Had about all the fun I could handle in Collingwood in the last week or so, and the weather was perfect today for a sail across Georgian Bay to the Midland area. Actually thought about putting in to Balm Beach area to invite a good friend to come sailing, something I'd promised to do this summer but doubted my friend would be available, so decided against it and went on to the Midland area instead. But at least I thought about it.
The Midland Town dock is where I kept my first sailboat years and years ago. It's a great spot and beside a big outdoor patio too - so great music and cold beer with friends on a sunny early fall Sunday. The only problem is that there are no other sailboats here - all power boats. Not that they're bad people, just that they have a different idea of what being on the water is about. The guys here used to abuse me terribly when I kept my boat here - so of course, I had to pick back on them. There were some hysterical practical jokes played, some by me, some on me. Ok, most of them on me, there were more of them!
How about the time someone duct taped a hose to my bow pulpit and aimed the water to fall on my companionway hatch so I'd get soaked leaving the boat? Too cute. I managed to get someone to turn the water off, fortunately.
Here's a story from Write on the Water, a blog I used to contribute regularly to - enjoy!
I'll never forget that first morning I woke up aboard my new boat at the Midland town dock. I had stayed out far too late the night before inspecting the quality of some of Mr. Molson's product with friends. Instead of the quiet chirping of birds, I heard the plaintive voice of an eight year old girl, at far too early an hour - “Daddy, you put the worm on the hook for me please.”
I had awakened to a children's fishing derby. There were 350 children crowded onto every slip in the marina, including the one right beside my berth. This was not the serene and stress free sailing life I had heard and dreamed about. Hangovers need quiet time to heal and this wasn't helping mine in the least.
At some time in your sailing life, you must spend a summer at a public dock rather than a marina. It is a most interesting and entertaining experience. It can also, if you are single, be a rewarding way to meet attractive women who would like to go sailing.
While I knew the basics of sailing, it had been a long time since I had sailed at all. Fortunately, sailing is like sex or riding a bike. You never really forget, although your technique may need work. Also, like sex, there is always something new to learn, which make both sex and sailing far more interesting than biking, at least in my opinion!
The first sail on Publisher's Choice was six miles, from Penetang Harbour to the Midland Town Dock, with the marina manager's son crewing for me. We set out in a 10 knot west wind, meaning that we would sail to a port beam reach, jibe to a run and then a starboard beam reach into the docks.
It was later in the day (a Tuesday, I took the day off) when we set out and, while off Midland Point, the sun shone on the water in a bronze swath ending at my transom. Into that glow, another boat sailed behind us, becoming a silhouette against the falling sun. It was so beautiful it could only be an omen of great sailing to come. I was totally entranced and more than ever convinced that I was doing the right thing. The only thing that could make it better would be to sell my first boat, as I would now be paying two slip fees. This is not a good thing for a boater on a budget I can assure you. Avoid it at all costs.