I don’t sail any more. The fact that we don’t have a boat could have something to do with it. But when we did have one, I remember the lessons it taught me.
1. Take care of your boat. Wipe it down. Empty excess water from the cockpit or any water trapped inside its interior. Put the rudder, centerboard and sails away being careful that they are dried too. Over time, repaint, apply fiberglass or varnish.
Note to self: Maintain my site. My boat and how I sail can always be identified by the number on my sail.
2. Attach the rudder, firmly and securely. Be sure it snaps in. Slide the bolt and secure it. Grab the tiller and wait for the wind to tug on the sail. Feel the rudder pressing the water, and watch it slicing the water in a herringbone ripple behind me. When I catch a good wind, the boat may even cock up a bit, lift high on the water not deep or even with the water.
Note to self: Offer up posts with the intent of going somewhere. Some rides are as exhilarating as a windy afternoon sailing, especially when the keel rides at a 30 degree angle to the water and I lean out commenting and reading. When my posts don’t ride, I chalk it up to a “calm”. I return. Test the wind again another day.
3. Push the centerboard down once I leave shore. If I do it too soon, it may drag the bottom. It may damage the board and it will slow me down. If I do it too late, I’ll start out off course, with no direction. A sudden wind not controlled will send the boom flying and make me duck anticipating the unexpected or knock me up the side of the head. Yes, push down the centerboard all the way down so it extends deep below the keel.
Note to self: I push publish on Sundays and Thursdays, pushing that centerboard deep below the keel. No pulling it back up. Pulling it up brings my boat to a sudden standstill.
4. Rig the the sail and hang onto the rope with a good sized knot at the end of it.. Either me or my co-captain can do that. But, if I’m alone, I can still do what’s required: rig the sail, handle the rudder and control the sail. Hold it taut all the while working the rudder, pointing the boat in the direction of the wind.
Note to self: Post. Check in and engage in the conversations my readers lead me to. Don’t let any reader slip past the knot. Let me be surprised by the strength of the next wind. Who knows where the winds may lead?
5. Wear a life jacket. I may capsize. The boom may knock me down or out…never happened to me thank goodness, but it’s possible. I may experience a calm so frustrating there is no wind that takes me anywhere. If that’s the case, I may have to jump out, grab the bow of the boat and swim her in.
One time I capsized, sat on the centerboard under the keel to right her up, climbed back into the boat feeling the gentle mist from the wet sails on my face. When I got back to shore, my brother commented “You’re bleeding, you’ve got a gash in your right side.” “What?” I never felt it…but sure enough…I was bleeding. I remembered when the boat capsized sliding over the splash board, two boards coming to a relatively sharp point just beyond the cockpit and behind the mast. That must have been when it happened.
Note to self: At times I stretch and fall outside of my comfort zone. But if I feel the “gash” of publishing, my wonderful readers take away the sting. At other times, I read amazing posts observing others stretch out of theirs. I read. I comment. I hope to encourage. If I disagree, I come back consistently, wanting to know what and how others think. Learning and connecting is my life jacket.
6. If there’s a storm brewing, take in the ride, and get the heck back to shore. An aluminum mast can attract lightening and…there’s water, water everywhere. Sometimes I feel the splash of waves over the bow. The ride gets choppy and bumpy. I ride it out, all the while heading for shore.
Note to self: Ride it out, comment, like or at times, reserve comment.
7. If there’s a calm, be patient. Work what wind I can muster tacking in a zigzag fashion finding wind wherever I can until I get back. Sometimes, I will need to force the issue by grabbing the boom and moving it back and forth. Or, I may have to climb out, grab the bow and swim her in. If I’m in salt water, beware of the jellyfish.
Note to self: Visit my regular reads and something new. Sometimes, I visit new sites several times. I reflect on what I’ve just read and find a connection. I may find wind, or none at all.
I think back on these lessons as I blog. I don’t have a sail boat anymore. I do have this blog now. I am sustained by the winds, the water’s currents, the captains. For sure, I will remember these lessons too.