Bartholomew Fair

"Bartholomew Fair" is what Napoleonic-era British sailors would say to describe a (insert ethnic group) fire drill, or confused series of unnecessary screwups on the water. It pretty well describes the beginning of my singlehanding of the family sloop this morning for the first time in twenty-one months. The pristine quiet (not another boat in sight) was shattered by the sound of my cursing. First the outboard wouldn’t stay running, so I had to push the twenty-two footer out of the slip and fall off on a beam reach as soon as I could get the mainsail to fill. The 5-10 mph wind was coming from dead ahead the slip, which helped. But upon hoisting the jibsail, I found that I had neglected to fasten the tack to the bow. Fortunately the sail snagged, rather than fly all the way up the forestay unfastened. That gave me time to tie off the tiller and go forward to unsnag it and fasten the tack. But, with the wind from dead ahead, to get out of the relatively narrow channel, as we refer to Cypress Creek Arm on Lake Travis, required constant tacking. By the time I was halfway to the main basin, I was exhausted and dripping with sweat. So I wore around and made for the dock on a broad reach, the wind now behind me. That was a pleasure, though too short. I didn’t even try the outboard, but rounded into the wind to get the jib down and then fell off down to the slip. I coasted into the berth under mainsail alone and just kissed the dock (instead of ramming it). At least the ending was elegant. Hopefully, Wednesday will be easier, if it doesn’t rain as forecast.

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