With one hand on the tiller and the other on the mainsheet, I watched as a dark gust of wind moved quickly across the water. Timing the gust as it came I eased the sheet slightly to twist open the top of the main, then footed off to a close reach to build speed. Ripping through the relatively flat water I sheeted back in a touch to account for the forward movement of our new apparent wind and water sprayed like a rooster tail from the leeward hull. I hadn’t sailed a beach cat in this much breeze (20 plus knots) in years and the thrill of the ride had my crew and me hooting and hollering as each gust came, sending us tearing across the water with a powerboat-sized wake.
It’s sails like these—the ones on small boats—that create a heightened sense of how sails, sheets and rudders work in concert with the wind to make the boat move. Being close to the water also creates a different, exhilarating sensation, like sitting close to the road when driving a sports car. Maybe that’s why when our hulls finally hit the beach I couldn’t help but think that I need to do that more often.
Enjoy this week’s edition.