Learning to Sail Feed

I “Heart” EW


News about EW – my partner and captain.


Early Stew

Early EW. Before my time.


(The photo below is from our honeymoon.)

scan0008I always knew he had a magnetic personality. Now he positively glows.   As you may remember, last week, I got caught in a storm while in the dinghy when EW was aboard FoxSea, helping them to take her to the travel lift. It was a fierce storm and lightning struck a couple of businesses in the area – and EW was jolted as well. He was standing on FoxSea, holding on to the handle of the bimini and the guard rail on the binnacle. (Both are metal). ”I felt a jolt and it went right through my arms  - hand to hand – across my chest. Then I heard thunder. My hands were buzzing and I sat right down. It was quick.”   I first heard the story from Vicky, who told me I’d better “watch him.” I have no idea what to watch for – twitching, hair loss, religious conversion.

When telling the story, he takes his hat off and exclaims that his hair turned white. Long pause and then he laughs. (NOTE: When we met over 27 years ago, he was so grey then that I wondered how old he was – I can assure you that lightning did not turn his hair white.) Two days after the strike he was approached at the mall by missionaries who want to introduce him to Jesus. He’s a lapsed Catholic and I think it’s going to take more than one lightening strike for him to convert. Just sayin’.  So far he’s not twitching, either.

P6280225Color me green for envy. He is in great shape and he doesn’t seem to work at it.  We  both lost weight at the start of the trip, he continued to lose more weight after Hampton, Virginia. I did not. I’m happy for him, but a slimmer body has presented problems. Before we left he had purchased three sets of swimming trunks in Maine and he’s been complaining that they are now a little loose, but that hasn’t been a problem when we swim off the boat and snorkel. However when he attempted a manly lunge out of the pool at Port Louis Marina, he placed his hands on the edge and launched himself up into the air. The trunks did not follow. EW felt a draft and immediately fell back into the pool but not before he had mooned everyone. I’ll probably have tailor his trunks a bit. 





P8080064Getting back to above his shoulders, some of you may have noticed that EW looks a bit scruffy in recent photos. Yes, he’s due for a haircut and finally he’s going to go to a barber and get a professional cut – the first since Maine.

But it’s more than a shaggy head of badly cut hair.

EW is growing a beard.

We are past the “Oh my god that’s prickly!” stage and I quite like the feel of it now. It’s a good kind of tickle and very useful. ‘Nuf said.

Though I am clearly affected by this growth on EW’s face and neck, I wasn’t consulted. It took a few days to realize that he did not intend to shave for the foreseeable future.  I didn’t have any power regarding this issue, and from chatting with other cruising wives I’ve found that this is a common occurrence – particularly by men of a “certain age”. They don’t want an earing or tattoo so they show their cruising freedom by ditching the razor.

Most of  these men have nicely trimmed cruising beards. Once EW’s beard has enough hair to shape/style/trim he says he’s going to do all of those things to make it look good. In the meantime I’m married to Captain Scruffy – and that’s OK.  Of course neither of us know how to shape/trim/style a beard. This should be interesting.

The currency of EW. Astute readers will have notice that in the Carnival post I listed the price of the package as $70.00 EW. I’ve fixed the typo, but “King EW” was mentioned, and I think he’d like having his own currency. He may be a scruffy sailor with a magnetic personality, but he’s my scruffy sailor.


IMG01003Bonus round. Why do I call him EW?

If you know this, you can stop now. For new readers ..when we lived aboard year-round in Maine, we were frequently interviewed by local reporters looking for a new human interest story. One of them spelled our last name incorrectly and I was not pleased. When a different paper approached us a week later I was insistent that the young reporter get it right. “He’s an EW Stewart”,  I said – with some force. OK with a lot of force and insistence and I may have said it more than once … or twice.

When the article appeared my husband had become “E.W. Stewart Hart” and was referred that way through the entire article as in, “E.W. Stewart Hart is ..” and “E.W. Stewart Hart said ..”  So, on Twitter and in my blog, he is EW. 

Thank goodness my scruffy, svelte, kingly sailor is a good sport.

Becoming a Better Team Member, and Helping Your Mate to do the Same

While we are a pretty good team, we're both learning new skills and new ways to work together on the boat. Ew is so delighted that I'll tackle this lifestyle that I’ve started out with a surfeit of built up “spouse points”, but they only take me so far. Since I’m more comfortable when I understand the situation, I’ve begun asking a lot of questions, particularly when anchoring, but the best way to learn is to do – and to have the opportunity to make mistakes.

In the cruising life, learning by doing happens one of three ways: 

Take a class for First Mates. If you’re a woman, there are a number of programs for women only. I’ve been told that you return to your mate and your boat with much greater confidence.

On the spot during a crisis or when the Captain is otherwise occupied. The first time I set the anchor without any instruction was in Maine. We had no visibility in fog,  motoring on a course we knew very well, leading a boater from away when our engine sputtered and died. We were motoring towards Quahog Bay in an channel between two rocky ridges in 14 feet of water. EW dove for the engine and I set the anchor, just like that. There is nothing like a little adrenalin to help you act quickly. More recently, now that we’re setting two anchors and EW is handling the foredeck, I’m getting a lot more experience maneuvering the boat in tight places. He can’t be two places at once, and while he does give good direction regarding what he needs me to do to help him raise the anchor, it is my responsibility to keep us away from other boats, anchor lines, and shoals. Every time we deploy or haul the anchor I get more practice in turning the boat, using neutral, forward, reverse and the right amount of power to get La Luna where she needs to be.

Under the captain’s direction, with the captain largely keeping quiet. This circumstance can be rare. When first mates get together to discuss learning to sail, they’re nearly always discouraged by the constant directions given by their captain. “I’m not sure if I know how to do this or not,” one first mate will say. “Every time I try it out he just tells me step by step what to do.” This is not the way to help us build confidence. In defense of good captains everywhere, I know that we first mates are generally not much better when we are teaching our captains something. Neither EW nor I have a lot of patience. It’s much easier to say -- “No, not like that,” or “Turn to Port”. 

The wise, loving team member will focus on the goal of a more capable and more confident crew and allow time and space for mistakes. You don’t teach a child to add by giving them the answer before he’s figured it out. When you learn to ski, you have to fall. Most of us learn by doing and that includes learning from our mistakes, which means we have to be given enough leeway in a safe area to make mistakes in order to learn. Unfortunately, when we sail or power large boats near rocks and shoals, or make passages in heavy winds, errors can be costly and even dangerous, and it's impossible for captains not to micro-manage.

I’ve seen EW dock La Luna into very tight quarters, and I’ve seen him get into problems docking in contrary wind and current. He (mostly) remains calm and knows what he needs to do to get La Luna safely secured.  That kind of boat handling comes with years of experience, and it’s nearly impossible for a First Mate to get that experience.  Back in Maine, in the early spring we’d pick a day and I would do drills for docking the boat, then I would go back to handling the lines and fenders.  Though EW would often be willing to let me try it, I am not confident at docking and don’t take La Luna in to new slips.

As I’ve said in earlier blog post, one of the best things EW has done to help me learn to sail was to purchase an O’Day 17 for me. I had her for two seasons and designated her as a “woman ship”. While I would occasionally let EW handled the tiller, If I was at the helm he wasn't allowed to give me any direction at all. Selene would sail or sink based solely on my abilities. It was hard for him at first, but he stuck with the rule whenever he joined me. I’d also take her out alone, or with other women and my sailing skills on La Luna increased greatly as a result.

I imagine those in an RV have it a bit easier, as they already know how to drive a car. Perhaps like sailors, they may want to find an instructor (a woman friend who is accomplished like my Robbins cousins and Huff nieces)to teach them to back the rig. 

As frustrated as I’ve gotten when EW tells me what to do before I’ve had a chance to figure it out myself, I’m grateful that he is not like some of the captains we’ve seen along the way.  On the dock in South Portland, we called one boat “GoddamitMarion” as that is what the captain would say repeatedly to the first mate when they were docking. We refered to another captain as the “Man Who is Married to J.C.”, because when switching from one slip to another, instead of turning in circles while his wife readied the lines and fenders for the other side, he headed straight for the new slip with shouts of, “J----- C-----! Get that fender on!” and J---- C-----! Tie the bow line!”

On La Luna, as EW and I get better at this new lifestyle, perhaps we’ll have new patience with each other and remember that things could be worse. (Though it would be a cold day in H. E. Double Hockey Sticks before I’d head across the ocean with a captain like one of those described above.)

Women Sailors - I Am One!

I learned a valuable lesson at the boat show today.  This is the weekend for the Maine Boatbuilders Show  -- a show that is much better than the web page would indicate. This Portland Maine event began over 20 years ago as the brainchild of Phineas Sprague, owner of Portland Yacht Services. At the time I was selling radio advertising for a local station that attracted boat people (people with money) and EW was selling marine products to area boatyards. He insisted that Phin and I meet with the result being that my station was the media sponsor for the show for a couple of years. After that it was clear that the show was an world renown annual event and did not need local radio sponsorship as much as they needed booth space for boat builders. 

But I digress, big time.

For the past 8 years, we have exhibited at the show as part of Great Island Boatyard and Great Island Yacht Brokerage. I have an active role in the booth.

Since this show is in Portland we see a lot of folks we know - customers, neighbors, members of our yacht club, clients of my business, fellow chamber members ... the list goes on and on.  OK -- I will get to the topic of this post -- really. A couple we know stopped by the booth and as EW was chatting with Him about boats She and I chatted about a lot of things - which led to when we first met over 25 years ago.

As has been (and will be) discussed frequently in this blog, I had never sailed until I met EW. As I have related a lot here and in real life, on our third date, EW looked me deep in the eyes and said, "I sail and all of my friends sail." I said, "I"m sure I can learn."

Twenty five years later I'm still working on it -- though increasingly I realize that I am a woman sailor -- not a woman who is learning to sail. That was brought home once again today. Rather forcefully.

When EW and I were dating, we briefly met a woman who had recently divorced and who had kept the sailboat. She was sailing and racing the boat on her own. My recollection of this meeting was that EW was astounded and agog that a woman like that existed. I admit that I carried inside me this kernel of doubt as in "Wow, he could have met her first -- a woman who knows how to sail and who has a sailboat." Yet here he was, stuck with me who knew nothing.

We later became casual boating friends with this woman and the man who is her husband now. They've been married nearly 20 years and sailed together on her boat, then on a larger sailboat, and now they have a power boat. For over 25 years in my mind I have lifted her up onto a pedestal and have certainly felt she was a better, more accomplished boater than I. 

She is a lovely, fun woman. She is a good boater. She may know more than I about some things but she is not the uber-boater/sailing paragon/holy grail of potential boating spouses to whom I had been comparing myself these 25 years. 

Today She told me -- "Oh when we got divorced, I would sail with girlfriends. But only on sunny days where I knew the area. I can't navigate." I asked her, if she had learned to navigate now. "Not really." 

Wow. We talked some more and there is no reason to go into the differences about what we know and what we each enjoy about boating. Suffice it to say, that this very neat, smart woman is not the perfect woman sailor I had thought her to be. I'm certainly not the perfect woman sailing spouse either -- the point is that at this late post-50 stage of my life I still need to stop comparing myself to others and focus on what I know and on what I want. 

I am a woman sailor and I know a lot. I will learn a lot more. I want to go sailing around the world with EW. EW married the right woman and that woman is a sailor. He's a lucky man. 

Learning to Sail and Gybing the Boom (Jibing the Boom?)

So as you have probably figured out by now -- particularly if you have read the opening blog --  that I didn't know how to sail when I met EW. I had never been sailing. I had been on the ocean on a ferry to Nova Scotia and that's about it. Having grown up in Central Maine, I grew up knowing quite a bit about Maine's small lakes and ponds and not much at all about our coastline. Daddy had a 14 foot aluminum fishing boat and he liked Moosehead, Wassookeag, Sebec and China Lakes and a number of small ponds. 

So -- as has been mentioned (a lot) -- on our third date EW looked deep into my eyes and stated, "I sail and all of my friends sail." I said that I was sure I could learn. He didn't have a boat at that time (and frankly, I did wonder if he could really sail or was a "come up and see my etchings" kind of thing). Anyway he got me out on a few OPB's (Other People's Boats) and then rented a Cape Dory 28 for a week. That's all the sailing I had done until our honeymoon. 

So, EW has some great friends (now our great friends) who own a Hinckley - Competition 41. (This is where you all go "ooooooo, a Hinckley!") These friends, F & E, gave us a week on their boat for a wedding gift. Two other couples from the group provisioned the boat.  We all met on Vinalhaven in Penobscot Bay for a lobster feed and to get us checked out on the Hinckley. The next morning after pancakes on board for all, EW and I sailed away for a week. Alone. On a sailboat.  

Two more things you need to know. When he rented the Cape Dory 28, EW was smart enough to know that sailing with only me, She Who Knew Nothing, would get old. So we invited a dear friend of his to join us for most of that week.  This larger boat would be the first time I had been really required to help sail a boat for a period of time. Secondly, shortly after the "I sail and all of my friends sail" speech, EW had suggested that I take a Power Squadron navigating course.  I have a good sense of direction and it turns out that I am quite good at navigating. Back then, (25 years ago this coming July) navigating was all dead reckoning with paper charts and dividers, etc.   So off we go on our honeymoon, two newly weds, one OPB, and lots of food and drink.  We enjoyed Penobscot Bay and headed East for Blue Hill Bay and Mt. Desert. 

One of the challenges of spousal education is spousal communication. EW didn't always remember that I. Knew. Nothing.  about how the boat worked and some of his commands and direction were lacking. On the other hand, I was very nervous about "that heeling thing" and refused - absolutely REfused to take the helm. Ever. As in when he needed to "go to the head" I offered to hold a bottle for him. (That did not go over well at all.) So for the entire trip, EW captained and handled the helm and I was very green crew and outstanding navigator. 

Now finally - to our tale ..... drum roll please. I think I have to relate this as we do when we tell new friends who have not heard this one yet.

Barb: So we were going wing and wing -- down wind on a windy day -- 

EW: The wind was blowing twenty knots and we were having a great sail.  I was loving it, just hummin' along, heading into Frenchman's Bay.

Barb: So I go down below to make lunch and after a few minutes I look out the port and see an island. I pop up and say, where are you going? He says he's going behind thus and so island. I said that isn't thus and so it's such and such and there's a sand bar behind it you can't go this way.

    (Now you would think in 25 years I would have looked at a chart and gotten the names of those     islands. I have not. They've been "thus and so" and "such and such" for a long time.)

EW: So I told her, "You need to get up here, then. We're going to have to jibe the boom. Do you want to take the wheel or do you want to jibe the boom?"

Barb: Well, I still wasn't going drive the boat because I was afraid I'd tip it over so I said I'd jibe the boom. Now this boom had a preventer that was a b.i.t.c.h. The preventer is a line with ptackle used when going downwind to hold the boom so that it will not jibe unexpectedly. I was going to have to release it and install it on the other side of the boat. I hated that preventer as it ate fingers for lunch, but I wouldn't take the wheel because I'd tip the boat over. 

EW: So I told her, "Look it's very important that you control the jibe. You see that line going up and down from the cabin top to the boom? Well you take that line and you pull it in as much as you can and when I say 'Jibe Ho' you let it out gently. You are the brake. If the boom slams over it will take the rigging out and really damage the boat."

Barb: No pressure there, right? So here's the thing. I didn't pay attention in physics class. Ever. Sailing is basically all physics. That line he was talking about was of course the main sheet and it goes "up and down" from cabin top to boom through a series of pulleys. Instead of grabbing one section of the line and using the pulleys to help me. I wrapped both hands around all of the up and down sections and pulled as hard as I could. It wasn't enough.  Now EW is sailing the boat and handling the jib. This type of Hinckley has only one jib winch and it is behind the wheel, so when he is messing with the jib he isn't looking forward.  I got the preventer off, and went for the main sheet (all of 'em) and he turned the wheel, called "Jibe Ho" and turned to bring in the jib. I held on for dear life as that boom carried me all the way across the deck of the boat, bouncing the left side of my body on the cabin top, hand rails, and winches as I flew over them.  I'm tall enough (OK, big enough) that the boom stopped gently right where it was supposed to.  

   EW turns and says, "That was great!" 

    I said, "That hurt!" 

    He said, "You have to expect some discomfort when sailing."

    I said, "Discomfort, HELL! Real people shouldn't have to do that!"

Still Barb:  So we sail a very short distance before it is time to jibe back on course. 

EW: I offered to let her take the wheel and the jib ... 

Barb: But I said that no, I'd .. (well you get the idea). So proving that I am a natural blond AND a good sport, I went back to the boom and again grabbed all of the lines going up and down from deck to boom. 

EW: She two blocked it. (This is said with a touch of manly disgust) She had no leverage at all.

Barb: When we told my folks this story this is where my mother who had never sailed in her life looked at me and said, "Jeesum, Barb. I grew up on a fahm. I know what a pulley's for."  So anyway. Yes, yes I did do the exact same thing as we jibed back. Only this time, I bounced the right side of my body across the cabin top and hand rails and winch handles. And this time, EW got done with the jib more quickly and saw it.

EW: I turned around and there she was, flying across the deck with her legs out behind her. I'd never seen anything like it. I yelled,  "What the HELL are you doing?"

Barb: And I replied, "I'M JIBING YOUR G#*-D*$$ED BOOM!" (Remember, this is our honeymoon.)

EW: It was amazing. 

Barb: So later that afternoon we sailed into the town dock at Sorrento and on the dock is - no kidding - another Hinckley Competition 41. The doctor who owned it was there, tinkering and cleaning her and he very gladly helped us dock. We got off the boat and introduced ourselves and chatted a bit. He was looking at me a little strangely. At one point, EW took our garbage up to the barrel and the doc leaned closer to me and looked me deep in the eyes and asked, "Are you all right?". I looked at him blankly. His eyes dipped lower, to my legs -- both of which were breaking out in the most spectacular bruises you can imagine. "Seriously," he said, "you say the word and I will get you away from him right now!". Of course I just burst out laughing and as EW came back we had to relate, for the first time, how I learned to jibe a boom. 

EW: And then the doctor asks her if she has a sister - cause he'd love to sail with a woman who is such a good sport! 

Choosing Fun

Whee! So yesterday I had a long to-do list and a boat that needed some house work done and what did I do? I went sailing of course!

Within a week we will have La Luna hauled in order to pull her mast. It is time to have the rigging and lights redone. We will then motor back to our home port in South Portland and put on the plastic cover for a 6 month stay on the dock. Yesterday's light breezes weren't enough for our big boat, but it was a nearly perfect fall day for Selene, my 17' O'Day sailboat.

EW had driven to the boatyard in Harpswell in order to show a boat. A couple of hours after he left, I called to tell him I was on my way to take him for a sail. He did not need any urging. "Come on!"

Stew Sailing Selene 10.25.06

As you can see, the leaves were at their peak on the coast. There were very few other boats on the water, hardly any noise at all. We listened to the lapping of the water against Selene's hull, the birds (gulls, cormorants, and roosters - really), and sounds of folks chopping wood on shore. We could have done with a bit more wind -- but we are not complaining. It was a nearly perfect day.

These are things I need to remember: Choose fun. Celebrate. Live.

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Teaching Your Wife/Husband to Sail and Other Secrets of a Long Marriage

On Friday, my wonderful husband delivered a used 17 foot O'Day "Day Sailer" to me at Great Island Boatyard in Harpswell. I am delighted, thrilled, and acting like a kid with a new toy. 

As I write this I am on La Luna, our floating home working and wondering if there is enough wind in Quahog Bay to take Selene for a sail. Since I will not be in Quahog Bay today, the question is moot, but I do want to sail my boat. 

In a normal summer (one with decent weather and a husband who didn't spend July battling cellulitis) we sail/motor to Great Island Boatyard every Thursday or Friday and return to South Portland for the work week on Sunday evening. As a Yacht Broker, Stew works all of Friday most of Saturday and a bit on Sunday, so I am left to my own devices in an area with no cell phone coverage and limited Wifi on the mooring. Last summer Stew (EW - to those who follow @BarbAtSea on Twitter) was gifted with a small sailing dinghy really suitable for one child  or small person. She had one sail, and did not point well, but I had a ball sailing that boat around the bay. 

This weekend Stew purchased the 17 foot boat that can easily take three adult women (Woot) and that I can also sail alone. Unlike the smaller dinghy sailboat, this one has a main and a jib, and a small cuddy cabin to keep things relatively dry. She sails much faster, points to windward better, and is much more responsive than the dinghy sailboat. I will be able to practice maneuvers that will come in handy as we sail "La Luna" to more distant ports. I've named her "Selene" as in goddess of the moon to show that she respects the queen of our fleet, "La Luna". I spent most of Saturday cleaning her, and running down the few parts I needed. EW fixed one broken spreader - he is talented like that - between selling boats and listing boats and showing boats. 

That afternoon, we took her for a short sail and discovered the centerboard wouldn't come down. We fixed that for the season and called it a day. On Sunday, we took the inflatable to shore, got a newspaper, towed Selene back to the mooring in the outer harbor and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. Stew then went to the office while I puttered and waited for the wind to fill in. Finally, La Luna's flag was fluttering to indicate that we had wind, and I set sail on Selene. Once moving through the water, I called Stew on the marine radio to let him know. He was done with work and ready for a sail, so I stayed in the vicinity until he was ready to join me. 

I love Stew. We have been married for 24 years and I want to stay married to him for at least 51 more. He is welcome on Selene whenever I am not sailing with women friends. (With all of this build up you know what's coming, right?) Yep. We had "a moment". 

I need to learn some things on my own. I don't do well with being told stuff and not being able to try it myself, without interference. Except for one marginal sailing class on a Sunfish 25 years ago, everything I have learned about sailing I learned from my husband. There are many sailing programs and classes just for women for a reason. Spouses (of either gender) don't let spouses make mistakes and learn from them. We prod, we teach, we poke, we gently remind, point out, correct -- we interfere. I do that when I am the "expert". Stew did that as I was handling my new boat on Sunday, telling me I was too close to the wind and to fall off. I made the course adjustment, but also responded with the rolled eyes and snarky manner of a 14 year old. (Hey - I'm not proud of that, but I am truthful.) 

Stew was perceptive enough to say, "Do you not want me to tell you anything or what?" I replied, "No, I don't. You have told me how to sail for 24 years. These are things I need to try myself in order to really learn it. Unless we are in real danger, I want you to be the crew and enjoy the ride." He grudgingly agreed, but then showed he didn't quite get it when he eagerly added, "But do you feel the difference?" I told him he couldn't even ask that, and didn't answer him. 

This is a conversation we have had for over 20 years on four different boats. We both know that I have to sail this boat on my own in order to feel the wind in the sails, make the corrections, and build my confidence. It is past time. We had a terrific day on the water. Yes, I did offer him the opportunity to take the tiller (and total command of the "ship") and he showed me a new way to rig the jib sheet when sailing downwind. I discovered why the sheet gets hung up on the spreader and suggested a fix for that. I am learning to be a better, more observant sailor - because I have insisted on having the time to make my own observations. 

Stew did two great things this weekend. He got me a wonderful boat to learn on -- and he agreed to step back and let me learn. I can take 51 more years of that!

Sailing in Maine: Two Wrongs - Two Rights It All Evens Out

Those who follow me on Twitter (@BarbAtSea)know that we left the dock for the first sail of 2009 on July 2nd. This is almost two months later than normal and due entirely to the horrendous weather we've had this year. The photo at left was captioned: "Barb At Sea, Truly, Really at Sea. I love my boat.' 

I do love my boat; I love sailing with Stew; and for the most part I enjoyed the sail regardless of the weather. What very few people knew was that we left South Portland at 5:30 AM with the intent to arrive in Harpswell at Great Island Boatyard by 9:00 AM, showered and ready for busy work days for both of us. We didn't make it to GIBY until 11:30 because the engine sputtered and died just outside of Jewell Island. 

Wrong: EW had checked the fuel the evening prior, and knew that we  had fuel in the reserve tank, but thought that one or both fill tanks were empty. We were tired, we wanted an early start and he thought there was enough to get to our destination, where we could fuel up prior to heading back to our home port. We don't actually know how to measure the amount of fuel in the reserve tank or how long that will take us. That isn't a safe boating practice and we know it. 

Second Wrong: When the engine died, he and I both immediately assumed we were out of fuel. We didn't even think of other possibilities. Clearly we both had wondered if there was enough for the trip, so that the first and only cause that we considered. The next day, when EW brought 5 gallons of diesel out to the boat -- he discovered that we actually had fuel in the tank. In fact, the level on the stick was nearly as high as it was when we started out on Thursday. Ah-ha! Then we looked for other issues and sure enough, we found a clogged fuel filter. Changed it out, bled the engine and the issue is solved. We could have done that Thursday morning and arrived nearly on time. I would have been on time to my appointment and completed more phone calls, but we would have missed a very fine sail, which brings me to ... 

First Right: While the wind wasn't coming from the optimum direction for a direct and timely sail to GIBY, we did have wind. We worked together to quickly unfurl the mainsail, move us away from the rocks, unfurl the jib and correct the course to allow for multiple tacks to our chosen entrance to Quahog Bay. We had good visibility, good wind, light rain, and a really nice sail. I plotted the best course given the conditions and we were able to sail right up to the mooring. I love the teamwork in sailing. I love being able to work with my life's partner to make the boat move, overcome challenges, and fix problems. 

Second Right: I told only 3 very close friends that EW had allowed us to run out of diesel. We joke, we tease, and we "tell on" each other -- but not about things that would be deeply embarrassing or are unprofessional. EW is a yacht broker and licensed captain. He is phenomenally knowledgeable about sail and power boats, can fix just about anything, and I trust him with my life. He was right that we had more than enough fuel to reach our destination. And I have recanted my story and reported the correct version to those 3 close friends. 

Lessons learned: 

  1. We need to determine how to know the actual amount of fuel we have in the tanks. We use the diesel to run our furnace in the winter, and we heat water through that system when we are away from shore power in the summer. We cannot rely on engine hour records to give us accurate information about the amount of fuel left on board.
  2. We need to take the time to do things right and to make sure we are completely ready for a safe passage, whether it is a matter of 30 miles or 3000 miles. We were anxious to finally move the boat away from the dock and impatient to take off. Certainly many a world sailor has found themselves in rough weather and dangerous situations due to being insistent on getting to a certain port regardless of the circumstances. 
  3. Trust your partner and your boat. We didn't panic, blame, condemn or yell. We just got to work to move the boat. Because of that, it was indeed a great sail. I do love our boat .. and EW.