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Old 10-15-2012
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Re: Big Freakin' Sails

Hilarious write up Smacky Steve! I was nearly crying from laughing.
So you got scratched by your cat!?! Now you've got the fever!!!

All I can tell you is that you will NEVER have another launch like that. One trip to the humiliation zone is enough to make even the most dense of people figure out how to avoid going there in the first place.

Reminds me of a trip to the humiliation zone I experienced with a new to me 19' Lightning, not quite as fast as a beach cat but it is a planing hull.
First launch. Mid summer. It takes time to step the mast and ensure that everything is rigged nearly correctly on an unfamiliar boat.
We finally get under sail in Lloyd Harbor (near Huntington) just as the sky to the west is darkening. Crap, a thunderstorm. I had my wife, sister and nephew with me and the general consensus was to head back to the launch ramp as rain, lightning and thunder came on quickly.
We beached the Lightning and I had the presence of mind to lower the main sail. For some inexplicable reason I left the jib raised as we all headed for my car in a vain attempt to stay dry. As with most thunderstorms there came a front of wind that I noticed was moving the tree branches around outside my windshield. About this time I began to worry what the winds from the storm might do with the jib still deployed on the Lightning. I ran down to the beach only to see my new Lightning about 20 yards from shore sailing off on it's own. By now there were lightning strikes all around me that discouraged me from swimming after the boat so I went back to my car in humiliation.

Fifteen minutes later the front had passed and we could see my new Lightning (#11416) capsized about 200 yards away with it's mast stuck in the harbor mud. We swam out to the boat and tried to right it by standing on the center board but no joy. The mast was well stuck in the mud and it was just high tide.

Plan B called for waiting for the tide to go out and we brought pitch forks, shovels and other gardening implements down to the scene of humiliation. I had to dig about the top 6' of the mast out of the harbor intertidal zone. The tip of the mast must have been 3' deep in the muck. On the bright side we ended up with a few dozen hard and soft shelled clams that turned out to be delicious.

When the boat capsized the upturned hull faced the wind and general direction of the waves which pounded the hull and pushed the mast deeper and deeper into the mud. It is surprising how quickly a situation can go from the exhilaration zone to the humiliation zone.
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