Usually October is good for sailing with warm Indian summer days, warm enough water, and an abundance of moderate but steady breezes. This fall, though, has been day after day of drip and drear with nary a whisper of breeze. But cold front is coming through tonight so we actually had some wind today. Sitting in the office, seeing the sun coming out for the first time in weeks, the clouds rushing off on the heels of a 10-15 mph northwesterly breeze got the best of me. I snuck out of the office, ran home, and hitched up the Sunfish-clone Starfish boardboat to the car, tossed in a wetsuit vest, some polypro, a paddling jacket, a water bottle, and my GPS and headed up to the lake.
The temperature had already dropped from the 70s this morning to low 60s by the time I was rigged and launched, but the water was still warm enough to comfortably wade in. The wind was coming in about 40 relative to the ramp, so all I had to do was point the bow nearly straight out, hop aboard, tiller in hand, sheet in a bit and drop the daggerboard. After sailing a couple of times in the last few weeks in very fluky conditions, it was a real pleasure to have some weight in the the wind.
We (the boat and I) worked our way to windward for about a mile and a half through a series of ten tacks, not really trying to get anywhere very quickly. When a big puff would come down the lake, I'd usually foot a bit, just to get a bit of the thrill of speed. The GPS showed a speed of 5 mph for most of the day, with lots of 6s,7s, and 8s in the puffs. Having decided that I was gettig splashed enough, we turned back to do some speed runs, searching out the strongest puffs for some downwind flying. I saw over 10 mph a couple of times and a lot of 9s. Absolutely exhilarating!
But it was getting cooler, and I had to get home to feed the kids so I had to end this probable last sail of this year after only a little more than an hour on the water. We're going to get our first freeze later this week. At least tonight I can lay my head down on the pillow with a fresh memory of the tiller in my hand, the tug of the sheet in the other, and the sound of the water rushing past still ringing in my ears.
It's enough to keep me warm for months.