yesterday was my first sail out on open water, completely open. being out in the open water, not really knowing where we were or understanding how we got there- was exciting, a little jolting- like that feeling you get after you give your number away to a guy or girl you just met who managed to capture your attention- like a new romance.
we made it out into the atlantic, just a little offshore from south beach in miami, fl and anchored for a swim with a group of friends. every time i am on the boat i find myself wanting to know more and more about it. one of the things people always say is sailing is like a romance- i am really starting to see it, to feel it. i understand.
there was not enough wind that day and k said the water was really flat- but it was loads choppier than in the bay and dramatically noticeable when we anchored- rocking the boat side to side pretty heavily from what i had experienced in the past. for me though, even with the slight motion sickness, i was calm, at peace and happy in this saturday escape. even with the boat full of people, i felt a comfortableness and in a way indescribably all alone.
getting behind the wheel, without the full understanding of where we were, where land was, and not really being able to fully read and understand the navigation systems gave me butterflies. i always get so excited when k give me a task to do on the boat, doesn’t really matter what it is but it makes me feel like he trusts me a little more each time. i have steered the boat a couple times before- to relieve him so he could go down to the engine room and check the gages or assist with the anchor out front- but the other times, we were closer to land where i had a visual reference point- high rises to my left or right depending if we were headed north or south to keep me on the right direction.
comically, in hindsight, but a little unnerving in the moment, as he left me at the wheel with the directions to stay around 40 degrees while he went down below to check things out, i did a 180 with the boat not even seeing that it had happened before my eyes, on the map or on the compass. all i could grasp was that in a matter of two minutes i went from 40 degrees to 200 degrees and that the chart was telling me that we were headed for a restricted area. taking over with ease, as he always is on the boat, k came in, spun us back in the right direction, explained what i had done and said, “now you know.”
i learned a few things yesterday on the boat: how to read the magnetic and digital compass and the difference between the two and how they vary slightly. that you don’t anchor straight down and you leave a lot of slack in the chain (for every 1 foot of depth, you use 7 feet of chain and the chain is marked every foot). and in order to use the sails you need at least 60 degrees of wind from either direction perpendicular to the boat or else they aren’t really working and are more for show.
even though most of my contribution was to enjoy the ride while snapping some photos of our saturday venture and hang with our friends who joined us for the afternoon, i felt satisfaction- my own and the gratitude and happiness that was emanating from k as he hosed off old sea gypsy and mentally logged all of the experiences, observations and pending tasks to complete before we took her back out again.