Selected Excerpts from Chapter 13 - Maiden Voyage

The incoming waves tossed the boat into a wild dance and I had to continually fend off to keep from smashing against the pilings. The longer I worked, the more it was obvious that I needed to get away from that wall. I thought that the mainsail was ready, but something didn’t quite look right. Since my only reference point was vaguely-remembered illustrations in an old owner’s manual, I really couldn’t put my finger on it. I decided to make a run for it. A few hard pulls on the mainsheet and I was free and heading into the bay at a furious pace. The wind was well over 15 knots and the tiny boat hurtled along like debris.


Despite the boat seeming to fall apart around me, the run was glorious and I was suddenly gripped with being at the tiller of my own boat. My revelry was dampened as I saw the seawall of the hotel approaching at an unnerving pace. Right before the hotel was a small, shallow mudflat that looked somewhat sheltered and I decided to duck in, run aground if necessary and gain control of the mainsail. Broaching didn't seem so traumatizing in two feet of water.


My maiden voyage was a harsh lesson in the difference between knowing something by study and knowing something by practice. I knew the boat from the illustrations in an ancient owner’s manual, but it wasn’t until I was actually rigging the boat, sailing the boat, and trying to dock the boat that I discovered how little use that knowledge was; without practice.

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