A Wonderful Sail Yesterday

Yesterday, I went out to the lake to sail. I stopped on the way to pay a bill. When I arrived at the marina, despite forecasts of wind, there was nothing. Then I realized my phone dropped from my pocket while paying that bill. I drove back to the place, retrieved my wallet, and thought, “No wind. Why bother going all the way back out.” I drove toward home, yet turned on to the highway toward the marina without even realizing it. So I figured, “Okay, let’s try anyway.” On the way, I did see some tree tops moving and some waves forming on the lake. The wind was coming up.

That’s not the first time things like that have occurred to me. I’ve taken the “wrong” highway, ending up in the same place I was suppose to be, only by a different route, and only realizing it when I entered the destination from a different place than I’d recalled from the last time there. I knew it was the right “wrong” way, and wondered what was on the other route that I was prevented from taking: an accident that might delay me? an accident waiting for me? Don’t know. Some things just work out the way they do. Things happen.

At the dock, Cassandra, a Cape Dory Sailboat, was looking pretty good, despite needing her teak oiled and some yellow jackets buzzing around the mast. I’ve sealed off the places they used to build nests, but now they’d found a place under the mainsail cover that apparently suited them. Without ado, I cranked up the motor, cast off the lines, and backed out of the slip. The slip is located deep within a cove, off the lake. The water was calm, mostly clear, and I really wondered if it would be worth it going out. I motored slowly toward the mouth of the cove, rounded the shoreline, and was surprised to see another sailboat on the water, full sails, and moving along just fine. As I entered the lake, I could feel the wind now, coming out of the west. The cove is well protected from that direction, which is why it appeared not to be any wind at all.

DSCN3325Soon I shut off the motor, removed the sail cover, which made the few remaining yellow jackets take fly to another haven, and went forward to the mast where I raised the sail. Returning to the cockpit, I sheeted in the mainsail and began to slowly move ahead. Unfurling the jib to it’s full size, I gained further headway. Though the wind was light, under ten miles an hour, I easily made between three-and-a-half to four mph heading southwest about forty-five degrees off the wind. The light wind had very little gusting, and I easily trimmed the sails to point high enough to clear two small islands off to port, my left, and proceed up the lake toward Three Sisters Islands.

The wind began to vary in strength, and Cassandra responded, heeling about 15 degrees and leaping forward nearly to full hull speed of six miles per hour. This lasted five minutes or so and she would settle back down as the wind slowed. This process repeated many times along our route. An occasional gust or change in the direction of the wind did little to disturb Cassandra’s drive toward the islands, though it had me pulling in on the sheets to trim the sail a time or two. We went on this way, remaining on the same tack, that is with the sail to port and wind to starboard, to the right off the bow, for nearly two hours. Finally, we changed direction, tacking and rounding about near the island, then steering a course back toward the marina.

The entire time we were out, dark clouds moved slowly overhead, with only a few gaps where the sun could pop its head through to say, “Hello.” Only a few fishing boats hung around the shores, and one family towing kids on a tube behind a small powerboat sped happily past. One large cruiser moved quickly across my bow, leaving a large wake, which Cassandra bound over as if she were a horse jumping a fence. Or perhaps Cassandra was dreaming of the ocean, and the waves offshore. I think she wants to sail the seas, and only hope she’ll take me as her crew. The other sail boat I’d seen earlier came nearby once and we exchanged greetings as he rounded a buoy I’d just pasted, perhaps preparing for a race or just having fun. His two small children, bundled in life jackets, stood along the stern rail, and waved.

The sail, yesterday, was peaceful. It’s often like that during the week days, unlike the weekends when so many boaters are out. The clouds made it feel a little cooler, too, blocking the intense rays of the sun. It was a nice morning. I like the water, both lakes and ocean. I like being on the water and I like being in the water. I always have. There’s something soothing about the water. Water is unpredictable, too, untamed. Yet it brings me back to a peaceful place where I find a measure of refreshment. Spending some moments such as those yesterday, sailing, open my ears to hear what the Lord would speak to me through the His words recorded by the Apostle Paul so long ago:

I [Paul]therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of

the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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