The goodbye rescue kind of sail

Paul may have saved a man’s life last night. 

Last night we went sailing with Tom and Lisa (my running partner and bff) to say our final goodbyes before they move from Wisconsin to Florida. We keep our boat on a relatively large body of water. I am not giving anything away as our state is practically surrounded by large bodies of water and contains large and numerous lakes and rivers. It is rumored that we have more lakes than our neighboring state of Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. But I do not want to start a debate. Let me tell you that sailing on a large body of water isn’t always a breeze. Ha ha. Last night was no exception. 

The night started off breezy even though the forecasters said that there wasn’t going to be much of a wind. We were sailing with the same friends that we went on the accidental overnight sail with that I blogged about earlier. We have had so many crazy wild adventures with them that I thought I would give them names which means future crazy wild stories. Anyway, we decided to take a sail out to a landmark for some awesome goodbye photos. Lisa and I share the love of running and photography. The sunset pictures were going to be divine. The wind took us to our destination in no time. It was so windy that there were whitecaps with two to three foot waves. We had our pants and sweaters on as it was a chilly July night. The water splashing up on us was not much warmer. Lisa and I went out on the bow and started posing for the camera when we saw a little guy in the distance out on the water struggling. We asked him if he needed help and he said he would be okay. We looped around taking more pictures. 

When we made it back to the man a second time he was clearly in trouble. He was in a small boat, about the size of a canoe with a small sail on it. He had tipped the boat over several times struggling with the waves and the wind. The water was cold, it was getting dark, he was 5 miles from shore, and we were the only boat around. It was going to take us an hour to get back to shore at dusk under motor. His situation was getting dire. I was picturing in my mind the morning news story of a man lost at sea drowning. A man in the background of our smiling pictures. My husband Paul did what any great captain would do, he threw out a line and kept us all from panicking. After the man swam to our boat, I did what any good captain’s wife would do. I wrapped him up in my warm, fuzzy purple robe and handed the guy a beer. Apparently, he headed out for a short sail about four hours before. The wind took him out and he couldn’t get back to shore. He was clothed in a swimming suit, life jacket, and inexperience. He had nothing on the boat to eat or drink and left his cell phone at home. He was in big trouble. 

Paul may have saved a man’s life last night. 

The accidental overnight sail

Last summer my husband and I bought an old 25 foot sailboat. After about a month of ownership, we decided to take three of our friends out for a 3 hour tour. The day before I bought brand new water shoes for the trip. But we had one small problem the evening of the cruise, not enough wind. We decided to have a cook out on shore and in the process broke the first rule of boating safety by consuming alcoholic beverages. 

It was a warm July evening. I wore my capris and a t-shirt. After supper, the wind picked up out of nowhere. We were ready for the quick sunset cruise out to the lighthouse and back maybe five miles from shore. Once we made it to the lighthouse, the wind was really whipping and there were three foot waves. We thought it would be a really great idea to see how fast the boat could go. We did get the boat to go fast, faster than we have seen it go since. The problem was that the boat went fast in the wrong direction. When we got done testing the speed, we were 15 miles north of where we were supposed to be and it was getting dark. 

In the meantime, my friend and I needed to use the bathroom. We had a toilet on board, but we didn’t know how to use it. After using the facilities, we were supposed to pull a lever to empty the contents into a lower compartment. We didn’t do that. As a gracious host, I had my friend use the bathroom first. When it was my turn, I opened the lid as we hit a wave and spilled the contents  down my legs onto my new water shoes. Great, now I am soaked in my friend’s urine. No problem, I had extra clothes on board, right?! Well, no. 

Now it was dusk and we were lost. The depth finder was not working, the GPS coordinates did not take into account that there was land between point A and point B, we had no maps, and our cell phones all died. To make matters worse,  we were almost out of gas. We were in deep water! Every time we tried getting close to shore we would ground out, using what little gas we had left to get ourselves out. When we went out to deep water we hit some big waves spraying us with water. I was freezing after being soaked with urine and water not to mention the drop in temperature after dark. I used the spider filled sail cover to stay warm. One of our thrill seeker friends thought it would be a good idea to dance around on the wet bow much to his wife’s dismay. They ended up falling asleep at midnight. My husband spent the night steering the boat while his other buddy and I worked the jib sheet. Our minds started playing tricks on us and we were afraid of hitting dark objects in the water. At 5 AM I couldn’t take it anymore and had to go to sleep. Geez, all that and I missed the sunrise!! In daylight we were able to get back to shore. We almost made it to the harbor when we ran out of gas. My husband jumped into the water and had to swim the boat to shore. 

We made it home at 7 AM the day after our three hour cruise. My body was swaying back and forth for the next couple of days. The day after we got back I decided to go for a 6 mile run even though I was still swaying and felt like crap. It was the hardest run ever because I ended up coming down with pneumonia that day. 

What did we learn from our (in)experience? I am now toilet trained, we carry extra gas, extra water, and bought an additional phone battery charger. I have extra blankets, sweaters, sleeping bags, shorts, pants, coat, robe, and rain gear that stays on the boat just in case we are foolish enough to have another accidental, overnight sail. 

Nautical thoughts

My husband and I had a boat renaming party this past weekend for our sailboat. I have another confession to make. I fell in love with another man. He gazed into my eyes and called me beautiful. His embrace drew me into the intoxicating scent of his cologne like a siren calling to a sailor out at sea. He bestowed upon me a gift of a parchment paper journal for Internet free blogging. I was in love hook, line, and sinker. I called my dad for Father’s Day anyway, all the while feeling the guilt of desiring another dad. My new love presided over the boat renaming ceremony. 

The ceremony itself went without a hitch. When I woke up the morning of the party, I had great trepidation after looking at the forecast. A storm the size of the continent of Africa was coming towards us with a guesstimated arrival time of noon, when the ceremony starts. I consulted Paul, my husband who has the gift of weather parting, and told him we were in need of a miracle because at this time I wasn’t sure that the boat wanted to be renamed. And part the weather did. The ceremony started with a little drizzle, just enough to keep a few of the fair weather sailors home despite the free beer. The party included denaming the boat by pouring champagne into the water by the bow and toasting. My new love told the story of Paul’s and my accidental overnight sail with the mere thought of changing the name of the boat. Good thing I did not tell him about the boat almost starting on fire right after the old name was removed. (The ceremony also required a virgin to urinate off the side of the bow, so we skipped that part). Then we finished the ceremony with renaming the boat, pouring champagne on all sides of the boat, another toast, and a beautiful closing toast by Paul. 

The party was attended by our children, a few close friends, our employees, a few random sailors, and my mom. Paul’s mom called a couple days before the party and said she couldn’t make it because it might rain despite the fact that Paul told her she has windshield wipers. Well, I had better go back to bed or start on my 18 mile run this morning. Another storm the size of Africa is coming and I don’t think I will be as lucky this time.