I arrive in Rollins at 10 pm on a Friday night, and crash immediately. The morning stroll to the beach reveals a brilliant white blanket shrouding the peaks east of the lake, heralding the coming close of my beloved sailing season. Bittersweet. It's been an awesome summer, slow to get rolling, very cool and wet for the inland northwest. But that didn't stop me from splashing the 18 in early April, and doing some drysuit sailing close to home on those few days with some wind and no rain.
The F16 crested
Flight Risk gets wet in June when the water comes up to full pool, and that opens up the main lake for those early morning rides on the reliable 10 to 15 kt northerlies. Big boat for the big swells. An outboard motor for chasing wind. The month advances and summer finally arrives with the typical high pressure and clear skies. Out with the drysuits, in with the shorts and sunscreen!
My regular perusal of catamaran classifieds turns up an 18 square ridiculously cheap in
Brad had undertaken a major overhaul of the 22, repairing, fairing, and painting. A big job, that took a bit more time to complete than we'd both hoped. But when she's finally launched in July, her stellar performance and sexy good looks leave the other cats languishing forlornly. Still new to us, and brimming with new, trick upgrades, she delivers such glee that long, uncontrollable fits of giggling erupt regularly.
My usual summer visit to Minnesota, and it's week of sailing Adam's A cat on Lake Minnetonka, and a day or two with the Fleet 444 catsailors, gets transmuted into a glorious 9 days in Rollins with Kathy. Of which I snuck in 8 days of powered up sailing under gloriously sunny summer skies. With 4 cats scattered along the shoreline, if there's a breeze somewhere, it'll be exploited. It's my job! If I can't see pressure from the hill just above the cabin, I'll fire up the DRZ and climb a couple thousand feet to get a good view of the lake, north towards Lakeside, and south to
August finds me spending every weekend in Rollins, scanning for breeze, lining up my buddies to crew, and maximizing the hours spent afloat. Loyal crewmembers John, Mark and Phil all got stints at the helm of the 22, and all found the groove easily. We're all gaining sensitivity, and building teamwork, with crew now running the mainsheet while the skipper concentrates on driving a smooth line.
Tom and Bev come to visit one weekend to experience the big cats, and Brad proposes taking both Flight Risk and the 22 out to the main lake. Another sensational morning with breeze enough to power up both! What a gas to sail the two together, switching off crew, chasing wind as the day progresses. In the light stuff, the 22 can pop a hull up out of the water sooner than FR, giving it the advantage. But as the pressure builds, Flight Risk comes into her own and starts to give chase. Another fine day on Flathead!
As the season advances, Brad manages to generate the free time to go sailing regularly, and we start to spend a bunch of time on the 22. With each passing weekend we see progress in our ability to power up in light air, and drive harder as the wind strength increases. Our focus becomes ever more intense, and the return is repeated exclamations that" This is the best day of sailing ever".
Quick blast back to
, work a week, and head back to Rollins. Still a few good days to be sailed yet. Spokane delivers again, and Brad and I put in a few more hours. Between sessions I manage to pull the 16, and then Flight Risk the following weekend. Brad sez the 22 stays til it snows! Dayton Bay
I'm headed east again this Friday to close up the cabin, and hopefully squeeze in another day or two on the water. Then it's truly fall, and I'll spend my free time closer to home, hiking the peak behind my home, trying to get this ageing body ready for the white fluffy stuff. And iceboating! And kiteskiing! What a life!