Friday, May 27, 2011

Adventures At Sea.

Yesterday morning I headed down to the Sailing Club to write my tests.
I like how casual this place is - halfway through the second test, an instructor walked in to see how i was doing.  I told him i was doing fine, and planned to go sailing afterwards.  We chatted for a few minutes, and then he left and I finished the tests.  Aced them.
After lunch, a friend and I took one of the J24s out with the plan to sail a loop around the Toronto Islands.  We got out the Western Gap, and floated for a while under the flight paths of the landing planes at Billy Bishop Airport.  After that we headed south to get some room away from the islands and enjoy the giant waves (and cigars).  We tried to sail east past the islands, but this was exactly where the wind was coming from.  Given that we had also dillydallied too long, we gave up and just sailed back in through the Western Gap. 
The Western Gap should be renamed The Western Tinyroutetosqueezeintotheharbour.  With the wind blowing hard on our nose, we had to zig-zag (tack) every 2 minutes to make it through.  This took 20-25 minutes.  Unfortunately, there's also an Airport Ferry that races the 100ft channel every few minutes.  I was just approaching the ferry terminal, and was thinking "all we need is for it to stay docked for one more minute, and we're good."  Of course, this is when the jerk decided to blow his horn and barge (no pun intended) right into my path.  I swerved the boat quickly and de-powered it.  We floated randomly for a bit, waiting for the ferry to pass, and then restarted our impatient zig-zag.  I was getting impatient and thought about starting the engine and DRIVING in, but my friend pointed out that this would be a failure.  So we sailed the whole way in.
FINALLY we got into the inner harbour, took down the sails, started the engine, and headed into the marina.  This is when we saw the TV crew on the dock, interviewing someone.
We watched the cameraman point his camera at us, and record us coming into port.  Did i mention that this was the first time I'd sailed a J24 and was worried about the momentum it held as it slid towards the dock.  The added pressure of a TV crew was not welcome.
Of course, we were going turtle-slow and pulled in so smoothly that we looked like seasoned professionals.  Threw the lines around the cleats, closed the sailboat, and headed into the club for a handful of beers to reward ourselves.

I got home around 7:30 last night, quite drunk and over-sunned, and went straight to bed.  Apparently so did my friend.

A very good day, and i can't wait to do it again.

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