Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adventures In Sailing! - Night Sailing, Rescues, and Elbow Braces

Ever since I have gotten my engine back I have done as much sailing as possible. This usually involves getting at least one other person and a nice day. With all the rain over the past month I haven't gone as much as I would have liked but I have done quite a bit. One thing I have been doing quite a bit lately is sailing in the evening. I really enjoy it. The temperature is even (no sun to be hidden behind the clouds) and it just seems very peaceful. Plus, the DC skyline is nice at night. One thing that I learned pretty quick is that other boats sneak up on you fast at night since their lights blend into the skyline. And for whatever reason there seems to be more traffic from the big boats at night.

If you have spent any real time boating you have probably been part of a rescue at one point or another. One of the Federal boating rules is that you must render aide to a stranded vessel as long as rendering such aide will not endanger yourself. From my time with my speed boat and this sailboat I have been the rescuer twice and the rescuee once. My first rescue was in the back bay area south of Ocean City on my speed boat. It was a swamped canoe that we brought aboard with the two canoers and drove them to shore. Having 9 people plus a canoe on a 19' boat was a little crowded, to say the least. My time being the rescuee involved the lower unit of my speed boat grenading while coming home from messing around in the lower part of the Chesapeake. Had to get a two to shore from a passerby and they hire a tow boat to take me to the other shore since the one we were towed to didn't have a public ramp.

This brings me to a recent adventure, being the rescuer on a sailboat. Normally it is sail boats being rescued speed boats, but in this case it went the other way around. We were sailing in the Potomac and I heard a horn toot twice and some yelling. Honestly, I tried to ignore it because they were close to shore and we were having so much fun sailing. But they honked again and then I saw them trying to paddle. I wasn't able to pretend they weren't in trouble anymore so we dropped the sails and puttered on over. The keel promptly got stuck before we reached them so it had to be cranked all the way up. We hooked a tow line up to them and then my little 8 hp outboard spent the next hour dragging them the two miles or so slowly up the Potomac to the public ramp they needed to make it to. In hindsight, it is probably good it happened since we decided to head in afterwards. The temperature fell like a brick that night when it became dark and it made for some chilly motoring home. If we had stayed out later like we were talking about doing it would have been miserable going back in.

I took the Mom and the Brother out on Sunday for Mother's Day. We spent a good 8 hours out on the water, probably 6 1/2 of them under sail which makes for the longest continuous sailing day I've had so far. The winds became pretty gusty from time to time and we heeled over quite a bit. Mom's eyes about popped out of her head when that would happen and she kept saying 'Ryan, fix it!'. I let her know that as long as the first word out of my mouth isn't a cuss there is nothing to worry about. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.

Finally, elbow braces. My elbows have really started to hurt pretty bad on some days after a long or particularly rough sail. I finally made it to the chiropractor who told me my elbows were inflamed and it was basically the equivalent of Tennis Elbow. She said it is something the body eventually gets used to but I should wear a brace until it does. So I picked up two Ace elbow braces and they have been added to my sailing equipment. Hopefully my body figures this stuff out sooner than later.

1 comment:

Mark Brown said...

It must have been a great experience. I wish I could also experience that kind of thing, but it's not possible for me right now. But hey, people can dream, right?

Mark Brown