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!


jomamma said...

Have you thought about forbidding your children on the boat? That always worked for us. "You are forbidden to live on an island..." where does she live? "Don't touch that guitar, you'll mess it up." Plays like a dream. "You can't have a motorcycle, they are too dangerous..." he owns two now.

Greg and Kris said...

Yes, that works well with the redhead already, but you probably could have tole me that, too. The blonde, however, seems to be a 7 y/o master manipulator. Not sure how it will go over with her.

O Docker said...

It's really all about trust, isn't it?

If you're confident in yourself, others sense it, and they'll trust you. There's no way to fake it.

It can take just one blunder to blow away years of slow, patient trust building. I've been sailing with my wife for about 25 years now, and the battle continues.

JP said...

Yikes, that's one scary big spider!

Be honest and explain what's going on is what I try to do.

Greg and Kris said...

Okay, Cap'n JP. I'll be honest and explain.

The spider was regular-sized and it built a web on the club's webcam.

I feel so much better now.