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The chronicles of an optimistic sailor*

If we weren’t inherently optimistic, I suspect most of us would give up sailing. If you spend any time with a boat and on the water, that optimism is frequently tested.

The weather forecast predicts moderate winds from the desired direction to accomplish your weekend cruise. What you get is building to gale force or dead calm. If the former, it will be on the nose both out and back. Then the optimist will enjoy tacking practice!

You’re making a quick trip to a service marina for a minor repair. On the way, the engine dies. So, sail on, tow in, new racor filter, engine service and fuel polishing. But the minor repair gets made, and now you have clean fuel and a fresh filter. It is after all only $$$. (see a previous post on the $$ topic).

A wonderful weekend cruise, with ideal wind conditions and lovely weather. Arrive at the anchorage, drop sails — I said drop sails……!   Well, the main won’t come down. Anchor down, and while puzzling solutions a friendly neighboring boat comes by with a bosun’s chair and a volunteer attitude to winch me up the mast. Problem solved and a new friend made.

Getting the idea? There’s always (almost) some sunshine even on a cloudy day.

Always thought about racing, but then my boat is cruising designed. None the less, it can be fun. So, cast a net for possible crew and found a couple. First opportunity for an evening club race found moderate conditions, good wind and an easy to follow course. Crew calls to cancel. As a veteran single hander, this is easy. Out of the slip and off to the start line with 8 or so other boats. Prepping for the start, swing the wheel to line up and it just keeps turning, the wheel that is…..drifting now with sails up and no steering. Gotta love the volunteer attitude of sailors. Another boat tosses a line to pull me away from the course. Anchor down while getting sail down and setting up the emergency tiller to head back to the slip – sound familiar? Learned a few lessons about the race protocol, practiced steering with the emergency tiller – not easy. Of interest, the race committee boat had son on board who asked if they had an emergency tiller. Yes. He tried it and found same result. Not easy to use…..

Cable broke..


Chart shows 6ft of water at low water (tide’s out). That short cut will save a good 30mins to destination. Easy choice given the boat draws just 4ft. You know the result. This time it’s a friendly (at least he was laughing) power boater who tosses a line to drag off the sand bar. Should update the chart software for shoaling. No damage done except to pride. Made another friend.

Off shore passage and motoring overnight going well. Engine dies – a long way from nearest port. No luck re-starting. Solution – raise sails just as the little wind astern drops to a whisper. Still, making headway at about 1-2kts. Tow called and he’s about an hour out, but finds us in the dark. Really good news this time – not my boat. On a delivery with owner on board.

The list goes on. There are some old, familiar sayings, ‘What could go wrong?’, ‘if it can go wrong, it will – and usually at the worst time’, ‘B.O.A.T – bring out another thousand’, ‘Any day on the water is a good thing’,. Those and more all created by sailors I’m sure.

So, off again soon for other adventures. Keep a smile on your face and sail on!

*credit for the title of this post goes to my sister who listens to my occasional woes.