Monday, June 28, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 3

For the final installment of the Sailing Camp saga, I'll show what happened after camp was over...
Ian really wanted to go sailing on my dad's boat, a 25' Venture. Unfortunately, there was very little wind. We sailed out to the middle of the lake and the wind died. But that didn't stop us from having fun! The kids jumped overboard and swam in the lake around the boat as we drifted around. Here (from back to front) are Doodle, Ian, Mator and Muffin.

The fender is attached to a line that is attached to the boat. The idea was that if we started to sail off, they should grab the line and hang on! We used to do this all the time when I was a kid and we would sail on Lake Erie and Lake Huron with this boat. When it was really windy, it was the sailors equivalent of tubing, just about 25 MPH slower! :-)
And yes, I actually did get in the lake and swim a bit too. As proof, I can still taste the lake (a day after the event!) There were 8 kids with my dad and I and we played out there for about an hour. We had to cut it short because we had dinner reservations at the Club so we headed in (by motor) and had a terrific dinner. After dinner, the kids weren't done having fun so we spent another couple hours back in the pool. Some of the big boys had fun lifting (and throwing) the littler girls on a raft in the pool. Here is Doodle on her throne.
What a fantastic week capped by an awesome evening. We stumbled back to the car at 8:30 and Mator fell asleep on the way home. I can't blame her, I almost did too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 2

While not registered for camp, Doodle came with me on Thursday to watch and was able to get some experience sailing which got her excited to come to camp next year!

Here she is in an Opti with Mattew Davis, an experienced ten-year old who was more than happy to take Doodle out for her first sail. She seemed to love it and didn't stop smiling the whole time.

And here is my adorable niece, Annabelle (7), skippering with her friend Emily in an Opti...The last hour of camp is dedicated to the traditional greased watermelon competition. Yes, a watermelon is greased up and thrown into the lake (it floats) where the girls (who outnumbered the boys about 2:1) tried to get the watermelon to the boys' goal and vice-versa. There are usually tears as someone gets "almost drowned" but it is worth it for the fun. Here is Muffin jumping in the lake before the competition starts:Mator got to watch the action but was definitely more into swimming in the pool. She was especially attached to Daddy since he had been gone for three days this week.
Here are the sailing camp graduates: Muffin, Olivia, Elle and Ian (Olivia's brother) who was named most valuable sailor for all the help he gave to the instructors. That's my dad's boat with the sail up in the background. Just after this picture was taken, we departed for a "three hour tour"...see the next post for more details!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 1

Muffin completed her second stint of sailing camp at Buckeye Lake this week and had great fun again this year. Here she is (above, center) with her second cousin, Olivia (left) and another camp sailor. They are sailing in a Flying Junior (FJ) which has two sails and races with a skipper and one crew member. As a teenager, I raced as both a crew member of an FJ and skippering a Laser (a much smaller boat-one sail and one person sailing it) on Lake Erie during Jr. Bay Week. I'll just say for the record that I wasn't very good. My most memorable race was at Lake Erie when I was about 13 and sailing a Laser. The wind was gusting to 25 knots and I had very little control over the boat. I constantly capsized and turtled (capsize-the boat is on its side with the mast parallel to the water. Turtle-the boat is upside-down with the top of the mast pointing to the bottom of the lake and the bottom of the boat pointing to the sky so that it looks like a turtle's shell) the boat despite my best efforts. If you want to read about a really awesome teenaged sailor who, at 16, attempted to sail around the world by herself but recently had to give up that quest, read here:

The next picture shows the boat heeling a little. Muffin is on the leeward side so you can't see her. There was a nice little bit of wind this day and the boat continued to heel...

And then it capsized. Again, Muffin was on the leeward side of the boat so you can't see her. Olivia and Austin (the skipper) are trying to right the boat by pulling down on the centerboard. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get up there when you are small and are wearing a bulky life jacket.
So John, the instructor, motored over and helped them right the boat. Muffin was helped in the boat and here she is helping her other two sailors back in. The small boats capsize relatively easily and are made to be easily righted. The only scary things about capsizing a boat like this are:
1-Losing any valuables that sink-don't take anything on the boat that can't get wet or doesn't float.
2-Getting back into the boat-this can be challenging for little people but is not impossible and can be learned (and you develop great upper body strength)
3- Getting caught under the sail while it is capsized. This happens and while not really dangerous, you feel like you might suffocate. Life jackets actually exacerbate the problem because it is harder to got under water and swim out from under the sail. You may even feel like you are tangled up in some of the lines that are attached to the sails making you feel trapped. This happened to Muffin in this incident and she was a little shaken up.
Instructor John sailed with them for a while and allowed Doodle to go with him too!