Matthew rolled the trailer with the 3.8 metre Pacer across the sand and into the water. My job was to pull the trailer back up the beach a little. It was surprisingly light. Then I took a few steps into the water before climbing into the boat.
He’d shown me how to put the Pacer together. Remove the coverings. Unwrap the main sail. Secure the mast. Thread the main sail into the mast. Secure the wire stays.
‘Can you please pull the centre board back?’ asked Matt pointing to a plastic handle in the middle of the boat. As I did this, the Pacer floated freely away from the shore and the wind caught in the single sail.
I sat at the bow (front) and Matthew at the stern (back). I watched, listened and asked lots of questions.
The tiller that was attached to the rudder, and steered us on a ninety degree angle to the wind. While he maneuvered a rope on a pulley system that controlled the boom and how much leeway he gave to the sail. One minute we were gliding up the waves and crashing down the other side, the next we were almost stationary. Sprays of salty sea water splashed my face and wetsuit… I loved it!
When we weren’t conversing, I thought about the wind and the water. Together they were a powerhouse of unpredictable energy. It was imperative one worked in harmony with these elements.
I went with the Pacer’s uneven rhythm, my body tuning into to the trust and flexibility required to go with the flow. When we were I don’t know how far out, Matthew said, ‘When I say “tacking” duck your head under the boom and move to the other side.’
Moments later… ‘Tacking!’
As the Pacer navigated a 180 degree turn I ducked under the boom and slid across the seat. Matthew added, ‘You always tack on the up of a wave crest.’
‘Today is an onshore breeze,’ he said.
‘The wind is blowing toward the shore…’ Of course, I thought to myself.
‘…we won’t get blown out to sea,’ he said laughing. That was good to know.
As far out as we were, I noticed I could still vaguely see the ocean floor.
Matthew had intended for me to have a go at the tiller and tacking, but the winds grew more unpredictable. We were flying toward the shore. Then we were stationary, and Matt was standing to keep us balanced. At one point the wind caught Matt by surprise and I felt us almost tip. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘I’ve got it. You’ll know I’ve lost it if I swear!’
So I settled with ‘being’ instead of doing, and was reminded again of enjoying what is. Having no destination, we sailed toward the shore and out again on repeat, several times over.
With each leg of the adventure I grew more comfortable with my connection to the wind and the water. Even the stories he told of when things hadn’t gone well didn’t deter me. All that was missing were the dolphins.
Have you experienced sailing? Or would you like to? Do you love the water and the wind?
I hope you’ll join me in part 4 where I’ll share my personal experience of captaining the Pacer.
Write to Heal and make your mark!
Leanda Michelle ♥