Friday, December 4, 2009

Poor Neglected Blog

Spent the past couple of weeks on Maui and the only sailing I've done is down the face of a few waves.

If I get a reasonably warm day in the next couple of weeks, I want to launch L and C for a little sail. I think I went a few times in December and January last year. Would be nice to get out again.

Work and vacation are overwhelming our lives right now. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sailing in Decline?

Who Cares?

OK, before I piss anybody off, here's my take on this. All my life I've been involved with activities of one sort or another and people have worried in two basic ways. First - our [activity] is being over-run by a bunch of yahoos. None of us are going to be able to enjoy it.

An example of this is the explosion in the surf industry from when I started in the seventies and could go to places like Salt Creek and Trestles and have a peak to myself for an hour or two, to where I now see dozens on every little peak from sunrise to sunset at those same spots. I'm not telling where I go now to avoid the crowds; I'm sure they'll find me soon enough without my providing GPS coordinates.

Mountain biking used to be a solo pursuit for me and I was happy to occasionally see the odd mountain biker (and we are odd, make no mistake) on a hill-top somewhere. Some try and turn the growth that has occurred in this sport into a positive, talking about how the influx of new mtn bikers has resulted in more well-maintained trails, but I find myself seeking out new and more remote spots, that usually require me to drive further out into the wilderness.

The other worry is that our [activity] is dying out. Nobody appreciates it anymore and we need to save it.

Down with this sort of thing, I say.

I know it's a big dang ocean and I'm on not likely to run into too many folks out there, but I'm not convinced that more folks jumping in to sailing will make my sailing more enjoyable. I know it may bring our costs down; is that the hope? But I'm hard pressed to find other reasons to want to encourage the growth.

Maybe the racers want more competition? I can see where that may be a need.

Maybe I'm late to the party; prior to my recent arrival in the wind-powered boating world, there may have been a gilded-age, and some of what I'm hearing from you sailor-types, is similar to the surfer's taunt, "You should have been here an hour ago..." However, I'm happy with what I've found and I look forward to a lifetime of learning and experiencing all I can in the wide-world of sailing.

So, what's my point here? I guess that maybe we all worry about what's happening more than it requires. We have patterns in our minds and fit them to what's going on. The pattern with sailing seems to be, I love it, why is it not the most important thing in the world? People should be as focused on this as they are on [insert latest pop fad here]!

I also believe we fall prey to the illusion that we have a more significant influence over what's happening on this rocketship ride around the sun than we really do. We may be responsible for global warming as a collective, I believe that, however, life unfolds in the way it does and you can put yourself in the path of something major, but you probably can't make anything major happen if it's not gonna happen on it's own.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Would you help this man?

Not sure I want to get involved with this ...

Now they are trying to play on my sympathies ...

Hmm, rule of nines, that would mean that he's missing a couple of appendages, or something ...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Erotic Funky Trombone

We here at Love & Coconuts say, "Up with this sort of thing!"

Update: nice link to a fellow trombone enthusiast, provided by the Docker @ O, which is something like The Story of O, only with more Flemish Coils.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


No racing at all
So far, this fall

But here's a little rhyme
To pass the time

Minimal sailing = minimal blogging


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Racing Series

The fall racing series starts today and runs each Sunday for about six weeks. I'm going to try and race a couple of them, even though our boat is certainly not that competitive. We don't have the sail acreage, nor the boat shape to make it much of a racer. In fact, in all but the most incompetent hands, it's a pretty stable boat.

It's more sailing, however it sorts out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our First Race Starts ...

The forecast called for eight kts of wind tonight, right around the time the races were meant to happen. I showed up early and launched L&C under a steady 5 kt breeze. Unfortunately, it was blowing out of the South, which is not ideal around here.

Jared came down just before six and said Nathalie with an H was most likely on the way. She's riding her bike to work in support of Bike-to-Work Month here in Portland. I guess it could be an international bike-to-work month, but here in Stumptown it gets a lot of press and ends being a competition with prizes to the company with the most participants.

Jared predicted that Nathalie would tell us how much her butt hurt when she finally showed.

She showed and we launched in a light, 3-5 kts.

We made a couple of tacks, working on our sail handling and weight distribution; we discussed the strategy for racing, at least as much as we knew about it, and then made a run downwind.

Winds became even lighter and shifted to the North briefly. The thermal South was dying out on us in a hurry.

By the time the buoys were in place and the horns blew, the winds were dropping to very light.

We decided to go with the Thistles. Our plan was to follow the fleet and get some experience on a race course. Since the rapidly disappearing wind seemed to be the most important factor tonight, going with the first group away, while there was still a breath of a breeze, was the most attractive option.

The race committee shouted at us, recommending that we go with the last fleet. We answered back, "We are a Thistle. We are seventeen feet."

They laughed and said something like, "Whatever floats your boat," which turned out to be prophetic. As we crossed the start line the wind died completely and it was all we could to hold our spot ten meters inside and upriver from the start buoy. Whatever floated our boat was all we had going for us tonight, 'cause there was nothing propelling it.

Eventually, after much hornblowing, I noticed a blue and white checked flag on the RC boat. I let the crew know that it was all over and we started sculling our way back to the dock.

As I stood in the back of the boat sculling, J and N with an H nuzzled each other near the centerboard and I serenaded the young lovers.

Poor kids.

So, our first race got across the line, the start line. But that was it.

Thankfully, Weenies on the Water showed up in time to feed us after our hard work.

We ended the night by filing a protest with the Race Committee. While preparing for the race we realized we were in distress and put out a general call for aid. The nearest boat was a Thistle helmed by Shannon the Real Sailor. Despite out dire straits, he refused to pass a beer over to us.

We managed to limit the damage and limp back to the dock, but I'm certain that all sailors will see this as one of the deepest transgressions on the Corinthian spirit; a tragedy that could have been avoided with the lightest bit of concern for fellow sailors.

Shamelessly, the aforementioned transgressor, unapologetically lobbied long and hard for one of our beers up on the cliff, post-"race."

As we walked away from the thinning, post-race gathering, a nearly-full moon rising across the river, the lights of Oaks Park twinkling on the water's surface, the squeals of roller coaster riders drifting across the glassy Willamette river, Nathalie with an H said, "My butt really hurts."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Good Luck Charm

My niece, Emily, henceforth to be referred to as The Good Luck Charm, came out sailing with her dad and myself tonight. I've been charting the progress of getting my little girls back on the water, under sail, sharing the story, the ups, the downs, the tentative steps toward a unified sailing family.

However, there's another story. It's a quiet story, playing out in the background, nearly imperceptible, except to the most, um, perceptive.

It's my story.

The story of my increasing confidence and my desire to earn a captain's most important quality: the trust of his crew.

How's that for over-the-top melodrama? It's my best Will Ferrell.

Nonetheless, I was very happy that my niece wanted to try out sailing. As a recently matriculated sixth-grader, and cousin to my first- and second-graders, I thought it might be great leverage to get The Good Luck Charm out on the boat and then share the story with A and M as encouragement.

Winds were mostly flat during the day. I checked the club Webcam and the wind reports and was shocked to see that a giant spider had landed just across the river on Ross Island.

Oddly enough, I didn't see this anywhere on the news.

Things were pretty calm until just about six when a nice breeze picked up. I think it was almost exactly when Emily showed up with Bernie that the breeze started notching up.

I had the boat in the water and we got underway after brief, but thoroughly confusing lesson on sheets, jibs, booms, centerboards, and energy-saving swim stroke advice.

We were making way briskly as soon as we cleard the clubhouse windshadow and did a couple of tacks downriver, into the North wind, before falling off and sailing downwind to the Sellwood Bridge.

Bernie noted that the Sellwood Bridge was given a federal inspection and came up 50% worse off than that bridge in Minnesota that collapsed last year.

Makes me think twice about my making the turn on the other side.

Our upwind run was a fast and fun, as the wind held pretty steady at 8 kts with a couple of gusts over 10. We heeled her over and tacked back and forth, making our turns closer to the banks as we began to work more smoothly together. The Good Luck Charm seemed to have a native sense of how and when to pull her sheet across and set the foresail up just right.

We made some adjustments to the Cunningham, outhaul, and boom vang, since they were pretty loose owing to Love and Coconuts recent light wind outings, and had a fun on our fast ride back to the club.

After putting the boat back in the yard, we repaired to the Fulton Pub for cheeseburgers and a couple of beers for the adults. Where I dubbed Emily The Good Luck Charm. Best wind in a couple of weeks for Love and Coconuts.

Tomorrow, Jared and Nathalie with an H are coming out and we plan on trying out our first races. Woohoo!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No Blow Go

Sailed with Jared and Nathalie with an H for a brief moment or two on Saturday morning. We drifted a little, worked on our sculling skills, and practiced our bowlines, all while Nathalie teased us with descriptions of wonderful breakfasts we could have been enjoying, rather than sitting and watching the club anemometer's impression of a stone.

We learned two or three things. First, you can't make the wind blow just by wanting to go sailing and launching your boat. Second ... I don't remember what was second. Third was something about remembering to bring a slicker, since it rained and we got wet at the end.

Come on wind.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One More from the Road

Shot over the shoulder with the iPhone on the way back down to Portland. Drive was beautiful!

I wish I had a blog about bridge ties. Then this shot would be perfect.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rednecks, Maple Bars, A-cats, Leeward Marks, and Blue Suede Shoes

We arrived in Cougar, Washington last night about 10p, after driving up from Portland; it's a short drive from our home to this series of three reservoirs on the Lewis River. The middle lake is named Yale and that's where the regatta was today. There's another Yale, somewhere in Connecticut, if I recall. This place is as far as you can get from Connecticut without being in Newark.

We camped in the Lone Fir RV park in Cougar, which may sound exotic, but if you live in the Great Northwet (sic) you probably recognize this for the call sign of the redneck patch'o'grass that it is.

We were up early and down to the Cougar group campground where the sailors were staying, with our lifejackets and boater safety card in hand. We arrived in time to get our pick of the morning donuts, which is a very important thing if your hair is red and you're six years old. Maybe it's important if you're forty-six, also.

Ted was putting on the show and Tony was his executive officer and they were the guys we were looking for; so, we made our plans, enjoyed a second donut and hauled the whalers down to launch.

The girls and I set the windward and leeward marks and then spent most of our time at one or the other. The 7 y/o went on the start-line boat for a while and helped with flags and horns. After some discussion with the more experienced race committee fellas, and after the fleets made their way around the leeward mark in the second race, the 6 y/o and I hauled up the downwind bobber and moved it about 300m toward the windward mark to shorten the course a smidgen (that's Latin for 600m).

The wind blew great all day and the four A-cats were a blast to watch. They really fly on the reaches. The Lido fleet was the largest and very competitive; they also looked inspiring as they made their downwind runs with whisker poles engaged.

I missed the one bit of naughtiness, but apparently, one of the V-15s got mad at the committee for having the first race go as a two-lapper and then shortening the remaining races to one. He huffed, puffed, demanded a refund, and then left mad for Seattle. Really? A freakin' beautiful day in the Cascades and this is your worry? Not to mention, you were wrong, Sailor John McEnroe.

The one other sort of sailory thing that went on was the protest from another V-15 sailor regarding a competitor's use of a spinnker. The boat in question was a homemade jog and instead of the red and blue V on the sail, there appeared to be a feather of some sort. The protest filed was stated as a class rule violation. I'm not sure how this will turn out, but it seems if you're flying a kite and nobody else in the fleet is, you're probably the one in violation, yeah?

The sailors I spoke to and/or overheard were raving about the day and made positive committee comments, including "they started right on time and then got the next race going within ten minutes of our finish. No waiting around." The glow at the evening BBQ was only partially from the propane fired lava rocks; the brightest lights shined from the tired, sunburnt, happy sailors.

Ted gave us a WSC bag and two pint-glasses for helping out. A great day. I'm ready to come to one of these with our boat and get spanked by the one-designers.

My one regret for the day is not having a camera. The mountains were beautiful and the grey rim of Mt. St. Helens sticking up like an ashy bas-relief behind the green hills was amazing.

I have a picture of this guy who played fifties tunes in the campground, mere yards away from my trailer window, instead.

Yeah, it's a sad substitute.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Of Racing and Regatta-ing

The hope was to race this past Wednesday night, but the wind did not cooperate and they called it off around 6:30.

We sat around and visited with our friends from Spain who are in town for the month and we might have had a beer, or two, also. Wienies on the Water cruised in and provided delicious bbq'ed meat tubes for dining pleasure.

I'm taking the girls with me to Yale Lake on the SW slope of Mt. St. Helens tonight and we will camp and help out with the Al Morris Memorial Regatta. I've got a boater card, so will drive a chase boat with the girls providing navigational aid.

One bummer was that the real sailors at the club let my crew know that the skipper is supposed to supply the beer to entice the crew into sailing with him. I had a pretty sweet deal going there, until Shannon the Real Sailor spilled those beans.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The White Fleet

Jared and Nathalie with an H are coming down to the club tomorrow night and we are going to race.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RC 1, This is RC 2, Can you Pick up the Leeward Mark, Good Buddy?

Low tide at Willamette Park in Portland was around seven p.m. tonight. When the girls and I got down to the club, about four, the mudflats were exposed and the girls went exploring, mucking around, screeching and giggling at the sensation of stepping in the silty tidal flats.

By the time we left for home, just before nine, the tide had swung around, covering up the flats and heading for high ground. Well, as high as it gets in August, anyway. Interesting fact I learned recently; the weather and streamflow folks who predict waterflows for use in managing the hydroelectric power system, divide the water year into fourteen segments. There are the regular twelve months, but then April and August are split in half, owing to the rapid changes that occur those months. In August flows are dropping quickly and in April they are rising.

I hadn't planned to go the club tonight. After work I took the girls to get a new battery for Kris's motorcycle. She apparently left her key on, which meant the headlight stayed on, and the battery was completely drained.

Fortunately, the Harley store swapped it with me for no charge. On the way home the girls requested to go to the sailing club. Joyeux! Or something. We stopped by the house so M could put on her jeans. She was wearing shorts and explained that she just feels "better if the fish can't bite my legs."

I picked up a sixer of Anchor Steam and cracked a couple while watching them play on the boat launch. Things were pretty quiet until around 5:30 when the Wednesday racers began to show. The first Thistle to launch ran into problems. As the boat slid into the water, off it's trailer supports, and began to drift sideways, the car driver tried asking the crew if the "Anderson bales" were closed. His window was shut to their side, so they couldn't hear him. By the time the window was opened and the communication succeeded, the boat had begun to drift back up the ramp, hovering perpendicularly over the submerged trailer.

As the driver pulled up the ramp the rear support rose up and caught the boat sideways, resulting in much "Woah!" -ing and "Wait!" -ing. After backing the trailer back into the water, the boat floated free and the team inspected for damage.

End result was that the formerly closed Anderson Bales were now open, in a bad way. So, the boat was reloaded and the Ho'opono Aukai was put away for the evening.

Not too much later, I got recruited to help with the Race Committee. Since I have my boater card, the girls and I went along on RC 2 and set the starting line. I drove and the girls operated the air horn, while we all assisted with flags.

It was my first RC experience and I found it to be pretty fun. We had four groups sailing in 12+ kts of wind. The Thistle fleet had nine participants and the there were about fifteen other boats split into nearly equal fleets of V 15s, Snipes, and Lido 14s.

Fortunately, I had spent some time catching rays on the signal bridge during my Navy stint, so the concept of flags for communication wasn't completely foreign to me.

The one thing I still don't quite get is the course setting. Apparently there was the starting line, which doubled as the finish line, and then there were both windward and leeward marks. So how the hell did the fleet do a triangle when we put the TM up on the back of the whaler?

I guess I'll find out soon enough, since I'll be doing it all weekend long at Yale Lake, just SW of Mt St. Helens in ten days at the Al Morris Regatta.

Wienies on the water showed again and we enjoyed two W.O.W.s and one Screamin' Weenie.

It was a good night.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best Night Ever

I was down to the dock early on Monday evening and launched the dinghy in prep for sailing later in the evening. I floated around a little by myself and was surprised at how absolutely still it was. Even the three little cups on the club's wind gauge were overwhelmed by ennui to the point that they couldn't rotate for a while. You know it's still when those little tiny cups are too heavy for the air to move.

A little after five, some slight puffs arose and about five-thirty it felt like something was moving, so I went out again and sailed up and down a little under a little 3-5 kt breeze.

By the time Jared and Nathalie (Jared and Nathalie of Do You Know How to Sail? fame) showed up to sail with me, it had begun to fill in. We wasted little time on formality, hi, how are ya, and away we went.

The breeze was picking up and blowing a steady 5+ as we made our way across the river and then down toward the Greenway Marina. When we fell off and began the upriver/downwind run, the Lasers were out, swarming the midriver section outside the club docks. One guy sailed some circles around us, for whatever reason.

This would be the point in my post where I throw some barbs at the Tillerman and maybe invoke the Force 5 gods in their blogging persona (aka: Joe), however, those little Lasers looked kinda fun. I'm going about 275 (don't click that link ... really) these days, so wouldn't be competitive in the racing, but they look like they would be a great workout and exciting to zip around in. One of Shannon the Real Sailor's buddies, Tim, took one out when they were all done and he looked pretty thrilled. (See, I told you not to click that link.)

Shannon was serving on Race Committee tonight; he and Tim were plotting potential Laser ownership in the last conversation I overheard. Apparently, Thistle sailors aren't cursed with the same loyalty issues as some other one-designers.

We decided to try for the Sellwood Bridge, since it looked to be blowing just as strong down there. As we made our way down, only needing to jibe twice, the breeze filled in and was blowing a steady 10+. The downwind run was the first I've made in L & C in which I could feel a gusty apparent wind and the boat was throwing a nice double-vee wake.

We jibed under the bridge and tried to turn into the wind, but it seemed the jib was holding us up. I think it was probably a combination of me turning the boat too slowly and the crew attempting to pull the jib across too quickly. Whatever the case, after two attempts at turning through the wind on our port side, I changed course, fell off and came about the other way.

We tacked toward the center bridge support and scared Nathalie when the swirling winds wreaked havoc with the sails and our rapidly shifting and varying angle of heel, which all sorted itself out once we cleared the support.

We made two tacks back downriver/upwind and decided to furl the jib since it was hella blowing now, probably 12-13 kts. At one point, all three of us were up on the rail leaning out and hanging on.

This was truly the most fun I've had on the dinghy since we got it. Great night for sailing, which started so inauspiciously.

Back at the club we put the dinghy away and watched the Lasers finish their last race and head in. The club folks brought out the BBQs and we enjoyed a couple of beers and some burgers on the dock with the race committee and some other folks who showed up.

A stellar moonrise brought in a beautiful night. Nathalie was in France for a couple of weeks, visiting family and friends and at some point on our sail she said to Jared, "OK, I love you, Portland." I took it to mean that she had been a bit homesick for things French and she was just starting to come around. Later, on the dock, she said, "This is the best night since I got back."

Then I made her explain why French people express their affection by calling each other cauliflower.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sailing with the Blind

Okay, who saw the title of this post and excitedly clicked through in hopes of hearing about another of my misadventures? Tell the truth ...

Kris and I were asked by the club if we would be willing to come down on Sunday and help out with the Oral Hull Foundation's Adventure Camp. Sight-impaired people from all over the U.S. come to this camp outside of Portland for a week and experience a range of adventures, including sky diving, bungy jumping, white water rafting, and sailing.

We had a discussion about cleaning the boat up that went something like this:

Greg: We should take the powerwasher down early and clean up the boat.

Kris: Why? It's not like they can see if it's dirty.

Greg: Well, that's true. Wait, though, they can still feel if it's dirty.

Yeah, our life is pretty mundane, when we aren't flipping the boat over or ramming into houseboats. The most striking thing about this exchange is the role reversal. If you know Kris, you know OCD. It took me a minute to figure out she was messing with me.

So, off we went this morning, bright and early to clean up the boat and prep for sailing with the blind. There was a moment of worry when I wondered if the blind folks followed Love and Coconuts online, and if so, then how closely. However, that worry passed, since I don't think the internets or the google are braille-ready yet. If we're lucky, we won't have to defend any of our past actions to a board of nautical inquiry, or whatever.

There was a brief introduction to the assembled sailors, where us captains talked a little about our boats. Questions were mostly of the how-wet-will-we-get variety. With light winds, we assured the crew it would be a gentle day. Surprising to me, there were quite a few who were disappointed. About half wanted to really crank it out there.

Dorothy and Kat ended up in our boat. They were our age or a bit older and we had a wonderful time working up and down the river for about an hour-and-a-half.

We got passed by the Thistles, which have about twice the mainsail as us, and we were able to outpace the Day Sailers, which probably weigh twice as much as us.

We had a nice little fifteen minutes toward the end of the session where a healthy NE breeze filled in and pushed us down river at a good clip. When we made the turn to come back to the club, the breeze died out and we had a drifty, light air meander back to the dock.

The sight-impaired enjoyed lunch in the clubhouse and we said our goodbyes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weenies on the Water

Mondays are Laser racing nights at the sailing club. The last couple of weeks, they have been having the Weenies on the Water boat show up and sell hot dogs to the post-race crowd. Kris and I got in a sail last night and shared some weenies with the Laser peeps.

It was hella hot, but very nice wind for most of the evening's sailing. I was down early and sailed downwind/upriver a bit, before saying heck with that, and turning it around to enjoy some apparent wind in my overly hot face.

Those of you not connected on Facebook with Kris or I, will possibly not be aware that it's been hitting triple digits here in the Northwest, where we are more attuned to weather that is Northwet.

I fell off and sailed back to the club, taking a couple of minutes to sit on my transomless stern and drag my feet in the water.

After docking, I fell off the end of the dock into the river and got some of nature's AC working to make it a little more bearable.

I hung around and killed an hour until Kris showed up and we launched for our own sail.

We made the downwind run past the Sellwood bridge and then tacked our way back to the club, taking about an hour and fifteen to accomplish all of this, and dodging about one hundred and fifteen speedboats.

I decided that it may be a good thing if we were allowed to shoot at the jetskis and wakeboats. Not just for us, but I think it would make their outing more exciting, too. Careful observation leads me to believe that they are attempting to live out secret James Bond water chase adventures. So, why not help bring it to life (or the alternative) for them?

I volunteer.

As we made our way back in to the club, we fell off and tacked an extra tack or two, to ensure we would trail the Lasers as they made their leeward mark rounding doo-hickey thing, and we glided in to the launching area.

I drove it a little fast at the dock and later I got pointers from the club secretary on taking some speed off before easing up to the dock. Apparently, they don't think sacrificing your wife on the bow is kosher.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Things to do near the Sailing Club on the Willamette

From Carol Anne's blog writing project, here are some things to do near WSC in Portland. Similar to Captain JP, our sailing ground runs right through the heart of the city where we live and play.

Get up above it all on the tram or Mt. Hood. The tram link has a picture of the river, just behind the condos in the middle ground, and Mt. Hood in the background. The mountain is about fifty miles from town and an easy day trip.

Get lubricated with some sailors at the Fulton. Part of the McMenamin Brother's Northwest brewpub dynasty, this one is fun, but only picked because it's nearest to WSC. Peruse their other options, which include a couple of classic old movie houses converted to pubs/restaurants, as well as the old county poorhouse and an elementary school, both of which have overnight accommodations and multiple entertainment options.

See Kris on the West side of the river, or Greg on the East side, during the work day. Come on out to Garden Home (G-homeys, represent!) in the evening and have a glass of wine with us on the front porch as the sun goes down across the street.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Sailing Club

We put the dinghy in the water on Sunday at the club, but didn't end up sailing. The wind was hella blowing most of the day, lots of 20+ gusts and some real shiftiness, too, clocking all over the dial.

Kris took a women's only class for six hours on Saturday and Sunday and I got to sail with her in one of the club 420s for a couple of tacks back and forth across the river. Since the ladies were odd in number, I was allowed to fill in, but only as crew.

Kris did great, despite her worries about tacking. She was able to sail across through mega-chop from wakeboard boats and other sunny day hazards, with minimal hassle. She out-thought herself on the tacks, and had to try a couple of times to get the boat turning the direction she wanted.

She had us set up to go bow into a large wake and then turned at just the right angle as we hit it, to ensure that her crew took three lapfulls of bow wave. All of this led me to believe the I-have-a-hard-time-remembering-which-way-to-turn-the-tiller story was a cover for her secret intentions.

More to come as we get cozier with the club sailors.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Potential New Home for L & C

Kris and I tried to visit the Willamette Sailing Club, but were thwarted (that's nautical, yeah?) by a rare bit of unstable air gusting into Portland and dumping hail and shooting lightning at us.

We made over this afternoon, in much more mild weather. Toured around and put in an application. Club meeting next week on Tuesday evening and we'll know if they like us. It looks like it's a shoe-in, but who knows? Kris may have a dark past.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mall Cops

This has absolutely nothing to do with sailing that I can see. However, since I'm the blog captain and nobody's here to stop me, away we go.

What happens when you release two movies about mall security guards into the world at the same time? I'm speaking of Kevin James in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report with Seth Rogen.

My wonder/concern is of the larger effect on our society of putting these two movies out. Who, or what am I concerned about? Probably the psyches of mall cops nationwide, and I guess all who shop safely and securely in malls.

To my question, then. With this much attention paid to the profession, it's not likely that many of the actual mall cops in America are unaware of how they are perceived. Will this comic portrayal in duplicate have the effect of driving off some good mall cops, living us all at risk? Or are we doing the right thing as a society, by showing our mall cops the mirror into their souls, and helping them along the evolutionary path toward their self-actualized potential?

Friday, May 15, 2009

My List

I'm posting a list in response to The Tillerman's call for lists. I'm adding a visual aid, too. These are the two people who won't sail with me right now.

If you've followed this blog in the past (especially last November), then you can probably understand why.


Here's one showing off her 9 stitches from her bike crash.

And here's the other showing off her red-headed flair for the dramatic.

Fingers are crossed that warm weather will inspire the monkeys to try again.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do you know how to sail?

We've had a run of good weather the past 4-5 days and Kris and I launched the dinghy last night with Jared and Nathalie to take advantage of the longer daylight, after-work time and a warm day.

I was first off work, so launched the boat and only had to wait about fifteen minutes before the rest of the crew showed. For the most part it was nice to sit and watch the sailing club races and feel the warm breeze. A couple of kids were fishing, lending the whole thing a bucolic, Huck Finn air, but occasionally the launch would experience a swarm of power boats and things transitioned quickly from Life on the Mississippi, to a night in da club.

The wake boats were out in force, with stereos blasting. A young couple wandered down and stood near me for a while, obviously looking for a ride with friends. I was able to overhear them making a call on their mobile and then a boat slid up with the hip-hop blasting. As the boat operator and the guy on the dock tried to converse with each other it apparently didn't occur to anyone involved to turn the stereo down.





That was about all I could follow, except for the lyrics, which involved a recurring line about being from Miami.

So, time to get jiggy wid it.

On this night, I had two experiences with the jib that reinforced my slowly (very, very slowly) growing knowledge about boat handling. The main turns me into the wind and the jib wants to fall off. When we left the dock I wasn't clear enough to my crew on when to unfurl the jib. As we were falling off with the main, Kris unfurled sooner than I would have liked and we started turning right back into the dock. Without much problem and only a little bit of banging on the dock bumpers, we were able to fall off and do a loop through the launching bay.

The wind was excellent, blowing 8-10 knots upriver (from the North), and the sailing club was having their Monday evening racing session. We headed upwind, downriver, toward them, making four big tacks before falling off and goosewinging it upriver.

As we passed the midriver buoy, Nathalie commented on the floating homes near Oaks Park, something about what it might be like living there. We were set up for a broad reach that would pass us right along the row of homes, so I offered to cruise past them.

We were starting to get the feel for the wind this evening and everybody had their controls in hand as we smartly turned to port, dropped the centerboard halfway and quickly picked up speed across the river.

We were passing within about thirty feet of the houses when the boat started to feel as though it were losing power, or at least making way more leeway than I thought it should.

Sure enough, we were pushed right up on the third house in the row, which of course was the only one with objects sticking out over the water. Pretty quickly, our shrouds were hung up in the plastic poles the homeowner had deployed to hold their jetskis. And just as quickly, a cranky-looking old woman was out on her upper deck staring daggers at us. I wondered why she looked at us with such purpose, when out of her thin-lipped grimace popped, "Do you know how to sail?"

It wasn't so much a question, as an accusation. I answered quickly and lightly, "Well, we're learning!" And then I had the crew furl the jib and hold us off from banging on the dock.

The woman said a few more rude things, which I don't recall and finally came down and pulled the plastic rod out of it's mount, setting us free.

With the jib put away, the main turned us into the wind and we were able to overcome, what I then realized was a strong eddy that pushes right into the homes at this point.

Kris made a very direct comment to the woman, along the lines of, "You could show a little understanding." I think she was irritated that, even though three of us had apologized and nothing was damaged, this woman was absolutely and unrepentantly grumpy.

I guess she's got the right to be, but I also sort of wondered why so early in the season, and how's she going to feel after a whole summer of wake boats roaring by, blasting L'il Wayne and dropping off bikini'ed young ladies to pee on her deck ...

We managed to stay out of trouble for the next half-hour or so, making runs upriver and down and speculating on whether the old biddy was going to be able to return to Dr. Phil uninterrupted after her run-in with the novice sailors.

We've adopted 'Do you know how to sail?' and I'm sure it will be with us for years to come, with many opportunities to toss it out for our own entertainment.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hella Wind

That's what we had yesterday, hella wind, blowing a steady 10+ kts at all times with bigger gusts. Lots of dinghys on the Willamette, even one keel boat, and a bunch of big keelboats out on the Columbia.

My daughter was up from Corvallis for the day and we took her and her, um, friend out for a sail with us. They seemed to enjoy it, even though a little nervous from the dinghy's rolling disposition and Kris's having told them about my previous adventures.

The wind was blowing upriver, very fresh. We set off from the launch, downriver, upwind, tacking three times and then falling off and goosewinging upriver, downwind for a bit.

We all sort of worked out our postions and rolls by the time we headed back toward the launch, and made an approach in between the heavy fishing boat traffic. The fisherman are on a shortened season here, only allowed to chase anadromous fish on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so it's chock-a-block at the launch on Saturdays and ghost town on Sundays.

Our first attempt to dock (yes, we failed) ran a bit short, as we dropped the main a bit too soon, with a bit too little speed. We got about ten meters out and then the wind began to push us upriver, even overcoming our attempts to make way with the paddle and sculling the rudder.

We circled around, waited for some crazy boat action to calm down and made another run as one of the boats began to motor up the launch way, as though he were pulling his boat out.

We had to whip back around and head out as Mr. Stinkpot put her in reverse and started backing down on our intended docking spot.

Fortunately, the h 170 turns on a dime as well as it spins on a dime, and we were able to spin and go easily, while Kris said, "C'mon, Mister, make up your mind what you're doing."

The college kids chuckled as we made another spin and headed back in.

We had plenty of speed this time, dropped the main, furled the jib and eased in like we knew exactly what we were doing. Kris stepped off and we were done for the day, the youngsters no less relieved for the feeling of cement under their tender feet.

The rest of the day, Kris and I went up and watched the big boats sail all heeled over in the heavy Gorge winds blowing West on the Columbia, while we dreamed of Cal 43s, IP 480s, and Tayana 55s.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

High Pressure Rolling In

Sailing today! And tomorrow! Exclam key stuck!

Portland is expecting to hit seventy degrees for the first time since October.

If you're on facebook, friend me and you'll get some pics from the dinghy, provided the wind doesn't start blowing and make us do crazy sailor things with those tarps and that tiller-thingy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Little Taste of Summer

Beautiful last night. No pictures, however.

It's spring break for public schools in Oregon, so the kids were out in force at the Oaks Park amusement park across the river from the boat launch. Lots of squeals and the occasional sound of the little roller coaster clinking along it's tracks.

Boats out fishing and a few wake boats out wreaking havoc.

The wind was light, but steady blowing up river (from the N) and I tried some wing on wing for about half the distance up to the Sellwood bridge, then switched over to a starboard broad reach. Gybed to port as I came under the bridge and then dropped the centerboard and rounded up as I reached the upstream side of the center bridge support.

I tacked back and forth about six legs and was lined up to reach straight into the boat launch when the wind clocked around a full circle, turning the boat with it.

After some drifting, circling, clocking, the direction finally settled on straight out of the boat launch (West) and I did my best to tack into the little leeway of the piers.

Furled the jib about a hundred feet out and dropped the main in time to touch the dock and step off like I knew what I was doing.

Finished up with a couple of pints of Mirror Pond at the downtown Fish House Marina floaty restaurant thing with a couple of real sailors I know.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Party Ending Soon

I imagine I appear to live somewhat of a playboy life, if one were to have tuned in over the past few months and took note of the days/times I was out there on the river sailing.

I went again today for an hour. It was just as squirrely as it was on Monday, with the wind clocking all over the place--at one point I was becalmed and as the wind came up and shifted 180-degrees, the boat began to move and then swang around through most of the points of the compass.

The current and tide were wreaking havoc out there also. I think the tidal bore was passing Willamette Park as I was launching and then sailing upriver.

What does it mean when the centerboard starts shuddering? That was a new one for me.

So, next Monday starts a new, full-time gig for me, requiring me to be in an office forty hours a week. Bleah.

I've been an independent for a long time and regular office hours have never been my style. Despite the economy, I've actually been thriving, with tons of work coming my way. However, my wife is a little nervous, so I took a full-time contract with a government agency to help ease her worries through the next year or two.


I expect the daysailing will become more of a dream. Maybe that'll be a good thing. Maybe it'll inspire us both to maximize our weekend time and get us closer to our sailing away date with the increased focus.


Playboy no more.

It *is* the Fitness

Homme de Taller has nailed something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Fitness is highly important in this sailing pursuit. Of course, his perspective on it is much more detailed, holistic, and authoritative, since, despite his self-deprecation, he's quite a serious sailor and, I imagine, a little more successful than he lets on.

I think the story is somewhere in the other blog, but I'm always ready to retell a tale, even when the protestations are coming fast and furious from my children.

I was in auto accident four years ago and had a steady fall-off in fitness. At the time I was returning home from a surf shop in Hood River with a newly repaired board and a new board strapped to the roof of the Vanagon; from what I hear, they made quite a sight flying through the mid-morning sky, with the Rose Garden as backdrop.

I ended up selling the new one and the repaired one and, since, have surfed only on family vacations to Hawaii, using a couple of my older boards.

At the time of the wreck, I was signed up for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. I've done a lot of tris, mostly off-road, and had a very high level of fitness, completing a half-marathon in 1 1/2 hours.

My decline put me where I was this past christmas, nearly fifty pounds overweight. It didn't look too bad, since I'm 6'4 and can sort of hide it, but I certainly have looked better.

The sailing seems to have awakened me, however, and I've been at the gym regularly, mostly, I believe, in hopes of increasing endurance, strength, and general fitness to extend the sailing sessions as long as possible.

Six months ago, I would have guessed that the most attractive thing about the sailing was the martinis, or the Dark and Stormys.

Now, not so much.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


So, my hat showed up. Turns out the North Sails folks who wanted to measure the boat are the same ones who deliver the hats for regional sailors with victories in the local regattas. They are the one's with jurisdiction (for lack of a better word) over my victory in the DR-1 class at the, ahem, Willamette River Winter Invitational.

There's the hat, a great little sailing bag, a sweet little clip-on penlight in the upper right attached to a zipper, some brochures and a card.

I'm not sure if it's readable here, so I'll recap. It's from Kerry and Amy at North Winds Canvas. They thank me for letting them climb on the boat; offer their hope that I'll enjoy the gifts; express some disappointment at not being able to hand-deliver my victory hat; congratulate me on my victory (cough, cough); casually mention that they have been "enjoying reading" this blog; and then state that "as WSC members, we concur that you should join the club ASAP."



I'm not sure what to think of this one. I got a call from the local yacht broker, asking if it was okay if he put the local North Sails folks in touch with me. Apparently they sold a cover for a Hunter 170 to somebody in Florida and they want to check the sizing to make sure they got it right.

I guess I'm one of the only people in the local area with an H-170, so they are coming over to my house to size the cover ... and they plan on leaving me a gift bag.

I wonder if it will have a hat in it ...

Adventures Downtown

Got the boat in the water around 11 on Monday. Shannon the Real Sailor was planning on meeting me for a little lunch cruising and I thought I'd go out and sail around a little before that.

The wind was very gusty and very shifty, clocking all over the place, but primarily coming downriver, from points South.

I ran downwind the quickest I've ever sailed that direction and even had apparent wind in my face when I looked back a couple of times. That was a new one for me, too. I'll have to look into a spinnaker for this thing.

I made the turn near the Greenway Boat Club and tacked back and forth across the river for a half hour, making no upriver progress at all. The wind was blowing hard enough, although not steady, but the current and tide seemed to be working against me.

Even though we are upriver from the Pacific somewhere around 100 miles, we are still subject to tidal flows. I think an outgoing tide, coupled with runoff from the weekend's rains created a big flush and this narrow little chute the river passes through at this point magnified the whole thing, resulting in me making no way upwind, even though I was creating hella wake behind me.

As always, my skill level may or may not have been a contributing factor.

I made a command decision at this point to head downriver and do the lunchtime sailing closer to downtown.

So, I fell off, raised the centerboard and double-winged it down river. There were a couple of stretches where the wind picked up and I was really moving, including some more of that apparent wind hitting me from behind. Around the bend I shifted the jib across and was able to point downriver on something more of a broad reach.

As I went by the Spaghetti Factory, I saw that their massive flag was so straight you could count the stars. Woohoo!

Astute readers will note the lack of photos from the early phase of this trip. If you check wind charts for the day; if you have recollection of the relative skill level of this blogger; and if you have the compassion to care a bit about how this adventure turns out, you'll put two and two together and arrive at the conclusion that I was busy. Too busy to bust out the iPhone, select the camera app and shoot pictures.

I was a bit nervous, too. The boat got up on the rail once, and I dived across, saying 'Oh no you don't!' as I got her back on a more reasonable heel.

The winds calmed as I got closer to downtown and I sailed into the little marina at Riverplace, where I debated staying put to wait for Shannon.

I decided to sail across the river to the PFD dock and hang out. I knew there was a Benson bubbler I could get some water from, and the car-parking is free on that side of the river, which would make it easier for my sailing mates.

They are hard to pick out in this picture, but just above the handrail are two PFD jetskis; one of which attended the initial capsize of this dinghy. I thought it was nice to get them together again today.

You also may note that the water is pretty glassy at this point. My crazy gusty day of squalls turned into the part between squalls and got very flat.

Eventually, Shannon showed up and helped me sail across the river to the floating bar/restaurant. We annoyed the hell out of a fisherman as we tried to make way up the dock on that side. I'm sure he thought we were intentionally harassing him as he tried to get dinner for his family, but it's all you can do to stay out of the current in very light air, while also trying to make way up the river. We finally made it up to the marina entrance, tied up and went inside, where we took refreshment and considered our options. Shannon had to go back to work, so I took a little more refreshment and considered my options a little more.

After hanging for a bit, I saw the wind had picked up again, so I launched. This shot is just upstream from the Hawthorne Bridge. I was able to make decent way until the Marquam Bridge, where the wind died on me and I drifted back under the bridge, headed downriver again.

About this time a group of rowers came out and lined themselves up, facing upriver from the Riverplace marina. I was drifting right in the middle of their course, apparently. They were very polite, without acknowledging me, and didn't show too much annoyance, as I shifted back and forth trying to find some wind.

The wind picked up slightly again, and I was able to make way under the Marquam again. I was sitting on the leeward side of the boat to help the sails fill out, when I got a strong upriver gust and I shifted to the windward side, pulled the centerboard up and set myself up for a downwind/upriver run.

I shot up to the Ross Island Bridge in less than five minutes, covering twice the ground I'd covered in the past hour.

Just as the wind picked up, my phone started vibrating. I ignored it until the wind slacked off again, just the other side of the Ross Island.

Shannon's voicemail said he was heading over to WSC to see if they'd lend him a Boston Whaler to come tow me. I took a picture of the sunset and a couple more of the river, as birds flew by.

The iPhone camera doesn't capture the details that well.

I tacked back and forth, slowly making way up the river. The wind was coming directly downriver, so it was difficult to cover too much ground direclty upriver.

The joys of river sailing.

The phone rang again and Shannon said the WSC guys were in the middle of a membership meeting and were willing to come pick me up, as long as I filled out the membership application they were bringing with them.

There was much laughter in the background and I suspected a lot of refreshment-taking was underway.

Eventually, Shannon and Dave from WSC showed up and asked me if I wanted a tow. It was still light out, but I was going to need another 2-3 hours of light at my current pace, to make the launch.

So, L and C got her first tow!

What started at 11a, ended at 6p, as I was cast off and slipped into the boat launch at Willamette Park.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Opening Day 2009 Follow-up

This pic from my friend Renee, who's house I tried to take a picture of when I was sailing.

It's easier to pick out my boat on the water, than it was her house on the hill.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pull on the Gas

Yesterday was one of the 2-3 days out of the dozen-plus I've sailed, that had a period of solid, steady breeze. Each of these sessions I've been a little nervous (not counting the one where the dinghy turned turtle on me), while also getting a little taste of the real thrill of sailing a small boat.

I'm starting to get a real feel for the mainsheet as a gas pedal and it really is exciting. I realized last night as I was drifting off to sleep that most of my sailing thus far has been a sort of cruising, where I set it and forget it; only making minor adjustments to the sheets and pretty much setting them in the cleats and riding along with some tiller adjustments.

Yesterday was the first time I sailed with the mainsheet in my hand, giving and taking line to adjust my speed in concert with the tiller adjustments I was making with my other hand.

I really like it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Really Should Have Been Working Today

No time for emailing photos from the boat today. The wind was kicking and I was sailing! Of course, were I a more competent sailor, I might have been able to handle the boat and shoot some decent pics, but, I had my hands full focusing on keeping myself in a mast-up position.

Another beautiful day, upper fifties, although a bit shaded with some cloud cover hanging around.

Did the same downriver as yesterday, plus sailed upriver all in about 1/4 the time. I was actually able to get the boat going across the river at a solid 5+ knot clip, heeling over and moving. I was throwing some wake from the bow, too.

Got some shots of the wing-on-wing action on my upriver return trip, too.

Man I love this stuff.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feels like Spring!

Worked out my work thing early and was able to get down to the river before 11a and in the water not too long after that.

It was beautiful out there. Sun shining and a light breeze pushing me downriver. I was able to tack into the wind, closehauled, except once when the wind got really light and I had to fall off and come around to get on the opposite tack. Is that how real sailors handle that sort of thing? Do a 320?

I was able to get the furthest downriver that I've made it and took a couple of shots of a nice sailboat in the little Greenway Boat Docks.

I fell off and tried to double-wing it back to the launch. I made it a bit past halfway when the wind died completely dead. So, we (Hank was with me today!) took some pictures and emailed them to Kris.

I updated my Facebook status to reflect the fact that my intention to sail had become an intention to float. Got a couple of responses to that one.

Mark in Sydney declared he wants to open up the Australian franchise of my life (he's not witnessed most of it, so this may not be as desirable of a goal as intended), O'Docker requested confirmation of his suspicion that I was doing this in the middle of the day, and Queen Maeve quoted some obscure line of literature from some random children's book author, regarding boats, saling, or messes, I'm not sure. Oh, yes, and later in the evening, the T-man made a veiled reference to my exploits in his Proper Course posting.

So, about this point I figure out I've drifted back toward my downriver nexus about half of the distance I'd gained. The Huck Finn thing is attractive, but when you have kids to pick from school and more writing to do in the home office, a day with feet up on the rail has to have start and stop limits on it. I also thought how nice it would be to have a hat, (North Sail?) since the sun was beating down on my face and I was starting to feel a little crispy.

Adjusted the tiller and started sculling my way toward the West bank of the river in hopes of getting out of the current and making way toward the launch.

A half-hour or so later, I was able to get to a boat dock that runs parallel to the river and de-boat myself and pull the dinghy along for a few hundred feet, which was much faster than the sculling.

Just near the end of the dock the wind kicked up, well, kicked up is strong. A breeze presented itself, so I launched and we were off again. A slow drifty twenty minutes later and we were upstream a bit from the launch. Breeze strengthened so we turned about, dropped the centerboard and scooted into the launch on a starboard tack, closehauled.

As I got in between the ramps I pulled up the centerboard, furled the jib and the wind pushed us leeward abeam to the dock. A nice gentle landing and I released the mainsheet to kiss the dock.

Hank was off in a hurry and we headed for home shortly after getting the boat out.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I made the list at North Sails for a free hat.

I have been following Tillerman's Hat Quest for a couple of months and in the process of reviewing the list of hat-getters saw that Garrison Keillor made the list for a canoe race on some lake (ahem) in Minnesota.

So, on a whim, and just kidding around, I put my name on the list for a sailing adventure of my own. And now my name is showing up on the list as the winner of the DR-1 class in the Willamette River Winter Invitational.

In my defense, I was, and still am, using North Sails.

I wonder if they really give me a hat. Maybe the North Sails rep calls me up and busts my chops?

And the real dilemma: If I get the hat, do I give it to the Portland Fire Department?
Stay tuned.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Afternoon Session

I sailed this morning, pulling the boat around noon to make a meeting with a client in the early afternoon. That meeting got done around 1430.

As I pulled out into traffic, boat in tow, initially intending to go home, I thought 'Why not?' and turned down the hill and went sailing again this afternoon.

Of course, it wasn't a hard choice to make, since the sun came out and it was beautiful this afternoon for a couple of hours.

I what point does this activity become a habit (or worse) that I should worry about?

The jetstream is dipping down South and blowing us some Northern chill. We may have snow on Monday, because of it. This has been an odd winter. No El Nino, or La Nina, but we have had quite a few of these jetstream events, which are rare for us. It's usually lined up with the Roaring Forties and bringing our weather to us from out in the Pacific.

Regardless, I took advantage of a few moments of sun, as well as a stiff North breeze, blowing up around 8 knots and giving me some screaming reaches. Well, screaming is relative. It might have been pretty tame for one of you real sailors. I, however, was thrilled that the boat was heeling, if with my 250+ leaning out over the rail.


Never Trust a Weatherman in Portland

Sailed again today! Beautiful day, despite the weatherman's dire predictions and I had a great time out there.

The wind was blowing upriver this time, coming from the North. So, I was able to try out some new angles on the river and sailed further downriver.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Opening Day 2009

I got out today around noon; first stop was the chandlery to pick up a shackle for my boom vang and then down to Willamette Park to launch.

I got the boat in the water and there was a pretty solid current and a gusty little front blowing in, which made it hard for me to point away from the little dock that runs perpendicular to the launching bays. I would have just started drifting down river, but the wind and current were forcing me against the dock and there was a power boat tied up, mechanic hard at work trying to fix the motor.

I tried to appear as though I were waiting for someone, checking my non-existent watch, and adjusting the boat's rigging, as I waited around for them to finally clear out.

This goose eyed me like he knew what was up. Either that or he thought I looked like a giant breadcrumb.

I got underway and sailed across the river and started tacking back and forth, making way toward the Sellwood Bridge and dodging the occasional buoy and/or anchored fishing boat.

I was a little nervous, as the wind was gusty and I still had the memory of DR-1 fresh in mind from November. I mostly used the mainsail and left the jib furled.

Managed to snap a couple of pictures with the camera on my phone and send them to people who were working while I was sailing. Yeah, I'm *that* kind of friend.

Here's my breadcrumb imitation.

I got an email from a colleague who lives up on the hill. She said she could see a boat down there with a sail up and asked if it was me. I took a picture of her house and emailed it back to her asking if that was her house.

She told me if I was paying attention I would have noticed that it of course was her house, as anyone could plainly see her smiling and waving.

She might be really good at that Where's Waldo? game.

I passed a couple of paddlers, too. Well, actually, they passed me. A guy in an OC-1 outrigger with his ama set at a rakish angle. And later, on my way back downriver, a guy in a sporty looking little dory.

I finally got confident enough to put the jib out there and got a couple of nice little pockets of wind to drive the boat across the river and back.

I find it fascinating how my concept of wind is shifting. I see it more as something that exists in pockets, or cells, almost independent of one another. Whereas, I think my prior understanding of wind was a more unified field that blew everywhere all at once.

I finally had to give it up and head in, as I had left my gloves at home and my hands were starting to get too cold.