Our First Sail

Kept hearing from people that a blizzard could hit today, so we got a second space heater and planned to hunker down for the duration.

Instead, we went sailing.

Not in a blizzard – I’m not that hardcore – but on a sunny, clear, cold day on Willoughby Bay.  I wonder if that’s redundant.  Doesn’t Willoughby sound like a contraction of Willow Bay?  Willow Bay Bay.  It would make sense.  The British make fun of Americans for butchering the language, but they are worse than anyone about dropping letters, and I don’t just mean aitches.  Worstestershire sauce, anyone?  How about Norfolk?

We tore the boat up some more, put things in new places that made sense to us, undid an “improvement” of the last owner, and got upset with the mess of line meant for going aloft.  James suggested that we cut the line up and use it for new jib sheets.  Once we had it cut and whipped the ends, we just had to break them in, right?

It was our first sail since becoming owners several days ago.  At first, we were too buried in our stuff and the stuff left on the boat by owners of yore.  We just got ourselves more or less figured out today and, sure enough, she took us sailing!

We went out into the little bay here, not out into the shipping channels or the main body of the Chesapeake Bay.  Sailing up toward, well, land, we started getting shallow soundings, but I can’t figure out for the life of me why.  Something on the keel?  We cycled through points of sail and ended up sailing slowly, wing on sagging wing, back to the marina breakwater.

It was a nice easy sail, and the perfect kind for getting to know a new boat.  Anyone here know horses?  They have more personality in some ways and are more likely to have bad habits, but boats are similar in some ways.  If possible, you want to start with the basics, nothing fancy.  Just get going, go faster, slow down, and stop.  Save the steeple chase for later, once you’re better acquainted.  With this boat, we had some nice brisk winds for the test sail, which gave us a good sense for her performance capabilities.  For these, our learning voyages, we’ll keep it mellow for a little while.

Unless that blizzard comes through and we decide to test the storm sails…



  1. I had never thought of the similarity between a boat and a horse…but it is wonderful. We had horses all through my childhood, raised them….trained them, breed them. It is so true that a horses’ nature is a direct result of it’s owner’s personality… These past relationships would be very similar or evident I guess, whether it be a horse or a sailing vessel…..Was the owner patient…did they focus on the fundamentals first…did they take the time to develop a relationship with each individual…all these traits are reflected…whether we care to admit it or not.
    I assume that the traits in horse owners are similar to those of boat owners as well…some buy a horse based only on it’s pedigree…some just for they way it looks standing still in a field or pen…and others simply because the neighbours have them and this living, breathing…utterly magnificent animal becomes nothing more than landscaping.
    But then there are the “others”…relatively few I suppose when you consider every field and pasture……and every harbour. The “others”…..see themselves as an extension of the horse…of the boat and not the other way around…no longer are they animals…not machines…but their future, their legacy.
    My Father taught me that horses aren’t pets nor toys…that we must earn their friendship, gain their trust…that you never run a horse back to the pen….that spurs inflict pain, not respect…..but most importantly he shared a different world seen from the back of a horse….we can not help but take for granted the world around us…when so much of our consciousness is focused on the ground directly beneath our next step. The horizon holds a different meaning for some….

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