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!

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