Sassy Surprise Sail, Sunset and Swim

Hi! This is Sassy. Surprise, surprise… Yesterday, a little after 5:00PM my skipper showed on my deck. He checked the fuel, lowered the rudder and the outboard and even removed the sail cover, and as he started the engine, I heard a huge roar. “Is that me…? – I jolted — is that the sound of my 4 HP Tohatsu…?”. Well, it wasn’t: at exactly the same time, my neighbour, a Regal 1900, had also started her inboard V6 250 HP Volvo Penta… The Regal left right way, but I did not, as after a few minutes of moderating at low throttle, the Tohatsu was cut off and then nothing… The purple-martins were still diving to catch bugs from the surface of the water aft my stern.

Then, around 6:00PM I heard voices around me. A uniquely junk-rigged Paceship PY-23 was also about to undock. Her skipper invited mine to raft in Crystal Bay, and go for a swim.  As soon as they left, I heard my 4HP coming to life again, the four lines tying my port side to the dock were undone and, with my skipper at the tiller, I glided aft and then forward all along the side of the marina. As I turned North around the first red marker, there it was, the open lake, gloriously blue under the sky. The wind was from the South, steady at 5-10 Kts — a lull in comparison to recent days. As I reached the end of the auxiliary channel, ST-eve (the ST-1000 autopilot, my mechanical first-mate) came into action for me to face upwind and hoist sail. Then I bore away to a broad reach, exactly as I had done a week before with a crew of newlyweds… (was it a drop of spray or a tear of happiness that dropped from my bow as I remembered my last outing…?).  I then sailed NW towards the Sun reaching the K4 red marker.

To the South, I spotted a mile away the Paceship sailing parallel to the Ontario shore. So, I turned into the wind close-hauled, first heading SW, then tacked SE. And as I got closer, ST-eve took again hold of my tiller and heard the outboard restart. I headed into the wind and felt my sail come down. The PY-23 had anchored in deep waters facing the shore not far from the E racing marker. Fenders down, I approached her glowing (just painted) green starboard side (her hull used to be red…). My lines were then handed overboard and there we were, bobbing together as the Sun slowly kept coming down. The Paceship skipper and first-mate went overboard for a swim, but my skipper did not (I think he is afraid that his legs will no longer power him up my stern ladder…, I will have to prove him wrong on a future outing). The Sun peeked through the clouds that lined the horizon, flashed at us one last time, and soon disappeared.

With the Sun gone, it was time to break the raft. With one hand on the tiller and another on the GPS my skipper made me cut through the shallows and I re-enter the KN channel rounding the KN6 red marker. Soon after (it should have happened earlier), my running lights came on (and also the masthead light, since technically, I was a “motor-boat” underway). Before entering port, I heard my skipper on the phone calling the PY-23. With the remnant of the sunset behind, she was far behind my wake, slowly coming to port on sail, saving her electric motor for the final steps of her re-entrance and docking approach.

She was ok and did not require me to stay around. So, all lighted up, I slowly returned to my dock, to which I was soon fastened with my usual breast and spring lines. It takes a long time for my skipper to snug me down… Is it my imagination or is it taking him considerably longer than it used to a few years ago…? He was still fitting back the cover of my sail when Kirill, the PY-3 skipper, and Natalya, the PY-23 first-mate, showed back at the dock on my side. They had come to the marina riding their bicycles and had to leave right away, before it got too dark. I overheard their thanks being exchanged deck to dock and dock to deck for a very enjoyable daysail, sunset and swim, which made me feel the luckiest and happiest SunCat 17 in the entire marina (where I also happen to be the only one…).

Soon after (at 10PM), I heard the diesel of the old Jeep leaving the parking lot… The purple-martins were already sleep in their colony houses, and not a creature was stirring, not even a…”, until something rubbed my side below water level… a river otter? a turtle? a big carp…? Perhaps… the Nayad of the Kitchissippi…? Nah! she couldn’t…, could she?