Cassandra is a twenty-five foot Capy Dory sailboat. She has a full keel and is pretty heavy for her small size. When sailing, I’ve often had some trouble trimming the sails just right so that the boat maintains its course. Some days it seems as though I am constantly making adjustments to the jib or the main or the tiller. It’s a juggling act with the variable speed and direction of the lake’s wind.
A year or so ago I attained a perfect balance. I crawled forward to the mast and leaned around to take this photograph. In twelve or so years sailing Cassandra, it’s only happened a few times. Most of the time the winds are squirrley. Then there’s my sails— over forty years old. The running rigging is about twenty years old, and not in the best shape.
But there’s more to it than that; I’m not all that good of a sailor. It really doesn’t matter how good I am, though, I enjoy being out on the water. Sure, I find sailing easier when conditions are right for me. I like it when the wind is between ten and fifteen miles per hour. I’ve sailed higher winds. It makes me nervious, actually. It’s all about the feeling of control, I think, or lack thereof. It takes wind to sail. No wind means drifting. Going somewhere, but not where one might want to go. Too much wind means reducing the size of the sails to depower the boat. Cassandra has no way to reduce the size of the main sail, unfortunately. One of these days I hope to take care of that problem.
Control. Lack of Control. Drifting along with no wind. Heeling over, being blown off course, in a high wind. It’s all about balance.
Seems to me there are some lesssons that can be learned from sailing. What do you think?