43. Sailing With A Spinnaker

Keola Spinnaker43.  Sailing With A Spinnaker

Stored below on Keola, we found a bucket labeled “spinnaker.”  A spinnaker is a tricky sail to handle, and takes three crew, so we got a friend from the sailing club to show us how, and an agile guy from school to help during the first (and only) spinnaker run.

We thought it would be nice to have a picture of our boat with the big colorful spinnaker up in front.  Betty found another guy at the club with a high-speed racing outboard to take her out as the “photo-boat.”  Outside the lagoon I planned to “run” down the coast toward Pearl Harbor, but the wind was straight offshore.

After dodging a fleet of sailboats racing, we got the spinnaker up with only a few minor hangups, and suddenly we were “flying”!  The spinnaker was an unexpected combination of green, yellow and aqua stripes — pretty!

Betty in the power boat buzzed around us like a bumblebee ready to pounce on a flower bouncing wildly in the ocean waves, and snapping pictures like mad whenever she happened to be connected with the boat seat.

I noticed the waves were getting bigger — too big for the racing hull of our photo-boat.  The power boat guy was waving to quit and go home.  So we “cut” the session and slipped the spinnaker down like experts.  Coming about, I was astonished to see how far we had come in what seemed a few minutes!  Our friend estimated we were 2-3 miles from shore. It took us two hours to sail back against the stiff wind!

Our only spinnaker run was an exhilarating experience on a beautiful day!   Betty got this beautiful picture from the power boat for lasting memory of a wonderful experience.

42. Anchoring off Waikiki

Diamond Head Waikiki Beach42.  Anchoring off Waikiki

At last!  We ventured out the channel and sailed upwind past Honolulu Harbor and Magic Island to Waikiki Beach.  We gazed at the row of shining hotels along Waikiki Beach curving in a friendly smile of Aloha along the sea.

Sailing off Diamond HeadWe dropped anchor in front of majestic Diamond Head, and searched the green jungle of Tantalus Mountain rising behind Honolulu to see if we could spot our new home hiding in the trees.

Betty tied the anchor line on the bow cleat just the way I taught her, but backwards.  We were offshore of Waikiki, outside of the swells, but close enough to hear the music from the hotels. I particularly enjoyed the Dixieland Jazz band at the Hilton Rainbow Tower.

The water was crystal clear and about 30 ft deep.  Betty and I snorkeled together and scoured the sand bottom for any objects, and watched the occasional small fish.  I made it a habit to follow the anchor line out to see how the anchor was set – so I could judge how to lift it when we were ready to leave.Bob & Betty snorkeling

Time to head home.  Betty climbed on board, and called for me to come.  As I swam toward Keola, I realized I was not getting closer.  The anchor line had slipped off the cleat, and Keola was being blown out to sea faster than I could swim!  My mind raced!  Should I swim to shore and call the Coast Guard?  The base was in Honolulu Harbor close by, and they could dispatch a boat to catch Betty.

I yelled at Betty to raise the jib and sail around to get up momentum to come back and pick me up.  Our practice in the lagoon paid off as she got Keola moving and did the pickup maneuver perfectly!  Whew!

We sailed back and forth across the area, and after failing to spot the white anchor line on the bottom, we headed back to the Marina.  Thank the Lord for protecting us that day!  Thereafter, we never went snorkeling without someone on board.  Another lesson learned!

41. Dockmanship 2 – Mooring

Saillboat at dock41.  Dockmanship 2 – Mooring

Back on the water again, we continued sailing in the lagoon to gain more skill handling the boat, and getting more experience mooring.

We sailed into the marina corridor to our slip, and dropped the sails as we turned into our slip – obviously, too soon.  The prevailing wind blows out of our slip, and slowly pushed us to a stop!  We drifted sideways across the corridor into an open slip on the other side.  There wasn’t enough room to get the sail up and get underway again, and it takes too long to get the outboard out and mounted. ooooh!  No!

Somehow we ended up broadside alongside the dock across two slips with the slip sideline wrapped around Keola’s keel.  I heard the rumbling of feet running on the dock as a group of men came scrambling from the Mariana Clubhouse to our rescue.  A discussion arose as to how to get us untangled.

At that moment, to add to the excitement, the sailboat with the owner of the slip we were tangled in arrived.  He sailed back and forth like a waiting shark while shouting back and forth with the men helping us.  They shouted, “Go back out fifteen minutes, while we clear your slip!”

Our rescuers untied the slip sideline and pulled it out from under Keola, and then took a line across the corridor and pulled us over to our slip.  When the owner of the slip across returned, he discovered his sideline was untied and started yelling  #@!%$# oops!

To top off my embarrassment, the leader of the rescue group said, “By the way, I’m Jim, the Harbor Master here, let me know if you need help.”Catchline

Fortuitously, God gave me a little ingenuity to solve the problem of getting safely into our slip, and mooring.  I tied a catch-line across the slip from sideline to sideline, so when we came into the slip, Betty would pick up the catch-line with a boathook, so the bow of the boat was caught and stopped before reaching the dock.  We found that we could barrel in at considerable speed and still stop safely a few inches from the dock.

We’ve been practicing sailing inside the lagoon.  I taught Betty how to bring the boat about, and in the unlikely situation that I fall overboard, to bring the boat up to an object from downwind for a pickup – Be Prepared!  Boy Scout training!

Next, we venture out to the Pacific Ocean and up the coast to Waikiki and Diamond Head.

40. Sailing – Learning “Dockmanship”

Keola B&B40.  Sailing – Learning “Dockmanship”

First, we sailed inside the lagoon.  There were things to learn before we ventured out into the exposed Pacific Ocean.  For example, my Boy Scout training did not cover “Dockmanship”.

The “dock” is a floating boardwalk to which are tied a quantity of boats, bow on, to minimize the waste of space and to maximize the number of boats that can be tied there.  Skilled dockmanship includes sailing into the slip directly at the dock with the intent of almost reaching it, but not running into it.

Another aspect of dockmanship is called “mooring.”   The objective of “mooring” is to tie ones boat so that the Keola sailboat dockboat is far enough away from the dock that no one can quite step the distance between the two, yet close enough that one hopes that he can.  This leads to a fascinating game that goes as follows:  One pulls at the mooring line of the boat so that the boat moves toward the dock.  At a certain point the boat is as close to the dock as it can go, and tension on the stern lines will reverse the boat’s direction.

The player in the game judges the moment at which the movement of the boat brings it closest to the dock, and for a fraction of a second — not moving.  The player then steps from the boat to the dock or vise versa.  Winners in the game are left standing on the dock as the boat moves back to its original just-out-of-reach position.

Losers in the game have several alternative consequences.  (1) A loser might be stranded somewhere in between.  (2) He might land in the water handicap.  (3) He might make a desperate hop to the dock that could make him a winner or result in broken bones.  The mark of a #3 loser is a 30 lb. white plaster anchor encasing the right leg from knee to toe — for six weeks.

Yep!  I was a #3 loser!  Oh well; what’s a little fractured ankle?  At least my legs got a workout!

Next: “Dockmanship” #2 — Oops. More learning experience!

Have you had any boating experience you’d like to share?

39. A Dream Becomes a Reality

Keola - a Dream39.  A Dream Becomes a Reality

A dream is a daring adventure,
A journey to carry you far,
For when you hold a dream in your heart,
You surely can reach for a star!

A dream is a beautiful vision,
That looks beyond what you can see,
That lifts you and guides you,
To help you be all you can be.

A dream is your door to tomorrow,
Believing that it will come true.
A window that opens a future,
Where your dream is waiting for you.

We went looking for our dream one Sunday.  With Sunday the only day we could leave our apartment, we thought it would be fun to check out possibilities for “someday” getting a sailboat.  We visited the yacht clubs and ended up at La Mariana Sailing Club on Sand Island in Keehi Lagoon, where we paused for lunch.

I had just taken a bite of my sandwich when we spotted a pretty sailboat coasting into the dock.  I said, “There’s the kind of boat we ought to have someday.  I think I’ll go and ask them what kind it is.”  So, I said hello and that they certainly had a pretty boat, that we were boat shopping, and wondered what kind it was.  She said it was a Cal 20.  The lady invited Betty on board to look in the cabin.

Before we knew what was happening, the peanut butter sandwiches were stashed back into the bag and we were sailing down the lagoon.  By coincidence, the lady told us, she and her husband had just been talking about selling the boat because he had developed an allergy to salt water.  Betty grinned at me and I had the feeling that we were in deep water (both figuratively and literally).

A 20 ft. fiberglass sloop in the Midget Ocean Racing-Cruising Class; it was big enough and rugged enough to go out in the open sea and sail between the islands.  We bought it!

Her name was “Keola” which means “the life”. It seems like yesterday’s dream for a far tomorrow had arrived today!

Coming up next: Our sailing experiences – “Dockmanship”