I took the Little Squirt out for her third trip. I built two shrouds out of heavy duty clothes line to see if I could stop the PVC mast from bending in the wind. I took the boat down and put her in the water. After casting off I started to set up. Just minutes after starting the mast bent and the shrouds slipped off their support hooks. I went forward to fix them and just as I got them set up the boat began to rapidly turn. Looking back I saw the rudder floating about 30 feet away. I took down the sail and put the oars into the oarlock holes with a great deal of effort. It seems the wood had swollen and the oarlock pins no longer quite fit in the holes. I finally caught the rudder and put it back in place. I had been drifting closer and closer to a nearby shore and by the time I got control back I was just feet from going aground. I took a small piece of rope and tied one end to the rudder and the other on the boat to prevent it from floating away again. I yanked on the rope to put the sail back up and found I had yanked on the wrong end as the rope came out of the pulley and settled into the boat. I rowed the boat to the dock because the only way to put it back through the pulley was to remove the mast.
I decided that this time I would set up and then cast off. I put the sail up and ensured that the bow of the boat was facing into the wind. I decided to tie the main off so that the sail would not swing back and forth. I attached the rudder and launched. That is once I got my line to the dock untangled from another boat which had tied his line over mine. Once launched the boat began to swing beam on to the wind and was beginning to turn over. I rushed to untie the sail and found it was tangled and would not come loose. With a great deal of swearing I managed to get it untied before I ended up in the water only to find myself very close to a reef of rocks and closing fast. Using the sail and oars I managed once again to avoid disaster. I sailed up Gander Lake in the light winds till I had reached Glenwood Park from the wharf in Glenwood. I would say that would be about a mile and a half. I sailed around a small island up that way and sailed back. I made very slow progress getting back due to the wind slowing down.
Once I reached the wharf at Glenwood again the wind picked up and I decided to cruise back and fourth across the river. That was such a trill.
1. ALWAYS TIE OFF THE ENDS OF ANY LINES THAT YOU CAN NOT REACH IF
THEY GET PULLED UP TO FAR. SUCH AS THE MAST LINE.
2. USE A CLEAT IF YOU MUST TIE UP THE MAIN. DO NOT USE A KNOT SINCE YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO UNTIE IT IN A HURRY.
3. SECURE THE RUDDER IN SOME WAY TO THE BOAT SO THAT IT CAN’T DRIFT AWAY IF IT COMES LOOSE.
4. PVC PIPE IS NO GOOD FOR A MAST EVEN WITH SHROUDS AND A TWO INCH WIDE PIECE OF WOOD IN IT.
5. IF OARS ARE YOUR ONLY SECOND SOURCE OF MOTION ENSURE YOU CAN PUT THEM INTO ACTION IN A HURRY.
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