Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Salvage Effort Continues

After the events of November 8, 2008, Kris and I mapped out a slow road to recovery for the girls. Joining the sailing club was step one; the hope being to get them around the water more often, and especially with other kids who sail and may inspire the girls to get back out on the water. With that in mind, I took the girls to the club on Monday night, the three of us intending to meet Kris after work.

Last night went well, in the other-kid regard. When we arrived at the club, Kris was already down at the dock, even though the mass of folks had gathered up on the hill. I think she was driven down there by the shorebound antics of the Laser fleet. With extremely light and variable wind, the bulk of the laserettes were up on the cliff yelling abuse at the race committee and the handful of laser sailors attempting to launch their boats.

We found Kris and then wandered back to the boat launch area where a precocious young lady, about 2 years older than A and M, was working her way down the ramp, deeper into the water, while holding onto the dock.

She told us she was looking for a 'daggerboard' that one of the sailors had dropped. A and M were very intrigued and pretty soon, with a bit of encouragement from the kid, they were hip deep with their new friend Sierra, all three engaged in an active, vocal recovery operation.

As the salvage progressed, they came up with an unopened bottle of Red Dog beer. If you clicked that link and read to the end, all I can say is, "I dunno." I didn't have access to this information prior to viewing the bottle cap. Or maybe I don't have much imagination. I read a lot of Batman comics as a kid, but I think the thrill for me was a sort of empowerment fantasy, rather than, well, let's just call it: the author's particular bent.

Anyway, after a half-hour or so of dagger recovery operations, (which I later found out from The Tillerman was more likely a rudder recovery operation, owing to the fact that Laser daggerboards are designed to float) the team shifted interest toward the rush of Laser sailors who were now trying to launch as the wind had come up and the race committee were dropping buoys.

Sierra offered to push a couple of the Lasers out and quickly jumped in the water to do just that. M followed close behind and the two of them created a proper nuisance in the midst of the Laser launchings. It was beautiful.

After everybody was underway, one of the race committee boats returned to the dock and the girls invited themselves along to 'help out.' I gave the guy in the boat an out, asking him if it was okay if the girls went along. He cleared it and away they went for at least an hour.

They acted as the escort boat when the Portland Spirit came through on its evening upriver run. They also waved flags and wreaked havoc on the high seas, I'm certain. The boat driver was nonplussed, however, on return. We delivered him a beer and told him we probably owed him two. He was happy to enjoy it with us and sat down to chat. With roots in Florida, our new friend, turns out, grew up in Kingston, Jamaica.

All in all, a good day at the club. Next step, getting the kids on the dinghy again. I think Sierra helped our case when she told the girls, "I love to do capsize drills. Want to do some capsize drills? They are the best!"

I can feel the perspective shifting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Rounding the Horn

Loved it! Absolutely.

Dallas Murphy's Round the Horn is a wonderful mix of travelogue, exploration, sailing, geography, history, sociology, meteorology, and some cooking. His subtitle says most of it: Being a story of Williwaws and Windjammers, Drake, Darwin, Murdered Missionaries and Naked Savages--A deck's eye view of Cape Horn.

I found it to be a fantastic read; couldn't wait to pick it up and dive back in, wherever I was. Murphy did his research on this one and presents us with great collection of insights into the place and the human events that took place there over the past 500 years. Read this one and you'll have the best possible insight into the mysteries of Tierra del Fuego and the struggles to master the winds and seas throughout the past couple of centuries.

I give it my top rating, whatever that is. Some stars? A handful! Some thumbs? Another handful.

Read it.