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Old Nov 02, 2012, 12:55 AM
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United States, CA, Castro Valley
Joined Mar 2012
166 Posts
My Day in Kentucky

That first day that Ray took me out for a sail was a bit clumsy for me. A fish out of water.

After we got to the lake that day he had camp setup and running and rigged the Surprise all less than 25 minuets, maybe faster. I was so busy trying to soak up everything he was doing I lost track. It really is amazing to watch someone build or put something together with no effort. If you get a chance to meet Ray you will find him relaxed and easy to talk to. Very thoughtful thinking on his part and no wasted words. A buddy who made the long drive with me were talking about how do you know if something is built well. This really took a few states of driving to boil it down to one word. "Quality". Now we could not really find words to describe quality, but instead came up with, "You will now quality when you see it". Well I had a chance to really look at USS Surprise for how well it was built and all that Ray had put into it. Paul and I looked at the boat and then each other and just said almost at the same time, Quality.

Ray got her down to the water and then launched the bass chase boat. Then with "get aboard" I found myself sitting on a boat getting ready to sail another boat. Yeap, it really happened that way. A first for everything and now I have the radio in my hands and Ray sez, head that way. The Surprise is like the perfect dance partner, she responds to the controls easy. If you twitch you may see her respond. No time to get a feel for the boat, no time to understand this strange feeling of something near Vertigo but not really, but it does have to do with spacial awareness being on one boat and putting your head into another. All I know was I liked it. So trying to soak up as much as I could about Surprise I was having these other things flood me and I did not want to look bad in front of the Man. I get the command to come about. Ray tells me what to do and what to look for. I put in rudder control to the Port holding a radio that I had never touched but for 5 minuets ago and hoped I was on the rudder stick, YES, she starts her turn. Its now that I need to find the main mast control because I needed to start a slow rotation of the sails from Starboard to Port side by controlling the speed of that action to be in conjunction with the wind. For now lets just say I needed to have the sails square with the wind when the hull was pointed straight into the wind and without stopping the sails and making that timing point have the sails end up on the port side by the time the ship was falling off the point. I now was to pull the foresails over in about the same manner. But they had a different duty to perform. They stayed on the Starboard side till they could be used to pull the bow over just after being pointed into the wind. Now I have made a mess of this description, and you will find better writings on this matter, but this is my first turn and I am trying to stay cool while learning what the heck just happened. Best dam day in my life. Okay now I got a "Great Job" from Ray and now we "both boats" are taking on new locations getting ready for another tack to Starboard a bit later. Everything is about the preparations. So I would like to think I did as well on the next turn but in that I didn't take notes to paper and I know I went to irons more than a few times I think I will just say this is where I got to see what "going into irons" means. The boat comes around, points into the wind, stops, and I swear, starts to back up. It will not come around at this point, don't try. If you gave yourself enough room you will find getting back on your original course the best thing to try. Once you get your speed back up then get your head on right and try your turn and timing again with the main sail and hitting your spots and then the Foresail. I may have goofed up that turn to and Ray said go Windward. He's right, Save your ship and forget about trying to force your boat and get turned around so then you will have lots of room in front of you and no danger of going aground. So a little adrenalin at this point and just a few seconds to relax now on a new course but a loss of all that you had gained on the first tack. I knew enough to feel like a rookie. Ray had a chance to then explain all that we had done and what would be good to try the next time. I may as well share that the ship has more than the sails I have talked about. She is built with three jibs and a "I have had a brain freeze for a minuet or so trying to think of the sail at the stern of the boat". Well you can let that sail out and hull it in as well. These are very handy and I hope to talk more about them another time.

Well the lessons continued and just when I thought I was showing I deserved to be called captain, I would muddle it all up again. If when you first start out and you don't keep your head in the game you will have a chance to wright your own story with lots of little tricks that you learned on the spot. The worst thing I may have done that day, I blew a few chances to come about and waited to long to save the ship by going windward and did what no one should ever do. I ran aground. Yeap, I took Rays ship and drove it into the beach. That ended that. I must have looked like a dog that couldn't hunt no longer. Did I hear LUNCH.... This was a good time to sit at the table and talk about what all had happened. Ray was the most patient person that day. Most likely every day, I just had the two days to know him. Well the rest of all this story I am keeping for myself, great memories and if any of you guys are going to get together for a fleet sail and you are anywhere near Kentucky, give Ray a call. If you can get him to the event you just might get some great incite on just how to get more out of your ship.

Thanks again Ray

Your friend

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Last edited by Pond Sailer; Nov 02, 2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: editing
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