"We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds."
— Aristotle Onassis, Shipping Magnate
The forecast was for Small Craft Warnings with gusts up to 30 mph and temperatures in the 40s, but that didn't stop our Sea Scouts from departing Pikes Bay Marina on Saturday May 20th for their first weekend sail of the season.
Be Prepared is the motto of the Scouts, and prepared they were. Bundled up in fleece and fowl weather gear, and stocked with an ample supply of instant coco mix in the galley, the crew of Sea Scout Ship 336 would not let a little wind and rain deter them from the voyage. Many other factors were taken into consideration before the dock lines were cast.
Most of the kids on this trip have been sailing on the Abbey Road for at least two seasons, so not only did they know that the boat could handle the conditions, they knew how they would support each other in the blow.
They started the trip with a reef in the main, and had a plan to reduce more sail as the conditions warranted.
They had memorized the weather forecast and planned a course that would take advantage of the islands, sailing most of the trip in the lee and far away from the 9 foot waves on the big lake.
They scheduled watches so no crew member was exposed to the elements for more than an hour, and took precautions to avoid hypothermia.
There were a few scouts who had not sailed in weather like this, but they trusted that the youth leaders and the adult supervision would not put the ship and crew in harm's way.
Each scout took their turn at the helm and a friendly competition ensued to see who could drive the boat the fastest while close hauled (9.2 knots by one of the new scouts).
After tacking back and forth into the wind for six hours, sailing two miles for each mile made toward the destination, the anchor was dropped in the shelter of Presque Isle Bay. A hot and hearty dinner was served and every scout was in the sack by 2030 (8:30 pm for you landlubbers)
We are very proud that this crew was willing to go sailing in conditions that keep most other boaters in port. The skills learned and the self confidence gained will come in handy should when they find themselves on the water in a future storm.