I know,,, you have missed me. Well,,,,,, I'm back with more hard learnt lessons, born out of stupidity!
What a day,,,, what a day of firsts,,,,, what a day of disasters one on top of another.
10:30 AM Eaton, Lechenault Estuary.
Wind light from the South. Forecast, 20 to 30 knot winds early afternoon. "Yeah right".
The tide is out still and the estuary is relatively flat, so I had to walk the TI out about 100 meters just to get the Miragedrives in. Off we go, full sail,,, GPS,,, 1.5 KPH. This is fun,,, just.
11:00 AM. Wind lines coming. They arrive. 8 KPH, much better.
11:30 AM. Good solid winds now, let's try and sail out of the gap into the ocean and Bunbury Harbour. GPS,,, DEAD! Batteries flat. BUGGER!.
So, good solid wind, tide coming in, sand bars to watch out for, boats coming and going, shouldn't take long. 1 1/2 hours later, strong wind now, battling tide, wrong wind direction making it harder, dodging boats and a sea kayaker, TACKING, TACKING, TACKING! I lost count. I finally get out into the ocean,,, just. I got just out side the gap into the ocean, I could see Bunbury Harbour, and an ocean that was a washing machine and tumble dryer all in one. I smiled to my self, turned tail and down winded it back to the trailer. In 15 minutes I was on the beach having lunch. But what a 15 minute ride. The swell was getting up and it was 1/4 to 1/2 meter high when I ran the gap down wind. I was riding the swell and running with the tide home, down wind under full sail. What a FIRST, WHAT A BLAST.
If I had gone home now, a great day would have been had. But all this wind, swells, white caps. One more run down to Australind boat ramp and back about 7 Ks I think.
Now,, I am in an estuary, about 1k wide shielded from the ocean, banks on both side,,, sure there are a few sand bars to watch for and shallow areas. I have 20 to 25 knot winds PLUS, a 1/2 meter swell (more like mini waves coming at you), white caps galore,,, what could possibly go wrong.
The 3/4 cross wind, down wind run to Australind under full sail, was fast,,,, exciting.
I was surfing the swells as they rolled by, burying the nose of the TI a few times. The rudder was a bit of a fight to hold the TI on course with the swell and wind pushing and shoving. 1/2 way there I am thinking,, "I have to sail back through this,,,, tacking all the way. Might be interesting?"
I got to Australind darn fast. I turned the TI around got across the irons with a bit of Miragedrive, got hit by the first swell which drenched me,,,, and still under full sail. BIG MISTAKE! The TI reared over burying the inside arma and was being driven sideways by the wind. I tried to release the sheet rope but it was jambed in the cleat. I got two hand fulls of rope and pulled hard back and up at the same time with malicious intent. The rope came free and near pulled me through the cleat block. The sail is flapping trying to destroy its self. I grab the furler cord and heave. I get the sail 1/2 furled. Now the shorter sail area is going ballistic flapping in the winds. I grab the sheet rope and haul like mad. Under sail again.
Now, if I had time, I would have changed my under wear, but it was still full on. I get the TI pointing on the first tack heading home. It is almost straight across the Estuary. Keeping hard to the wind, getting drowned by water crashing over the front and side of the TI, I am making about 4 KPH. Everything is wet, strong and a bit nasty now, so I am keeping the stresses on the TI and sail to a minimumish.
Now I turn for the second tack, come across the wind Peddling like mad, the sail fills,,, and we are off. Until I run out of water, I am on a long 8 KPH run 30 degreeing the swell, getting drowned and hammered. 45ing the swell was horrific. But we are on our way home.
Next tack across the estuary, giving up a little bit of ground, getting hammered by the swell, water coming off of everything, the nose, the armas, over the side. Next tack on the long run again. 2 to 4 more tacks and I will be home.
Yeah right! On this long run, same set up, the nose is just burying itself in the well. "COOL" I think. Wish I had a GoPro. The TI kept doing it, but getting deeper and taking longer to recover. "S#%T" I think. I back off the sail and go slower. Pelican Point coming up with a sand bar that sticks out a fare way. I will have to tack soon.
Sailing slower, the TI feels a bit weird. It drags the back end over and through the swell, or seems to fall over nose first and drive into the water. It took 4 of these before I realised what was going on. Water in the hull,,, lots of it. On the next ride over the swell, the TI buried deeper than before, water came over the front and sides, then came up. The dagger board 1/2 closed and there was a dragging sound. RUDDER,,,SAND,,,BOTTOM,,,, SAND BAR!
Before the rudder pin sheered, I flicked the tension off and pulled it up.
"Thank you" said the wind gods. The Ti in now uncontrollable. Over the side,,,, the down wind side!
REMEMBER THIS NEWBEES! NEVER, NEVER NEVER get out of your boat on the down wind side. I was dead lucky, not dead.
Before I touched bottom, I realised my mistake. I grabbed the arker and jammed my hip against the hull and braced my feet in the mud. I slid a bit before the TI pivoted around me and came into the wind.
Now a few other interesting things came along, all at the same time. I am thigh deep in water, the TI is trying to blow downwind with intent, the 1/2 furled, shortened sail is demon possessed trying to destroy itself and I am wedged against the hull and the arka bar with a 2 handed death grip.
I jammed my thigh against the hull and arka, reached across and wrenched the sheet rope free and furled the sail. Now just a 50 meter stroll through Estuary slimey mud with a wind and swell that want's to take the TI away down wind. I had to drag the TI sideways through the water to shore. I am buggered, or so I thought. I tried to drag the nose up onto the dry sand, but the TI was just too heavy. I got about a meter of nose on dry sand.
I opened the front deck hatch and found water about 5 centemeters from the top of the deck. BUGGER! Now what?
"Never say die until you are dead people"! I took me an exhausted while before I figured out what to do. I stripped the TI of sail, armas, arkas mirage drives and paddles. With that gone, I heaved the TI another 1/2 meter up onto the sand. I then dragged the back of the TI towards the beach. After about 7 minutes, centemeter by centemeter, I had the TI on dry land with the hull bung just above the water line. Out came the bung and I waited. And I searched for a possible water entry. All hatches were locked down firm (doesn't mean they don't leak), No visible cracks or holes,,, then I found the possible culprit.
Where the rudder lines go into the hull, there is a plastic tube. This tube had worked its way out about 2 centemeters. I pushed it back in, waited for the hull to drain, re rigged and sailed off.
All done. Not yet. I had to do the long, slow, hard tack to the far side of the estuary. I had to get this in 2 tacks because I am completely nackered by now. Turned for home. Got hammered, aimed for camp about a K away. I aimed for a landing point and with a bit of side drift I would make it easy.
3 THINGS CONSPIRED AGAINST ME. Exhaustion, 1 plan of action,,,, and the bloody tide going out. Remember that sand bar off Pelican point? I hit it,, literally. Because of all the swell and chop, you couldn't see it. The rudder hit, the mirage drive hit, the dagger board popped up, the TI stopped and the wind tried to tear something off the boat, what ever was stopping it from going sideways with the wind. I am now getting very vocal and colourful. Over the side ((UP WIND)), Grab the sail and discover I am knee deep in water. I stand the rudder up amazed the thing is still in tact, literally wrench the Miragedrive out, climb over the Arka, grab the nose handle and start the 400 meter trudge to the trailer towing a bucking TI that just wants me to let it go and be swept down wind and away. I was wasted! It took for ever to get the TI loaded.
When we got home, I left everything, staggered inside, had dinner by 8:00 and remember nothing till the boss woke me at 11:30 and I staggered to bed.
Up at 7:00 AM this morning. It is now 11:00 AM. I still can't face going out there to Wash and clean everything. I will have to strip the TI down.
Pick one. The one encompassing lesson is:
DON'T MESS WITH THE WIND GODS! Even if you win, you will have paid a price. Pick your sailing conditions, accept your consequences. Push the envelope, don't be surprised if the envelope turn into a fly swatter.
AND ABOVE ALL, NEVER SAY DIE UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD!
Do the best you can until you can do no more,,,, then do it again!
If panic is the first thing you do, you are in a world of trouble.
I do need to go and see to my sturdy TI, kiss its yellow hulls and thank them for bringing me home alive, in spite of my stupidity.
The wind that blows will not take you where you want to go in life,,, it is the set of your sail.