Most of you who know me, know that I can sometimes have a penchant for the dramatic or even the hyperbolic. Not this time. I tell you the following as factually as the five of us are able to piece it together. It took days of processing. Some parts we didn't reconcile until the drive home.
Of this adventure I have no pictures. This adventure will have to make do with illustrations I dashed off during down time.
If you read nothing else, read about our encounter with The Storm.
Dave and Jinni's North Channel Adventure
On July 16, we embarked on our Intermediate Sail Cruising Standard On Water Course. We headed for Little Current, Manitoulin Island, a 6 hour drive into Northern Ontario.
Did it put me off sailing? No! It was one of the most exciting adventures of my life. I can't wait to get out in Lake Ontario and try my new skills. I figure it'll be anti-climactic. I'll be hardening sheets with one hand and doing my nails with the other... ;-)
|Accidental Gybe||Literally, a gybe that was not prepared for. To execute a gybe, the mainsail must be hardened, so that its powerful swing is minimized, lest it injure someone or damage the boat. An accidental gybe will happen when the wind is coming from the stern and the main sail is directly in line with it. The wind can catch the opposite side of the sail and swing it.|
|Bitter End||The free end of a line.|
|Crew Overboard Procedure||If one of the crew accidentally falls into the water there is a standard sailing procedure to maximize the safety and speed with which a boat's crew can find, return and stop next to a crew in the water under as wide a range of sailing circumstances as possible. Ideally, the crewman has a life preserver or at least a personal floation device on. If he's lucky, he's conscious, however, CoBs are often the result of an accidental gybe, which can cause concussion or worse. Unless it's the height of summer, the victim has about three minutes before hypothermia sets in, rendering him virtually helpless. Crew overboard maneuvers using a very clumsy crewmember - a deployable floating flag, affectionately nicknamed 'Bob' - are practiced constantly at all levels of sailing skill.|
|Ease||Loosen, as in a sail or a sheet.|
|Gybe||Bring the boat's stern through the wind. The main sail on the boom swings across (abruptly), the foresail is let loose on one side and hardened on the other. Total change in direction is about 45 degrees. This is a risky maneuver, due to the swing of the boom. An accidental gybe is one of the main causes of crew overboards as well as injury or death.|
|Harden||Tighten, as in a sail or a sheet.|
|Heave To||Stop the boat in open water by setting the rudder and sails in such a way that the boat makes no headway. Used to eat lunch, go for a swim or weather storms.|
|Lee Shore||A lee shore is a shore that is downwind. The boat is in danger of drifting into it. In a storm, especially since the crew may heave to and go below, a lee shore is very bad.|
|MAFOR||(Marine Forecast) Weather forecast protocol. code It is a series of numbers that are decoded, on the premise that a short sequence of numbers is less prone to corruption than a long string of words.|
|Sheet||A line attached to a sail.|
|Squall||Rapidly moving storm, with high winds and rain, but lasting only a few minutes. They are a normal part of sailing.|
|Tack||Bring the boat's bow through the wind. The main sail on the boom swings across, the foresail is let loose on one side and hardened on the other. Total change in direction is about 90 degrees.|
|Tripline||A small line attached to the anchor, which goes straight to the surface, tied to a deployed buoy. This line is not under tension. When it is time to weigh anchor, pulling on this line will easily unset the anchor, which can then be hauled aboard.|