(Disclaimer: it was a bay, not a sea.)
The day after our adventure with the kayaks, our friend Jamie took the three of us out on his 43-foot cutter-rigged ketch Paramour. Until that day, I had no idea what those words meant, although I had seen them in some sailing publications and blogs.
So just to be clear, a ketch is a sailboat with two masts. A cutter has an inner and outer forestay (thick wires that support the mast and where the foresail clips on).
Anyway, it was a beautiful day and he had us do most of the actual sailing. Muna steered while Jason and I were in charge of tacking. Jamie also showed us his autopilot, which I had been curious about since watching Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story. (It’s on Netflix, if you want to check it out.) I didn’t really understand how a boat could have autopilot.
Now I know that it basically takes control of your rudder to keep the boat on a chosen course. The downside is that if the wind shifts, which it does a lot around here due to all the mountains and buildings, the course may no longer be the best one for the current sail trim. So basically, you still have to pay attention, but it is useful for taking a lunch or bathroom break. It also means you don’t have to stand at the wheel all day.
We went out farther than we had been so far, past the freighters but still not in fully open waters. Of course, you have to go pretty far to get to open waters around here, what with the Gulf Islands in the way. That’s a good thing for newbies like us though!
In addition to a crash course in sailing, Muna took some photos, which you can see below. See? Sailing has good times too! 😛