On May 12, my wife and I noticed, in a heavily clouded sky, a large, very black area to the north/northeast. We couldn’t see the cloud itself, only its effect.
The wind was a light south/southwest. By rotating to our right 30 degrees and watching the left-to-right cloud movement overhead, we knew conditions were deteriorating. (We were on land, but had we been at sea our rotation would’ve been 15 degrees to the right.)
One thing that sure scares me is lightning.
From the time we’re kids we’re warned about sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm, since trees are tall and can attract lightning. On the water — whether you’re in a power- or sailboat — you are the tallest thing out there.
Near misses, I’ve had a few. Most of what I write about in this column comes from personal experience.
Marlinspike seamanship keeps coming up because it’s so important.
It separates the men (and women) from the boys (and girls). It’s important to know about rope and its construction, even if you don’t make your own splices. Every boat uses rope — or line, when it has a purpose on board.
As Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in his “Canterbury Tales”: “Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote” — oh heck, spring is just about here, and since you have a boat you might as well enjoy it, despite the economy. Fuel prices have come down from last season, and the wind is free. Still, the emphasis here is on saving some money.
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