“Sailing, Sailing….”

“…over the bounding main….”

Over the Bounding Main

Over the Bounding Main

Yesterday, friends took us sailing, something we’d never done before.

Group Bridge

Approaching the Forth Train Bridge

What a bunch of beautiful ladies and handsome guys, right?  Anyway, this is proof that we really did do this.

Interesting that despite there being two wheels, no one has a hand on either in this picture (those are rails we are holding).  Clearly, somebody did something right, because despite that, I’m here writing this post.

Two Wheels

We learned why the boat has two wheels.  In high winds, the boat tips way over, maybe beyond 45 degrees.  (I am reliably informed this will not capsize this kind of boat, which I believe, because it didn’t yesterday.)  When it tips to port, if you are on the port side, the sails are in your line of sight, so you move to the wheel on the starboard side.

How do I know this is true?

39 Knots

39 Knots

39 knots.  We knew we had wind gusts in the mid-30s, but a video caught a momentary reading of 39.0.  It was NOT supposed to be that windy, but it certainly made it interesting!

On the way home over the Forth Road Bridge, they had reduced the speed limit to 40 mph because of high winds.  And we’d been in that in a sail boat.


Colin (Edinburgh Boat Charters) talks about “sailing experience” in his literature, but I loved his brochure that says ” the venue is peaceful and inspirational.”  Inspirational certainly, exhilarating, but when the windows of the cabin are looking into the water instead of over it, I wouldn’t say “peaceful!”

I don’t think Colin can order up 39 knot winds on demand, so don’t call him expecting an experience quite like ours.  I don’t know if he would even take novices out if the forecast had been for gusts that high.  But I never felt unsafe or as if he didn’t have the whole thing under control (except when he let me take the wheel, but that’s another story).

It does give me a greater respect for the sea, and a little better appreciation for the references to sailing in the Scripture.  Coming back under the bridges, when the wind had really kicked up, and then into port, Colin brought the sails down and used the engine.  That wasn’t an option in Biblical times.  I just preached on Acts 27, which talks about them trying to bring the ship into some kind of harbour on Malta.  I have a little more understanding of just how hard it could be to direct a ship in conditions far worse than we had yesterday.

Steering a Straight Course

That first picture above shows our course.  It’s hard to see because I reduced the size to make WordPress happy, but there is a straight line between the red dots.  It shows our outward (eastward) course under the bridges (the southern dots), and then the return to the north.  The longest straight red line is on the outward journey, from east of the train bridge to south of Dalgety Bay.

I was on the wheel for that long straight stretch.  Which proves I was the best at holding a straight course, right?  I’ve got a picture to prove it, after all.

Pictures are always reliable.  Especially those you see on the Internet.

Oh, and no matter what others may say, never believe that jibe was accidental, either.  I was teaching people to watch their heads when the boom swings.  My son was being all too casual, and this was my chance to get his attention.  When kids are grown up, parents have to get creative. 🙂 Unannounced jibes may have their uses!

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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2 Responses to “Sailing, Sailing….”

  1. Chris Schuttger says:

    Hmm … but that LOOOONG straight line includes NO additional points to show how straight the line … might have been 🙂 Our host Colin was probably holding on for dear life as we careened around the Firth !! GPS only shows where you are at a point in time .. it has no knowledge of the path you take.

    But … all that said, It WAS a wonderful Experience of high wind sailing. I’d do it again in a heartbeat !!

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Chris…. ??? Who is Chris? Do I know you?

      Nobody listen to this guy. I’m warning you. Next he’ll try to say it was even harder when he had the wheel, and he still kept a straighter line. You notice how devious he is — he just undermines me but doesn’t come out with HIS story. That will come later. For now he’s just trying to sound all logical and reasonable. That’s how these guys always work. Just look at the picture. Believe the picture. Trust me. 🙂

      Thanks, Chris, for a great day.

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