The end of October has brought breezy afternoons and soft light to our bay-side town, and on week four of the Girls’ Boat Project, we took to the water with the good weather presented to us. As our season changes, we took time on our October 23rd meet-up to discuss our favorite types of weather, study the Beaufort Wind Scale, and observe the current weather conditions to decide if a safe day of boating was before us and our trusty boat Onward.
The last time we went out on Onward we focused on rowing techniques and commands, singing sea shanties to help us cultivate a rhythm, and simply getting familiar with the boat. After a group consensus, we decided—with the weather on our side—that this week would be a great opportunity to employ some sail power. After our snack of carrots, peanut butter, and fruit muffins, we put on our extra layers and PFD’s, brought all our gear to the boat, and headed out into the low, glittery light of the afternoon’s early-winter sunshine.
It was a wonderful afternoon to fly the jib and the mizzen sail, and we observed the difference in how the boat handles under sail power and row power—for instance, slight heeling of the boat to one side when on a tack. We had a bow watch looking for logs, other boaters, and our bay-side friend, the Ferry, and the girls took turns tending to the sails by holding the sheets (lines that aid in maneuvering the sail) and at the helm with the tiller. We went along the waterfront, following the sun at our bow, and made a smooth tack back towards Point Hudson to return into the harbor. The wind was at a 2 on the Beaufort Wind Scale—we determined—and the current was carrying us out into the Admiralty Inlet, so we kept our oars ready to row. We sang shanties all the way into the harbor and made our way steadily toward the longboat Townsend, where Onward rests tied up port-side to.
During our closing circle, highlights included: being close enough to the ferry to wave at passengers while we were underway, having sails up, and having time at the tiller to get familiar with it. The weather was appreciated all around, too!