude. All went very well and it is actually a simple process. The only surprise in my experience was that the first reefing line was labeled Reefing Line 3 and the third, Reefing Line 1. Perhaps I am missing some significance in these labels, but it seems to me to be labeled backwards. Anyway, I now feel confident with the reefing system.
After a while, we dropped sails and motored over to Egmont Key. Cindy and I put on our headsets to communicate, and then she went forward to prepare to lower the anchor. She tested the control buttons to make sure the electric windlass was working. Nothing. I went and reset the breaker and we retried… Nothing! After 15-20 minutes of additional troubleshooting, we surrendered. We could have let down the anchor by hand and retrieved it by hand, but why punish one’s self when unnecessary. We decided to head back to Regatta Pointe for the night.
There are a couple of axioms which are becoming established as Carey’s law. First, when I go to see a patient in the emergency department, it doesn’t matter if I go into the room 1 minute after they arrive or 20 minutes after they arrive, they will be in the restroom. I’m continually amazed. The second axiom is that no matter what the wind has been doing all day, as soon as I come into the Marina to dock, it will be blowing out of the west so that it blows me off the dock as I attempt to put the boat into the slip. What I wouldn’t give for a nice light easterly breeze next time I dock. The readers of this blog will be disappointed to know that I have no stories of falling in the marina water or lines entangled in the port engine prop to engage your attention. We actually docked without incident! We owe a great deal of this success to a neighbor down the dock who suggested we leave a line on the dock in such a position that we can pick it up with a boat hook and secure the boat without Cindy having to perform death-defying leaps from the boat to the dock. It worked perfectly! Thank you, Ed! Part of the reason we are living in a marina full of other sailors is to be able to glean wisdom from their experiences. Sometimes one simply needs input from another perspective.
Later that evening, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner of grilled salmon, grilled corn, and grilled asparagus, accompanied by an excellent Spanish wine. After I emerged victorious in two games of “10-down,” a card game, we retired for the night.
Today, we decided to continue our adaptability and head over to Siesta Key for a day at the beach. Instead of fretting over how our original plans were side railed, we found different ways to have fun and enjoy God’s great creation.