After owning my red hibiscus AI for a week, the rains finally stopped long enough for me to take my first ride.
I'm car-topping on a Thule rack on my Honda Accord. Getting everything loaded and unloaded is the hard part, right now, but once I figure out the best setup, that shouldn't be too time consuming.
I chose Sabine Lake in Pt. Arhur, Texas, for the maiden voyage.
Rigging was quick and easy. I pushed off into the marina area in a good steady wind. After pedalling out a bit, I unfurled the sail and the AI took off. It was great. I did some sailing in the marina to get a feel for the boat and then headed out through the breakwater into the lake. I had the whole lake to myself, not another sailboat or a powerboat to be seen. There was about a foot of chop and the wind was blowing 10-12 and I felt like I was flying! I was laughing, getting wet, wishing I had someone taking pictures and regretting I hadn't gotten an earlier start so I could stay out longer.
After about an hour on the lake, I headed back to the marina and cruised all the way back into it, sailing in and out of the rows of boats. Finally, another boat was heading out of the marina. As we passed in the channel, he yelled out to me, "That's a neat rig." I got within 20' of a 5-1/2' alligator that was swimming back in the area where my Pearson 23 is docked. (I could've gotten a little closer but that wasn't the kind of action I was interested in this day.)
I'd had a very good first ride and loved every minute of it so I headed back to my launching area to take the boat out, load it up and make for home. It was the most fun I've had sailing in quite awhile. It'll be even better when I get the loading and unloading down to a routine.
I hope to get out on the Neches River and on the east Texas lakes very soon. I'd also like to take the AI to Austin and sail the lakes around there where I first learned to sail 30+ years ago.
-- Bill --