There was word from Britain (the island), that they were having summer temperatures. Lovely late summer days were approaching and we were not gonna waste any of them.
Not overly prepared we decided before bed time to go sailing the next day, not too early, which sounded good to me, although tired I wanted to do a little reading before finally turning in.
The summer weather hadn’t hit us yet when we woke up to a wet shrouded in a white fog that slowly was rolling over the lake and away from the field. There was wind though. For a few days there was a strong… well, I say days but the strong south-westerly has been blowing pretty much through september, but anyway… it was blowing, from SW or so and the forecast said 8-14 m/s (about 16-28 knots), perfect for our boat for the day.
She is a lovely lady with slick and slender lines, looking like a terrific archipelago racer with a nice stern that comes up and overhang the waterline a bit, a low deck structure and a tall mast on top of the wooden hull.
We let that little engine drive us out from the harbour basin a bit before setting the jib, which then pulled us along fine. Up mainsail and we’re off, out into the bay where the waves gently lifted our bow. At first we couldn’t see the end of the peninsula over there, but that didn’t matter much, there is not much to worry about in the bay so we did good speed just a mile out and let our eyes scan the shoreline.
A long sandy beach that is now seasonally abandoned, left to itself after a summer of being used hard by everything from american car freaks, animals like dogs and horses, backslicked slimes with pink shirts that hold dad’s money in the breast pocket to fake nudist that only come to the beach to watch porn models have wild sex right there in the hot sun but is horribly disappointed when finding out there is a majority of over sized old men who is all wearing sun glasses and burning their deformed penises and watching each others demise. The sailing was great. We were flying and so were our thoughts. We sat in silence for a while, watching how the boat rode the waves under a new tack that gave us a much nicer angle. The stem danced over the waves in thoughtless monotony while T was sharing his thoughts about how he loved the waves hitting the boat from this direction. We all smooched and smirked, licking our lips and enjoying that salty air, thinking that it might be a while until next time.
As the sun came out we wore off a bit, surfing lazily down wind, lit a pipe and enjoyed the pace of the rolling sea.
The following few days there was sun. Hot sun but not that much wind, which of course made the late summer weather even warmer. We had got the sailing energy running now and although we had some things to tend for during the day we launched the little boat in the lake by late afternoon. The little wind that carried us out quick, laid down as time went by and before it got too dark we used the engine – the oars – to get back to shore. During this trip I heard about the good ship Raggamuffin, a small dinghy (optimistjolle), that now was laying as a pretty wreck in the lake right by our home. The next day even more summer then the one before, I took off my shoes and paddled away through the strait where on a windward shore I spotted Raggamuffin, upside down just a bit from where the water meets the forest. Turning her over I found the sail and some gear.
The rest was laying under a spruce a few feet away. There was the centerboard, which was rotten into a softness that made it break when I lifted it. The rudder was in better shape, but the sail was a bit torn.
The centerboard went down and the rudder came in place, and the ripped sail was now rigged with the spree as a top gallant mast and the sail as some sort of gypsy-Bermudan-hobo rig that flapped a bit as the wind catched the canvas that used to be blue but now was mostly moldy and filled with spots of dirt, moss and sticky spruce needles. Ah, lovely. Raggamuffin shot off out into the lake like some kind of freak pig that had been locked up for ages but now ran off into freedom’s vastness.
Wind was patchy and strange, damn near capsized me while fumbling with something and made fast the sheet, well that would have been a sight for the last farmer who was spending the lovely day on a scaffolding outside his barn.
I downrigged the muffin and towed her home, in the last rays of that evening sun I made a quick and ugly sail repair, totally in style with the rustic hobo feeling of hers. “You better clean her hull”, somebody said. Never I thought, what a rude suggestion.
Next day it was still summer and we had planned to take out the boat on the lake again. This is not Raggamuffin, and I think it’s better not to make any comparisons of the two, since they are playing completely different ball games. This one is a “Vättern snipa”, a lovely klink built boat with a lot of personality and tender characteristics. It’s such a pleasure to sail this lady, it feels like you’re in paradise, sailing on a dreamy ocean where the water tastes like wine and the wind doesn’t even consider to blow any strangeness your way. She is about 15 feet long and carries a jib and a spree mainsail. She feels light and just the slightest breeze will move her along as if we would have greased her up real good.
It’s a great way to relax, play, meditate, hang out… and so on. So much stimulation with a vessel like this, that it is impossible not to fall in love with it.