Zig-Zag Teaches a Total Novice to Sail
by April (Errol Flynn's Squeeze)

Read more about Shorty's 'Flats Rat' Mouse variation:
http://www.shortypen.com/boats/mouse/
And Gavin's original Mouse:
http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/designs/atkin/mouse/index.htm
also check out the discussion at the Yahoo Mouse group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mouseboats/

Hey Everyone! This is Errol's Squeeze...a convert to sailing as of 3 days ago. As you all know Errol built his revised flat rat and I took it out paddling a few times...boy, I thought that was fun. Then 3 days ago I got this call at work to come home right away...thought something was wrong...no, nothing was wrong except I should have been out on the water earlier. I came home and he was sitting on the step with picnic lunch in hand and boat loaded...telling me to get my butt in gear because I (yeah, right I thought) was going sailing.

So out we went, he set it up, we each had our frs radios so he could teach me from shore. He kicked me out into the bay and I paddled a little bit and then when it was deep enough dropped the ruder and the leeboard. There wasn't alot of wind..weather reports said 5-10mph but we got there so late the wind dropped to almost nothing. I still managed with the encouragement of my hubby to go across the bay and back a few times...before I knew it, it was almost sunset. It was a nice gentle beginning for a first-timer.


"It was a nice gentle beginning for a first-timer."

On Day 2...yesterday, we both went out on the water, he in his D4 and I in ZigZag...winds were a solid 15mph and the waters were rough, especially out in the channel where all the boats and jet ski's were. That was an experience...4 hours on the water chasing swans...I really felt the boat get up and go...even through the wakes of the boats, never once did I worry it would capsize...I got a real taste for what that little boat could do. I experienced my first jibe out there, it at first startled me but then I realized the boat just kept right on sailing and I pulled it in and got back on my heading...not wanting to look un cool either. We eventually headed in...starving and had our picnic...all the while hubby's telling me how proud he was of me..and jealous at the same time.


"I got a real taste for what that little boat could do."

Day 3...After yesterday, being all sunburnt and sore all over and tired....the wind was up as my husband informs me as I'm brushing my teeth after just waking up. All of a sudden there's a cup of coffee sitting there and he's telling me to get it in gear...'cause if I don't he's going sailing without me. As tired as I was...I tried talking him to going to the little pond in the mobile home park we live in (see pics of me paddling below). He just looks at me with a puzzled grin because the scanner said 15mph wind and it sounded more like 20mph gusts from the trees in our backyard. I couldn't figure out why he kept grinning at me until it dawned on me how windy it was on the ride down to the bay. We were really going to put this thing through the wringer and see what a flat rat will really do.


"I tried talking him to going to the little pond in the mobile home park."

We got there, unloaded the boat, there was some older dude fishing...who took notice right away...I jumped in and sailed off the launch got to the other side of the bay and realized the leeboard was popping up again so I radioed the hubby...so he told me to bring it and he'd tighten the bolts (this time he brought the wrenches...he's learning). So I sailed right up the launch.. (had lots of wind and momentum)...he tightened the bolts...turned me around and I sailed back out again.

By this time the wind was picking up and gusting...sometimes changing direction on me. I kept it fairly closehauled but let it out and went flying downwind....the boat screamed...then I tacked back up into the bay in the wind and went downwind again...nice long run. I did this for an hour and a half and then figured I'd better give hubby a turn..as time was starting to get short (had to get home for the kid drop-off).

I decided to take one more trip back across the bay as fast as I could go..I was just about to the far side of the bay and about ready to get my tack and line up on the hubby at the boat launch...when I sheared the mast!! A more resounding crack of wood you've never heard on any ballpark on the planet. What a rush!


"A more resounding crack of wood you've never heard...."

At that point I looked at where the mast was...most of it was in the boat and missed me..whew..and there wasn't alot of sail in the water. So I radioed the hubby..."Houston we got a problem here...any suggestions?" His first question was "Are you alright" I replied, "Yes, what do I do now?" He told me not to worry about the rig, if any of it was attached to take my knife and cut it loose. So, I did...by now he figured the sail was a goner but I recovered it and put it inside the boat. I then pulled up the leeboard and the rudder and got out the paddle and tried to fight the wind back across the bay to where I launched on the east side. Hubby saw what I was trying to do and the radio said "See that big clump of trees on the west side at the point...there's a boat launch, head for there, it's downwind all the way." So he jumped in the Jeep and drove all the way around and down to the boat launch. I couldn't see it and had to trust what he was talking about...about the time I was getting a bit close I could see him and headed straight for the launch...with a huge grin on my face and the carnage of the sail dripping in my boat.

He was grinning ear to ear too...and told me how jealous he was...because I broke that mast in an 25mph wind easy and I kept my cool and was prepared to handle the situation, I had my pocket knife, my pfd on, and the paddle was lashed inside the boat right where I needed it, when I needed it.


"More adventures to come people...Errol's got me hooked!"

For me this was a total adventure...the only time I've ever been this geeked is when I went parasailing...and this beats it all to heck...I love the feel of the wind, the speed and the power (harnessed by me....imagine that) and the sound of the water rushing beneath the hull.

Now the hubby wants to build a Summer Breeze so we can cuddle up together...hmmmm just thinking about how big that sail is and how fast it will go spurs my imagination. I highly recommend this revised flats rat for the first-timer because if I, a total novice could do so well and recover from a broken mast without a problem anyone can.

More adventures to come people...Errol's got me hooked!

Errol's Squeeze

Read more about Shorty's 'Flats Rat' Mouse variation:
http://www.shortypen.com/boats/mouse/
And Gavin's original Mouse:
http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/designs/atkin/mouse/index.htm

also check out the discussion at the Yahoo Mouse group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mouseboats/