Archive for October 4th, 2008

Sailing For Charity

On Friday we participate in the BC Government Employee’s Charitable Fund “SailAway” fundraiser. Even though Cass and I are not government employees we have enjoyed donating our boat and our services as skippers to this event for the last four years. Our friend Gord is the sponsor, which is how we originally became involved. Since the first one was so much fun we have volunteered each year.

The boat engine problems we have been having over the last week have been quite a stress. The way the fundraiser works is that people bid for places to sail on donated sailing yachts. We have typically taken 8 so it would be terrible to disappoint the 8 people who had bid and won a place on Darwin’s Folly. I was quite frantic on Tuesday when the mechanic was unable to start our engine. He had assured me that he had got it running adequately by Thursday. However, I approach Friday morning dreading the possibility that I will be unable to start our tired old diesel.

We drive down to Oak Bay Marina first stopping for coffee and scones at, you guessed it, Pure Vanilla. We arrive at the boat’s slip at 07:45. The bay is densely fogged in with a feeling that the murk is here to stay for a while. I open the through-hull, switch on the batteries, run the glow plugs for a minute and cross my fingers and toes. I crank the ignition and the old beast thunders to life. Yay! Minutes later we are feeling our way to the yacht club in Cadboro bay by GPS chartplotter and depth sounder.

We embark our 6 passengers (2 had not been able to go at the last minute) and head out into the fog. Once the sails are up and the engine shut off our world contracts to a muffled grey cell about 100 feet in diameter. The Pacific Swift, one of the SALTS boats, is anchored in Cadboro Bay and we carefully avoid them as they get their anchor up and feel their way out of the bay. The wind is calm and we bob around in the murk.

At about 10:00 the fog lifts relatively suddenly and shortly after a little wind comes up. And then some more. By 11:00 we are reaching along in 12 knots of wind doing 7 knots over the ground. We end up giving our passengers some sailing value for their donations. It’s then back to the club for lunch. The rain settles in for the duration. Autumn is definitely here.

After the event we go back home and hang out. It has been very satisfying to get out and sail for the first time in many months. Cassie makes the comment that I seem more like the “old Tom”. Long may that last.

“My goal in sailing isn’t to be brilliant or flashy in individual races, just to be consistent over the long run.”
“Sailing is just the bottom line, like adding up the score in bridge. My real interest is in the tremendous game of life.”
Dennis Connor

“Sailing round the world in a dirty gondola oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!” Bob Dylan


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