|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
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
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
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
"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!
Read more about Shorty's
'Flats Rat' Mouse variation:
And Gavin's original Mouse:
also check out the discussion at the
Yahoo Mouse group: