The day dawned clear, breezy, and cool, and we were getting our gear gathered. The Mrs told me her ankle was not feeling 100% and the more we discuss her symptoms we decided not to risk an injury. We postponed our long walk for a day and I focused on pulling all the Hilu equipment out of winter storage and began prepping it for launch….
A year ago in the spring I had ordered a few replacement parts for the Hilu but never installed them due to retinopathy issues, but the time was now. I replaced the halyard and the mainsheet and added a halyard camlock. I reinstalled the trampoline which I am pleased to say to made/sewed myself last spring because the original one was rotted and torn. In no time at all she was rigged and begging to get out on the water. A steady 10 – 12 mph wind was blowing out of the north.
With the wind blowing out of the north, this was a very easy launch and I was immediately cruising along at a good clip across the water. I did a quick calculation of my course using MapMyRun and it calculated I went just under 3 miles. My little loop is posted below…
I was going to do the loop a second time but the lake was starting to get busy, mostly with power boats pulling tubers and skiers. The majority of these do not give right-of-way to sail craft so I decided to call it a day and go out again when the lake was quieter. It was certainly nice to get out on the water under sail again!!!
So then, late afternoon, The Mrs said she was going to take her pontoon out for bit and invited me to join her. I agreed since it was still such a perfect day and being on the water sounded nicer than doing chores. We puttered around for quite a while with no particular plan or destination and then headed back to the dock. As we were approaching the nearby cove, a man in a fishing boat zoomed by then slowed and threw a line in water and starting trolling near our dock. The Mrs stopped while the fisherman blocked our dock. After he cleared the dock we moved forward slowly, but the north wind and the wavy water put us a bit of course and we hit the dock, and the motor stalled. When The Mrs tried to restart the motor, the starter made a horrible grinding noise and wouldn’t turn the motor over. And so we drifted away from the dock, blown south towards the cove. I pulled the paddles out from under the seat and started trying to paddle back to the dock, but the wind was more intent on sending us into the cove. The fisherman asked if he could help, so I threw him a bowline. He tried to turn us around and pull us, but he only had a 25 hp motor, and the pontoon was probably 2 or 3 times heavier… I told him we would drift to the end of the cove and tie up to our neighbor’s dock. I got the brilliant idea as we drifted near the shoreline to do a modified “African Queen” and jumped off the boat with bowline in hand and started pulling the boat back towards home. The Mrs used the paddle to keep the pontoons off the rip-rap as I tugged. As we got to the next door neighbor’s dock, I walked out onto his dock, then “balance-beamed” across his boat lift, leapt onto his wave-runner dock, and as the pontoon was passing by me, I jumped back on board. All that was left was for The Mrs and me to paddle furiously back to our dock. Mission Accomplished!