Playing “Mast Monkey” while servicing the wind indicator.

I have been waiting for a morning where the weather was  favourable and this was not it.   Strong winds from the East, combined with incoming tide made exiting the canal system a challenge.  The air was moving but it was dirty twitchy stuff caused by flowing between the houses and round the palms.  The best you can do is find the puff , sprint through it and coast to the next, keeping in mind that the next area of wind could be coming from any point of the compass.   It’s good practice but not very satisfying.

Fortunately, it’s a short distance to open water.  Unfortunately, the last leg the one that leads out to the Harbor, is 250 yards long and today it had a strong tidal current. As the tide came in, the entrance was like the mouth of a bottle being filled.  I tacked several times with zero velocity made good.  Ferrying back and forth I felt like  I was in a kayak paddling up stream.  At one point I caved in and broke out the short blade paddle that is stowed in the bow.  Stroking furiously,  I moved the boat through the canal into Charlotte Harbour.  There, I was met with 12 to 15 knots of wind directly on the nose.  The water was confused, with a two foot swing from peak to trough.  No matter what point of sail I chose, there was no path that would prevent water from sloshing over gunnels, swamping the boat.  Perhaps a couple hundred yards farther out there was a proper fetch with consistent seas but I would be sitting in a bathtub long before I got there.

So, I turned downwind and raced back into the main Canal.  I had planned on sailing North, past Fishermans Village and stopping at the Tiki Bar for lunch. But, since that wasn’t going to happen I thought  it might be a good time to try flying the Spinnaker.  I rigged it for a long downwind to the last turn at the end of the gran canal.  It flew with mixed success occasionally it would fill and draw but mostly it sucked up to the jib. To be honest, I should have taken in the jib to allow clear air for the spinnaker but that would have entailed stopping at somebody’s dock and I didn’t feel like doing that after the fight to the entrance.  I got it up and inflated….that’s good enough, for the first time.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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