Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Wind Pinching.

Sailing Uphill.

I've been accused of being a 'Wind pincher.'

Wind pinching is a sailing term for sailing a yacht close to a breeze, so close that it leaves nothing over. One degree more into the wind and the boat stalls.

Craig got me into sailing many years ago. I took to it right away. The first thing he noticed was my ability to read the wind and find the highest windward angle that'd fill well-sheeted sails without losing speed.

I remember that day. We took his Hartley 16 out onto Moreton Bay and headed out to Peel Island on a single tack.

That 'tack' was my idea. 

Easterlies blow most of the time in Moreton Bay. Peel Island is east of the mainland and this means most of the sailing work to get there calls for a windward-set rig. This journey would always be into the wind.

Craig told me that it'd take a couple of tacks to us get there but I thought it could be done in one.

He laughed, gave me the tiller, trimmed the sails for a close-hauled course and then assumed a reclined position on the windward side of the boat. He put his hat over his face - a pose he fell into almost every time we sailed - leaving me to wake him when it was over! 

So I watched the boat, the sails, their shapes and listened to the whoosh-whoosh sounds of the water running off the boat's stern. It was a crash-course in sailing... and then the face under the hat called out, 'I know you're pinching. Fall away a bit, we'll get another knot and a half out of her.'

'But we'll have to change direction and do another tack.'

'That's okay, we've got all day.'

'Dropping a knot for a more direct course would take about the same time get us there, right?'

Shoulders shrugged and the nearby hat stayed in place. 'Okay. You're in charge skipper. Wake me when we reach Peel.'

If it were for points in a race then I suppose a closer look at my statement would've counted. What did I know? I was sailing a boat for the first time. The only rule I working from was the two-points and a straight line rule!

My next novel includes some of the other sailing adventures I experienced after this one... and a malevolent creature who climbs onboard for the journey.

I can't wait to show you how it turned out!