by "Zemer Hayam"
As dictated to Jack and Rani Chadowitz
Editors note - "Zemer Hayam" is a 1993 MacGregor 26 Classic owned by Jack and Rani Chadowitz. She has been owned and sailed by them for the last 2 summers. This is her first submitted story. BG
My crew nearly didn't go on this sail, because Rani was worried about what she thought would be a scary ocean passage. I could tell her a thing or two about what constitutes an ocean passage, and honey, this isn't it! This isn't even really ocean, but don't try telling that to someone who is uptight. Well, "Whale"'s captain Barbara talked to her, and my captain Jack talked to her, and he promised not to scare her. So she agreed to go. And she realized I'm not going to get out on the water too many more times before that heavy, cold, hard, white stuff closes everything down for us water based folks.
It was really good to see all my friends again, even though we were the last (almost) to arrive. But Jack and Cheni got me all rigged pretty fast and we were on the water soon.
We followed San Juan through all the little and big pathways through the rocks; boy, are there things to look out for in that area! Cheni was really careful at the tiller and followed the chart well too. But the sun was going down and it was really beautiful. Following the buoys into the beach off the island where we anchored for the night was interesting, trying to figure out which side of the buoy would keep my center board from getting banged up. I didn't want another snapped cable.
After we put out my anchor, Rani took the dog, Shuki, to shore in the little dinghy. She's getting pretty good at her rowing. They were there until the sun was almost all the way down, and I was getting worried they'd have to row back in the dark. But as they came back, she was talking very excitedly about how there were these glowing jellyfish in the water near the beach, and there were a whole bunch of them around my hull too. I felt like someone gave me a glowing tu-tu.
My folks had dinner and went to sleep pretty early, they had had a long day.
We had dropped our anchor in what we thought was a good spot, between San Juan, who was rafted up with the Beep and Whale, and a motorboat. Earlier in the evening, that motor boat was making some pretty loud strange noises, and my crew was thinking of moving, worried we'd have a noisy sleepless night. Then the funny gurgling rumbling noises stopped. Around 3 o'clock in the morning, Rani heard Tony from The Beep. Then she heard motors. She looked outside, then Jack did, and it looked like the raft up was breaking up. The wind had picked up and they were all banging into one another. After a lot of noise, they all settled down, when Jack realized I was about to "kiss" the motorboat! Now normally I don't mind motorboats, as long as they stay away and get out of my way when my sails are up. But I am definitely not on "kissing" terms with any motorboat! (The Beep might be another matter….I just love the way he heels over when the wind catches his sails….)
Jack watched anxiously for a little while, and realized the wind had shifted and we were all in new directions, but we stayed away from that noisy boat.
The next morning, we hauled anchor and everyone followed me out of the area. It was fun playing follow the leader with me in the lead. We had to make the Hole by a certain time so we wouldn't get pushed along too fast, or have to battle the incoming current. When we got there, woohoo, what a ride! I was barreling along at least 7 knots! Cheni did a good job in keeping me in the channel and said it was like driving a motorboat (what does he know from stinky motorboats??). And when we got out the other side of the hole, what a let down: it was like sailing in Narragansett. I couldn't really feel much of a current.
As we made our way across Vineyard Sound, there was a place where the water was pushing us along with the waves, and then all of a sudden it went almost flat! It was the strangest thing, looked like a sand bar in the middle of nowhere.
It wasn't easy finding the entrance to Lake Tashmoo, you had to be almost on top of it to see it. But we did, and were surprised at how small it really was. It looked more like a big mooring field than anything else, with one sloop rigged sailboat cutting back and forth between the boats until the wind died.
Until everyone else started showing up, we hung out with this big, trimaran ( I didn't like to ask, but I think it was the one that put a hole in my friend "Whale"). The guys were nice, but we wanted to anchor a bit further in, which we did. We needed a place not too far from shore so Rani could practice rowing some more. Which she did almost immediately so Shuki could have a walk. Boy, he sure is good while he's on board, mostly sleeps while we're underway, but sometimes he wakes up and likes to bark at the waves and buoys. He's good when we change tack too, going from one side of my cockpit to the other like a real pro (Rani helps him a bit with releashing him to my lifeline).
Once everyone else got there and anchored, some of the folks decided to go for a swim. Rani jumped in, and Shuki wanted to also, but she wouldn't let him: salt water and then he'd need a bath, and they didn't have that much fresh water aboard.
After everyone had a fresh water rinse (and my foredeck got washed off in the process), they all left me to have a snooze while they went into town on foot for something called "ice cream". I guess it was worth the walk, which I never have to do anyway, but these people need to stretch their legs more than a stroll around my deck can afford them.
I heard Jack talking when they got back, that Rani left him with the dog and went off with Cheni to a bead shop with Karen of Karamel. Jack was really impressed with how well-behaved Shuki was on the whole walk back. Then Rani was talking about some dogs she and Cheni and Karen met on the way back, who walked along with them part of the way, but kept wandering into the street making passing drivers give the people a nasty look as if to say " why don't you keep your dogs under control?".
During the night, a dense fog came up. It got me all cold and clammy on deck. Then when Rani came out to row Shuki to shore at 6 something in the morning, it was hard to see the shore. She figured she could make it, but she worried about another boat coming down the lake across her prow as she was rowing. She did make it, but I heard when she came back that she had a bit of an adventure with the dog. Seems like he was either really eager to get to shore, or she bumped another dinghy as she got near the dock, but all of a sudden Shuki was in the water (yeah, he at least had on his bright orange life vest with the handle). Then as she was watching him swim in the freezing salt water towards the dock, she realized one of her oars had fallen out of the oarlock and was floating in the opposite direction. She said she nearly jumped overboard to get the dog, not thinking to use her one remaining oar like a paddle. She noticed some fisherman on the dock and called out to them for help, so one hopped into another dinghy (yes, using one oar!), to retrieve her errant oar, while she called to Shuki, who paddled very ably back to her dinghy. She grabbed his life vest handle (guess that's what it's there for) and got the shivering wet dog in as the oar was returned to her. Eventually, she got to shore and Shuki did his thing. But boy was he cold!
When she got back to me, there was a flurry of towels and cuddles for the dog until he warmed up.
Our sail back up Buzzards' Bay that day started off ok, but then the wind just died. Cheni was getting really impatient to get back already and wanted to put the motor on long before Jack and Rani wanted to. Eventually they did, and we slowly made our way back. The water became pretty flat with swells, but nothing very interesting. We were watching the "Whale" grabbing some good wind in another part of the bay, and were very jealous of the fun they were having.
After we got home, I heard Rani read an article about Buzzards' Bay in some magazine, and it's a good thing she didn't see it before we went. The guy who wrote it apparently sails there a lot and said the two things the Bay is known for are the hidden rocks (I'm so glad I have a depth finder and that my folks are really careful about using the GPS and charts), and the choppy waves. So I guess for Rani's first time on Buzzards' Bay, she got an easy time of it and will be prepared to take me out again. I liked sailing in a different place for a change.