I had been waiting for such a day like this. The wind was right. I prepared the boat to sail. This time I learned about kinks.

While hoisting the sail, a kink in the halyard stopped the process. I found a knot, which I am calling a “kink” that stopped the line from sliding through the block.  I removed the kink, with the line free, I can continue hauling the sail. I tie down the halyard line. Loosen bow and stern line’s and am free of the dock. The wind is light yet enough to carry us south on Sampawams Creek.

I looked back over the stern and see riffles on the surface up creek. I waited as it slowly approached. The slack sail snaps to attention. I feel a breeze behind me. The wind is out of the northwest at about 10 knots. Sailing south on the creek is easier than the return trip. Not only difficulty with reading wind changes, but also less room to tack as the creek narrows.

It’s a Saturday and several powerboats and heading out. I get out of their way and they in turn give me wide birth. One of these boats is huge. Both of us give up plenty of passing space.

I finally reach the bay where the wind is more reliable. I sail toward the Captree Causeway  on a long reach, then come about and decide to thead west toward the village pool.

I absorb waves and bounce along on the wakes of several power boats. This the first time I’ve ventured out into the Babylon Cove. Rather than keep going west toward the pool, I decided to come about and head back up the creek.

For a while, I’m cruising. It’s touch and go. The wind dies, and then comes alive again. As I pass the boat basin, I pick up speed because the wind has no obstructions. Once passed the opening, my momentum slowly dissolves. I drift close to the sterns of dozens of power boats. I pass huge outboard motors with horsepower’s proudly painted on the engine cases. Compared to my little engine-powered craft, these are monsters with propellers that spin strong enough to stir up the mud of creek and bay. Long ago, when sailboats were here, the turbidity of the water was so low the water was clear. My little wood pussy boat glides by silently propelled by air. I was dwarfed by fiberglass vessels floating on what was once extensive salt marsh habitat, now bulk headed.

At one point, becalmed, I see the boat drifts south again. I fan the rudder and catch a slight breeze. The creek deflects the wind due to building and boat obstructions. I drift toward a boat and bump into the Widgeon, the classiest wooden boat on the creek. Every line is trim. The boat is in perfect condition…until I bump it and make a blotch in the paint.

I struggled to make headway until the north wind pushed me south. I decided to lower the sail. I could see the dock. I untied the halyard and started pulling the sail down. Then it stopped. I had my foot on the halyard.  That corrected, the sail lowered only to stop again. More kinks in the Halyard. Finally, the sail is all the way down, I started paddling. The wind decides to pick up. It’s hard to paddle and operate the tiller at the same time. I have to paddle on both sides to direct the boat to the dock.

Finally, having reached the dock, as I start to furl the sail, I feel a cricket on my foot. I had a passenger and didn’t know it. I managed with a deft move to launch the cricket off my foot and onto the lawn of the Theiss estate. I tuck, tie, cover the sail.

I stagger back to the car. My mouth is dry. Back home, I drink a beer and savor every gulp. I fall into a stupor in my man cave. Nancat has once again proved to be better than a gym workout. I still have kinks to work out. Maybe on the next outing I’ll have yet to have a kink free sailing experience.

Tom Stock   tomstock.org

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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