Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bruised, Sprained, and Happy

Yesterday started out so hot and still - even a little muggy. I hate that kind of weather, and it is all too common here. However, I knew a front was headed our way - big storms predicted for today. Fronts mean changing conditions. And changing conditions mean wind.

I had all my sailing gear gathered up and ready, and right after lunch I saw the tops of the taller trees across the street begin to sway. I loaded Betty onto the roof rack and drove over to Gravelly Point. As usual on nice days, the park was packed. I was lucky to get a space right next to the grass - it makes it easier to offload the boat and set her up. I was on the water in no time flat.

For the upper Potomac, it was about as perfect as it ever gets. Warm, in the low 80s. Partly cloudy or hazy, so it is sunny but without too much glare. And good, steady breeze out of the south - 10-15 knots, and none of the usual flukiness. It made for fantastic sailing. You could make good progress to windward since the current was with you. If you wanted to just bury a rail (or your leeward ama in my case), you could set up speed runs on the broad reach, criss-crossing the river.

Starting at the point, I worked my way downriver about as far as the end of the Naval Research Labs, near the plants at Blue Haven. As the crow flies that only works out to about two and a half miles, but it is the farthest south I've gotten sailing out of Gravelly Point. If I hadn't gotten hungry, I could have made it to Old Town, easily.

Betty performed beautifully downwind. I set the sheet in the cam lock, and didn't even have to touch the rudder. We eased straight back towards Fort McNair until we hit the lay line for a screaming broad reach back to the dock. It was a great day of sailing - perfect conditions, not too crowded in the river, and it stayed that way for as long as you cared to enjoy it.

Back on land, things got a bit trickier. Loading up the vaka (center hull), I set the stern up on the roof rack, and began to lift the bow. But something slipped, and the whole thing started to fall. I caught it, awkwardly, by twisting my left hand around some, and pinning most of the weight against my hip, braced against one of the akas (cross bars). I had to hold it like that while I figured out a way to reset myself to lift the bow without any more slippage. I managed it, but it feels like I sprained my left wrist, and there is a nasty-looking bruise on my hip. Pretty minor though, and a small price to pay for such a great day.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

The title of this piece brought back memories of another sailing incident.