Thursday, May 27, 2010

As we headed up the Hudson River today, we came across this beautiful sailboat.
Just imagine, the serene scene as the boat gently cuts through the still waters of the Hudson.
The quiet surrounds you as your engine-less craft glides through the water, the only sound is the sails as they flap in the wind as you come about.

The breeze, just gentle enough to ward off the effects of the sun on your skin, nudges your napkin to the deck as you lift your umbrella drink to your lips.
Sounds great huh?
It's not.

I went sailing once, about 30 years ago and haven't stepped foot on a sailboat since.
There's a reason for that.

Friends of ours invited my wife and I to a day of luxury on their 35 ft sailboat.
It sounded great on paper so we packed up our sunscreen and put on our boat shoes and headed to the dock.
We really don't own boat shoes.

My wife's best friend Jane is who invited us, or as I like to say, was responsible for me being there. Her boy friend at the time, who I shall call Captain Crunch, because I forget his name, owned the boat. He was also the only person who knew anything about sailboats.

We departed the dock about 10am on a hot and humid day in the middle of the summer, motoring out with the little outboard motor on the stern until we got away from the Marina.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky when the motor was turned off and sails were put up. A light breeze filled the sails, and we cruised along nicely.
We had plenty of food, a cooler full of beer and a beautiful day.
Captain Crunch seemed like a nice enough guy.
This had the makings of a great day.

I'm guessing it was around 12:00 when the wind died out.
So we sat in the middle of the bay, as still as a leaf on a pond, soaking up the sun.
We ate and drank and had great conversation.

About 2 pm, I started loosing my gift of gab, because I got the impression from Captain Crunch that it is against some sailing honor code to EVER start the motor, unless it's an emergency.
The sails hung limp serving absolutely no purpose.
Captain Crunch kept looking at the stern, saying, "I think I see a wake."
We sat motionless.

Two hours came and went and we hadn't moved 50 ft.
"I think I see a wake," is the refrain from our Captain.
We're out of beer, it's about 95 degrees with not a breath of wind, the humidity was so bad, breathing was a chore.
Perspiration dripped from my elbows as I sat in a chair.
I thought I was Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway."

It was about 5:30 when I dropped a small hint to Captain Crunch. I said something like, "Why don't you start the freakin motor?"
The sun was getting low in the sky when finally the breeze picked up. It was getting late so we headed back to the dock.

On the way back I experienced about 20 minutes of what people must like about sailing. We were really moving and the boat was heeled over to port.
What fun.

We spent 8 hours in a boat.
About 6 of those hours we sat motionless.
I had 20 minutes of fun.
Shortly thereafter Jane dumped Captain Crunch.

Good move.


slommler said...

What a bummer! Any craft that depends on the wind for power just can't be reliable! As you found out. And you are right...why the heck didn't he use the motor???
Glad you made it back!

Frau said...

Funny story! True on time on sailboat our Captain Crunch worked us to the bone working the drinking beer or enjoying. Not my cup of tea!

Alison said...

What a great story! Still, great photo, sailing boat or not!

dcpeg said...

Oh yeah! I hear ya! The first and last time Spouse went sailing with me on Dad's boat, it was a day that sounded exactly like what you all suffered. The heat made all of us nauseated, including our skipper, my Dad! He wasn't at all reluctant to start the engine after Mom had to put a wet cloth on her neck.

Sailing is hard work, too, but the silence and smooth ride are usually worth it.

beth said...

oh, am i laughing at this one !
captain crunch...and the breezeless day !

i can see why you haven't wanted to try sailing again...BUT, i bet if you ever do, it will be can't be any worse, right ?