I’ve spent the week fighting a cold that someone passed on to me at work (the bastard), but was feeling good enough yesterday (Saturday) to take a trip over to Pensacola and visit our friends, Kathy and John, at Lanier Sailing Academy. Kathy and John, you might remember, were our sailing instructors for our ASA101 course last March. We’ve been missing them so it was great to see them again!
Our plan, and you know how plans go, was to just pop in for a visit, sign our paperwork to officially join the club, and head off to the Pensacola NAS base to watch the Blue Angels from the airfield. BUT… Kathy asked if we wanted to take a boat out to watch the Angels from the water in the bay. Naturally Shelly and I looked at each other, grinned, and eagerly nodded. Then the “oh shiz” moment set in. And while we are very proficient at sailing our Hobie (even in the roughest of conditions), the Hobie is also not like sailing a true sailboat and it’s been almost 8 months since we’ve been at the helm of a “real” sailboat — one with a boom, halyard, genoa, and something truly able to turn over in the sea if over powered in the sails (something we almost did TWICE last March if you remember).
But playing it safe and comfortable isn’t why we moved to the coast. Adventure, taking a risk to step out of the norm, and living a life less ordinary. That’s why we came here. SO… we took the boat out. BY OURSELVES! I can’t lie, it was nerve racking maneuvering a 22 foot boat through the lanes and turns and congestion of the marina, but we did and soon enough we were in the open water of Pensacola Bay.
Unfortunately there wasn’t any wind to fill our sails, but it worked to our advantage in the end. It gave us plenty of opportunity to practice raising and lowering the main without any worry of dealing with someone getting injured from a flapping sail or a swinging boom under power. We also got to play around with the furling genoa, but a furling sail wasn’t something we’re unaccustomed to. Our Hobie furls. The light air also gave us a chance to just “float” in the bay while we watched the Blue Angels without having to worry about being blown into a shoal or other boaters.
The Navy, as expected, didn’t disappoint! The hour long show they put on was incredible. Their blue jets were screaming over our heads while they flew fantastic maneuvers in such tight formations. If you’ve never had a chance to watch them you really need to find the time and opportunity.
After the show we motored our way back across the bay and into the marina and with our confidence restored after being off of a “real” sailboat for so long we docked with little effort and confusion. Those of you reading this with sailboats of your own can understand how anxious and tense moments like this can be with a vessel that has such little maneuverability at such slow speeds. While we were preparing to leave the dock, earlier that afternoon, we even witnessed another boat coming in who’s captain had to yell out to the bystanders “A little help!” to keep himself from crashing his quarter million dollar yacht.
Docked, we secured our boat, flaked the main and covered it, and secured the halyard and engine and with such a beautiful sunset beginning, we decided to catch dinner at Jaco’s in the marina. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day — topped with perfectly grilled pork tenderloin. 🙂
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and we had to drive (thankfully a short drive now that we’ve moved to the coast) home and my cold has returned with a vengeance. I’ve spent most of the day today on the couch and nursing my sore throat and fading voice with beer cheese soup.
Next weekend we’ll be back in Pensacola, spending the morning refining our sailing skills, and racing with the club that afternoon. Afterward we’re having a gumbo party on the docks.
Update on “the” boat: We’re reconsidering “VE”. We have some concerns about her design and construction and are back on the search.
Sailing Into The Blue
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