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  • Kathryn's Korner

    Sun, Sailing, Wind and Weather

    As I'm attempting to begin writing this to you, my eyes keep glancing toward the windows to see if there's any way that the sun will come out, because it's very overcast and it has been raining on and off all morning. Though it's very hot outside so I've been trying to talk Herman into taking me sailing. His counteroffer was that we both should sit down and write for awhile, and by then the clouds should be cleared up so hopefully we can go sailing. I'm even surprised myself at how much I have learned to love sailing. The scariest thing about the whole experience is when the boat begins to tip. And I'm proud to tell you that this is because when the wind changes, the sail captures the wind and that is the direction that we wind up going.

    Now Herman is a pretty good sailor, and he generally has complete control of the boat. But when a gust of wind comes up quickly from a different direction, he can only go as far as the sail will let him go. In other words, unlike a motorboat, when one sails it’s really about the wind and the sail. Even a really seasoned sailor will tell you the same thing. Certainly there is technique involved in sailing, but by and large the wind pretty much controls which way the boat might go. Where Herman’s technique comes in to play is in pretty much charting the course. Which he does by manipulating the rudder. I can't believe I even know what that's called! And I even know what it does, too.

    There's also something else called the centerboard, which also helps with direction and steering. Every time I get in the boat, Herman generally has to bring it on the beach in order to get me into the boat. What he did was take a regular patio chair, cut off the legs, and bolt it directly onto the boat where the bench seat normally is. So he basically just picks me up and puts me in the seat. The problem though is that when the boat is on the beach, the centerboard generally gets clogged with sand, so when we do get underway, it's always a challenge for Herman to get the centerboard to drop. Though we can't seem to figure out a better way to actually get me in the boat.

    We generally just use the main sail, but sometimes we will also use the jib, which is the smaller front sail. I can't believe how much I actually have learned about sailing from Herman. He is a great skipper, and I must admit that I’m a fine first mate.

    I’m looking at the sky, and it still doesn’t look great for sailing. Though I’m still attempting to talk Herman into it. He just mentioned that the wind was better, but we may have to put on our rain gear. Well, we’ll bring it along, but at least we’ll still be sailing!

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"