Sunday, April 27, 2014

A day sail with friends ...

We went out on Easter Sunday with Bob and Harolyn Lester and their son Jon, daughter-in-law Jennifer, and their two children Sidney and Avery.  Every one had a lovely time, even though the winds were very light.  We sailed over to the Myaka River and anchored for lunch.  Then returned to the club around 16:30.

Avery, James, Penelope, Jonathan, Bob, Sidney, Harolyn (Jennifer taking the photo)

Sailing the Dyer Dinghy ...

Monday, April 6th is a red-letter day for us, because we actually launched our Dyer Sailing Dinghy Zephyr on the little lake behind our house.  First, we both went out in her and sailed around the lake.  Not much wind, which was good, and we got a feel for her.  Second, I went out alone, but only after capsizing right close to the shore.  Alas, Penelope got no photo of it.  But, we got her emptied out, drained, shipshape, and I climbed aboard to circumnavigate the lake alone.


Penelope followed with a solo sail about the lake, and she got some pretty good winds.  It was, all and all, a lovely day.


Dragon Boat race in Bradenton ...

 The Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club Dragon Boat team at work!

On March 29th, we participated in our first actual Dragon Boat competition in Bradenton, Florida, on the Manatee River.  They put us in the fasted category, Class A, because we're a club-run boat, but we clearly weren't Class A.  In our first race, 350 meters, we were almost cut off by the winning boat at the start , and we came in fourth out of four boats.  (I submit primarily because we were swamped by the winning boat's wake when they cut us off, but protests don't seem to be proffered.  It's not like sailboat racing.) 

Then the organizers cut the race length to 150 meters because of increasing wind and chop.  Still in Class A, we paddled a good race, coming in third.  With our combined race times, we were just .12 seconds off of getting into the trophy race.  But, alas, that .12 seconds still put us out of contention.  All in all it was a great time!

Finally, a little sailing ...

It seems this winter the tides have been extreme and when they have been good the weather has been lousy, with fronts coming through.  Additionally, we've both been busy, me playing music every Monday until the 1st of April with the "Coast Connection" rock/blues/country band, holding Wednesday afternoon jazz rehearsals, and going to yacht club membership committee meetings; both of us going to fishing club meetings on Thursday afternoons and Dragon Boat paddling practices on Wednesday mornings and Saturday mornings.  So, we haven't gotten in much sailing. 

But the weather was so nice and the tides cooperative in late February, that we adjusted our schedule to get out on the water.  The first day, a Thursday, after filling up on diesel, we took Alizee out on a high tide and anchored around 15:00 just outside the entrance to the club.  We lowered the dinghy and motored back into the club at 16:00 for the fishing club meeting, then returned to the boat and fixed ourselves dinner and watched the sunset. 

The next morning we went for a good sail, and along the way through out our trolling line and caught four Spanish mackerel (a story we told on the new fishing blog that Penelope created for our fishing club).  Because we were scheduled for Dragon Boat practice Saturday morning, we just sailed back and anchored again outside the club on Friday evening.  We were too tired to cook up the mackerel, but enjoyed cocktails, the sunset and a dinner that we'd prepared ahead for our little trip.  Next morning, we dinghied into the club for paddling practice.  The engine on the dinghy started missing and was hard to start, a problem which I attribute to old gasoline ... that gas has now been burnt up in my car, but I've not yet given the once over to the dinghy motor.

After paddling, we got back out to the boat, and we set sail for the Myaka River, due west of the club, where we found a nice, quiet anchorage for the night.  Very peaceful, and we awakened the next morning enveloped in fog, two sleepy pelicans floating just off our beam and taking absolutely no notice of us.  Gradually, we heard early morning fishing skiffs feeling their way through the foggy mist, and when it finally lifted, we hoisted sail, weighed anchor and slowly (because there was very little wind) made our way back to our berth at the yacht club. 

This is, of course, being written a while after the fact, and we are sad to report that we've not been out for more than a day sail since.