Today it’s time to put away the motor boat and enjoy sailing. Motor boats are direct. You simply point the bow, give it some throttle, and off you go from here to there.
Sailboats are indirect. Sailers work with the wind that is available. This makes sailing a more mindful experience than a motor boat.
A Problem with Wind Shift
The Beach Bar in Cincinnati is at the northeast end of the lake. The winds normally blow from the opposite, southwest, end of the lake. This means that after launching, I tack the boat back and forth up the lake then turn to fun downwind and begin again.
Because the winds are from the southwest most of the time, I designed the dock to make it easy to launch and return to dock under sail (the boat in Cincinnati doesn’t have a motor).
This worked great until the wind turned for about a week recently to blowing from the northwest. This made landing and launching the boat difficult but not impossible.
A Memory Sparked an Idea for My Docking Challenge
On the second day of northwest winds, I was reminded of an event five plus years ago. When my Great Uncle John Ferris and my friend John Karp spent a weekend teaching me how to sail the Winnijean, my first “big sailboat”. It’s usually docked in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
Even though the Winnijean had a motor, John & John were insistent that I learn to dock the boat under sail because, “motors don’t always work” they said. They insisted that I practice sailing up to a floating buoy and stop the boat under sail alone.
When they felt I was ready, they had me sail into the marina and dock. I was TERRIFIED. Fortunately, the teaching they gave me stuck and I sailed in without incident.
Last summer around this time, I was returning from a wonderful sail on the Winnijean and UGH the engine wouldn’t start to bring me into the marina.
Worst of all, the winds were strong and I had a number of people on the boat who were nervous being on a sailboat. They asked, “Do you know what you’re doing? Shouldn’t we call on the radio for someone to tow us in?”
I gulped thinking that I have never sailed into the dock on PEI. I had however seen a number of really bad crashes by others who had tried.
Suddenly, I remembered John & John. I said, “Of course I can, because motors don’t always work. I just use the sail as my throttle.”
Ok so I was bluffing a little.
To increase my odds of success, I let the sail in and out a number of times to get a feel for the speed I got in different positions.
The tricky part of this maneuver was I had to do two 90 degree turns to get to my dock. With a number deep breaths, I sailed into the marina and remarkably sailed the Winnijean gently came into my dock. I sent John & John text messages with a photo of me toasting / thanking them with Paddle Wheel.
Back to Cincinnati – My Problem with Wind Shift
Remembering John & John, I started to experiment with different landing approaches. I used buoys off the shore to replicate the docks.
After an hour or so, I realized that if I adjusted the dock to create two landing areas instead of one, it would be painless to sail into the dock. The next day I made the adjustments with the help of Bruce Forsee – and VOILA – easy to launch and land no matter what direction mother nature desires to blow the wind.
And that my friends is the adaptive way of sailers. It’s how we all need to live life today. We need to take the winds that mother nature gives us, adapting and adjusting as necessary.
When we get good at adapting and adjusting to what life sends our way, we will all have less stress.
Deckhand Rye Kabobs – Beef and or Chicken
Mix Up Marinade
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup of Soy Sauce
1/4 cup of Worcester sauce
1/4 cup of Bourbon or Rye – Suggest Deckhand Rye (94 score) or Paddle Wheel (95 Score)
3 Garlic Cloves minced
3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup of Mixed Fresh Herbs – Heavy on the Basil or 3 tablespoons of Dried
1/2 teaspoon of Pepper
Pierce chicken with a fork (we like thighs) and or steak and place in a plastic bag with marinade for about an hour.
When we make kabobs we also marinade in the same bag as the meats pieces of red onion, green pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and new or fingerling potatoes (I boil the potatoes for one hour in water to accelerate cooking.
Brush the kabobs with oil and cook on medium heat on a grill flipping every four minutes.
I cook steak to 135°F and cook chicken to 165°F. If you want to be super safe, cook to higher temperatures.