Monday, November 15, 2010

Guests Without Gusts

Tony and Dottie
My wife and I recently passed a couple more sailing milestones when we sailed (sort of) for the seventh time a C&C 24 named Mischief. One landmark we passed was that we have now sailed Mischief more times than we sailed the J/24’s during our sailing class. The other highlight of our most recent trip was that it was the first time we sailed with guests aboard.
Having sailed a dozen times under various conditions I finally felt comfortable enough with our experience and skills to invite some friends aboard the Mischief for a sail on Jamaica Bay. Walter, Dottie, Tony and Fran arrived as planned to join us for a wonderfully sunny and warm afternoon on the water. The wind, forecasted to be between 6-8 miles an hour, failed to show up however.
While nearby JFK International Airport recorded winds up to 4.8 mph, we barely enjoyed a breeze and relied more on the outboard motor than the sails to maneuver. A single small gust lasting about 15 minutes did help propel as northward though Jamaica Bay but was all too short-lived. Even though there was not much wind, the glassy smooth surface of Jamaica Bay combined with a deep blue sky and warm sunshine combined to leave us with excellent memories of our first sail with guests. The other memorable event from the afternoon was passing a lone seal in Mill Basin both as we motored out to Jamaica Bay and motored back in at the end of the day.
Walter and Fran
As soon as the sun rested upon the western horizon I turned on the running lights, started up the motor and headed back to the slip. Now that fall has arrived and daylight savings time has ended, the nights are not only longer and coming sooner, there is less twilight between day and night. By the time we drifted into the slip the half moon was shining brightly and we flaked the mainsail, tied off the lines, and closed up the boat in the dark.
During the afternoon sail, everyone but yours truly enjoyed some red wine, supplied by Tony. As the Captain and helmsman, I abstained. After Mischief was secure in the slip at the end of the day, however, I broke out a bottle of Captain Morgan, filled six shot glasses, and we all toasted a fine afternoon on the water. I think ending each sail with a shot of rum will become a Mischief tradition.
Tony, Dottie, Vicki and Walter
It was appropriate that Tony, Fran, Walter and Dottie were our first guests aboard the Mischief because all four, but especially Walter and Tony, have been instrumental in helping my wife and I experience Jamaica Bay via kayaks. Tony is the recently elected Commodore of the Sebago Canoe Club and Walter is the club's is kayaking chair.  Some of my favorite paddling memories are memories of paddling on Jamaica Aby with Tony and Walter.
Upon leaving Kings Plaza Marina, we three couples rendezvoused at Nick’s Lobster House, along the banks of Mill Basin, and enjoyed a post sail dinner together. I think dinner at Nicks has already become a post sailing tradition for Vicki and me.

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