I car topped my AI up to my In-Laws' lake front property on Lake Champlain on Wed for a long AI/Holiday weekend. This is a pretty large lake and the winds are usually quite good and consistant - I sailed on it twice last year several times on both trips and it can be a gentle lake or a monster in heavy winds with wind driven waves several feet and rather close spaced.
Anyway ... had a nice sail in heavy winds on thurs, Fri was dead calm so Wife in her Outback and I in Adventure only mode did about 5 miles of the shore line, and Sat dawned with projected winds from the south all day in the 6-8 mph range.
At about 10:30a I put in all geared for a long day on the water and the immediate tack had me on a dead straight course across the lake to Burlington VT, which measures just at 10 miles as the Canadian goose flies. I'd often pondered doing this crossing ...
All through the first 2 hours I was in pure heaven - Rigged well and sailing true, there were several 5-10 minute jaunts where I was hands off in perfect trim ... arms back with hands dragging lightly in the water and a huge grin from ear to ear. The ~8mph winds were enough to take me at a good clip yet not enough to cause wind waves. It wasn't flat, but it was pure joy ...
... and then about 2 miles out of Burlington the wind died. My wife was off with her Mom, and once I committed to the crossing I was able to call her and tell her my intentions (god bless cell phones and good coverage !!) and my plan was to make Burlington, grab a quick Ice Cream and head back.
What is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and sailing men ?
While Im not in terrific shape, I am fit for a 49 yr old so I set to the task of pedaling at a nice even maintainable pace. Pedaling a fully rigged AI is NOT the same as pedaling it in Adventure mode alone (I soon found out) ... I made Burlington just before the clock struck 3p, found an amicable place to tie up where I felt safe leaving my rig (I did tuck in the Ama/Aka's and lashed the sail across the top) and indeed had a super-large Vermont Maple Raspberry cone as a reward for my hard work.
At a quarter to 4p I walked to the end of the pier and judged the wind, which had picked up again, but could I trust it for a 10 mile crossing ? This late in the day ?!?!? Do I have a choice ?!?!?!? Does the wind die down here approaching dusk as it does back home ?
I watched the sailboats out in the harbor thinking long and hard what the worst could be - me half way out in a BIG body of water with no wind, dark approaching, and only my trusty penguin flippers to take me home ? ... I wimped out and made the call.
Luckily, there is a ferry that runs right from my InLaw's sleepy NY town of Port Kent (its so small there isn't even a store and rumor is the post office is closing soon!) directly to Burlington and told (asked nicely ?) my wife to jump in the truck and grab the next ferry over, which so happened was the last of the day.
She wasn't too happy when she arrived as there was no Port Kent ferry back so we had to drive north 30 min, wait and then catch that ferry, and drive 40 min south ... dinner plans out at a nice restuarant on our last nite there with her parents went out the window, so you can imagine the cold front brewing inside the truck on the long ride home.
I know I made the right call playing it safe but the winds were still blowing a steady 6-8 mph well into the evening and I will forever wonder if I would have made it back before dark. I did have a couple of dive lites I could have strung to bow and stern and had a cooler full of drinks and snacks, but I think I made the wise call.
20/20 hindsite is - never leave for an extended trip without your kayak cart. With it, I could have struggled my way dragging the rig onto the ferry myself but my problem is that I use a WheelEze cart with big inflatable tires and straps since one of my cart/scuppers is filled due to a previous owner mishap. Its a bit big and cumbersome to drag along ... Or so I thought
I now will be purchasing a C-Tug to store in the front hold for such events
So - should I have gone for it ? Have you ever been stranded far from home ?
Ohh - whilst this DID indeed happen, there is no picture proof as even though I had my camera, when I powered it on it said "You forgot to insert the Memory card, you Dummy !!!"