The Wind and the Sail Boat

Today on the way into work there were whitecaps on Owasco Lake.  The wind has to be blowing pretty hard for that to happen.  It reminded me of a great story from many years ago.

It was a windy fall day about fifteen years ago very much like this one.  I had purchased a Hobie Cat sailboat and docked it at the yacht club in Fair Haven, NY.  I got this idea that since the wind was blowing hard it would be a great day to go sailing.  I even managed to talk my sister and my son into going with me.

It was so windy that day we needed help to even get out of the slip we were in.  After banging into several docks and almost hitting a couple of expensive sail boats, someone came along with a small motor boat and pulled us out into the middle of the Little Sodus Bay. And that was when the fun began.

We put up the main sail and then the jib.  We finally got the boat under control moving under wind power.  We were doing pretty well when I decided to give the rudder to my young son who had never sailed before.

I suppose that would have been OK any other day but that day.  He immediate turned the boat and the sail perpendicular to the wind which caused the boat to flip immediately.

It was one of those moments that probably would have gone viral if there was a video of it.  My sister and I were ejected right over the widest part of the boat along with everything on the boat.  My sister managed to grab a rope as the wind caught the boat sending it down the length of the bay faster than we could swim!  Trust me when I say that a Hobie Cat on its side has a lot of sail area.

I swam for the cooler and the paddle, my sister had the boat by the rope and my son was floating in the water kind of stunned.  Yes, we all had life jackets on. And then it happened.  We all started laughing.  My son thought that if his Dad and Aunt thought this was all funny, he should too, right?

Within about a minute the boat was way out of reach for me.  Fortunately a friendly person on a jet ski picked me up and off we went to catch the flipped over sail boat travelling at high speed down the bay.

The boat was almost to the end of the bay by the time we caught up to it, flipped it upright (no small feat with a howling wind) and got it pointed in the right direction back to the yacht club.

I sold the boat shortly after that.  I figured I had had my fun, a sailing adventure that could never be topped and the proof that I could not be trusted under sail. 

But boy that sure was a fun day.

Hobie Cat Getaway