The current economy of July 2010 is terrifying. I know families who’ve lost everything and are living in their cars. I know more families than I care to know about who are struggling, mine is one of them. We talk about trying to sell the house of which we’ve lost half the equity we’ve built over the almost 20 years we’ve been in it, but the real estate market is so bad we’re not sure. We are starting to look for a buyer for our wakeboard boat and once we sell her, the big boy bill will be happy. It’s a daily grind and I wonder when the news media will return the ‘misery index’ to the nightly news like we had in the early 1980’s.
We’d like to hang on to the sailboat, she’s our ‘retirement’ boat. We’ve barely been on the water this year and so far only on the sailboat. Recently we did manage to take her out over night. There was a light west wind and we sailed from our club near the I-5 bridge under the main and spinnaker. It was a wonderful day of sailing as friends were right behind us and we were planning on gunkholing over night.
It was exciting to make 5 knots against the current and it was interesting to be towing the dingy. This was the first time we’d taken it by towing, generally we had it on the foredeck. It would later turn out to be a good decision to have the dingy in the water instead of aboard. I found it a lovely sound to hear ‘Whisper Too’ gurgling along behind us.
We are still learning to use the symmetrical spinnaker. The wind on the Columbia River is often very ‘fluky’ and will shift north to south, then west and back to north. This often results in us having the spinnaker pole on the wrong side. I have to concentrate very hard to work this sail. So, it’s a great way to get my obsessive worrying over bills to go away… at least for a bit.
We sailed past I-205 noting as we went that Sandy Beach was packed with big power boats. I was pleased to still be moving against the current under that big spinnaker of ours. Government Island ticked past, west dock, rickety thing that it is was empty but east dock was packed. Traveling at 3 knots I was thinking about the gunkhole we were heading to as we started the bend at the north end of Government Island.
Suddenly the boat heeled over hard to port as that giant spinnaker captured the rush of wind funneling between the two islands. We went from 3 knots to 8 knots in about 1 second. I tried to de-power by steering to port, in my panic I over steered and succeded only in sending that demon sail hard to starboard, digging the rail into the water and almost knocking my hubby overboard. I needed to get the boat in control because we had several wakeboard boats nearby, making not only a great target but also a fabulous audience. Of course, I over steered to starboard, like a rocket the bright yellow screaming demon flew to port and sank the rail.
I yelled to my hubby that we needed to douse the spinnaker and he ran forward, slipped and fell where the dingy would have been (see it was a good thing we were towing it). I let the starboard sheet go and slacked off on the port side while my hubby pulled down the sleeve. What a relief to get that sail in control! I’m sure the circus music played loudly during that lovely manuver….
We unfurled about a third of the head sail and continued up river. Then the cell phone rang. Our friends were laughing at us and called to tease us. We noted they had hauled down their gennaker, not daring to try running between the two islands….the chickens.
Once we’d cleared Government Island I started to note the time. It was almost 5 PM and I began to think maybe we should look at how much further that gunkhole was. I called our friends back and we chatted again about where this gunkhole was. They called back a few minutes later saying it would be a couple hours more to get there. We all opted to swing around and head to Government Island for the night.
We ended up at rickety west dock with 6 million mosquitoes. Thank heavens for 12 volt fans and lots of screens! It was a pleasant night with a easy pre-cooked dinner I only had to warm up. We met another couple on a sailboat that came in after our two boats were tied up. Talked about our club with them and hope to see them join. They had a nice little Cascade they are fixing up. All in all it was a nice trip on the sailboat. We learned more about the spinnaker and will do better next time.
For those of you struggling to keep your head above water with this wretched economy, hang in there. It doesn’t help to hear ‘you’re not alone’, I know because I hear it a lot. I made it through the Carter recession and things got better. We’ll make it through the Obama recession and things will get better. Until then, try to hang onto your boat and get out on the water. If you’ve lost your boat due to the recession, I’m so very sorry. Just remember, that while it took a war even the Great Depression ended and things got better. This too shall pass and hopefully at some future time you’ll sit in your new to you boat and talk about having made it through this time. I’m hoping to be able to hang onto mine and hoping to see you ‘out there’.
2 Comments posted on "Over Nighter"
tony b on September 21st, 2010 at 8:33 am #
talk about recession wow am i glad i own a sailboat if it were a power boat we couldn’t afford to idle up the canal we use about three gallons with my old 9.9 johnson tiller motor and its enough to push the ol’ island slider out to anclote key( off of the anclote river in tarpon springs florida i enjoyed reading your story about the spinaker sounds like a site to see..haha no pun intended but thanks debbie for your story of the overnighter
Debbie on September 21st, 2010 at 10:31 pm #
Hey Tony B,
Thanks for posting your thoughts! I know the power boaters are struggling too. They are not normally packed in at Government Island. I think with that power boat ‘sucking sound’ they too are just trying to hang on and still get out on the water. The only sanity saver I know!
Our boat only uses 1/2 gallon of disel per hour when we’re full out. But boy am I glad we’ve got sail!!! You’re right, the spinnaker was a site and I’m thankful I didn’t dump my hubby overboard…
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