Labor Day Sail (Not Sale)

Sailing alone.  Unusually, there were few boats on the water.  Threat of rain probably kept them in the marinas.  There was no rain, but the feeling of hurricane season in the air.  It’s not very hot, and it is very humid.  So, cooler than I expect in late summer, but just as humid.  And the sky was cloudy – a medium-low cover moving fast.

Taken on another day, but the conditions are similar.

Not much boat traffic, but still a fair amount of boat chop-slop.  There is no visible reason for that much chop, especially with the wind at 8-10 knots from the south-west, sheltered as we are from that direction.  We plod along, pitching, spilling wind, the chop reducing what would be a comfortable sail at 4.5 knots, to a county fair ride at 3 knots.  Herring Bay is mixing bowl.  At the end of a long fetch, all the chop on a weekend or holiday piles into Herring Bay from every conceivable direction.

We finally move away from the land shadow, and the breeze fills in at 10 – 15.  Pressure on the sails overcomes the chop and we shoulder along with authority.  This is why we sail.  This is a great feeling. A momentary concern:  a trawler yacht aims at us.  I hold course until I’m sure of a decreasing-range constant-bearing.  Finally I pinch into the wind, speed decreasing but still moving well, obviously setting a course that will put me past Mr. Trawler, our port sides meeting on opposite bearings.  No question that I’m bearing to starboard.  He turns to port. . .  I hold course another minute, then obviously steer to port so our starboard sides will pass.  This is weekend-holiday boating.

After four miles, I tack and backtrack towards Rockhold Creek.  The chop is following now, and our progress is consistently quicker.  The wind moves forward as we close the shore, making our course a close reach, so I trim:  now we can fetch our harbor.

It’s 1615 and other boats are calling it a day.  Just like us, every boat in sight is making for a marina in Herring Bay.  Labor Day is over.

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