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WEATHER UNIVERSITY: A lesson learned at sea

The Paladin, a lovely Cal 9.2, bobs peacefully on the waters of Mahone Bay, N.S. following the "great fall of 2018." This photo was taken by the boat's owner, Stuart MacTavish.
The Paladin, a lovely Cal 9.2, bobs peacefully on the waters of Mahone Bay, N.S. following the

I am a farm girl. While I do love the water, I have to say, I am a landlubber.

Last weekend I was thrilled to be a guest onboard the Paladin, a lovely sailboat owned by Stuart MacTavish.

A few friends gathered just before noon on Saturday and off we went. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect … or so I thought! 

We had been sailing for more than an hour. I was the designated grinder; we were tacking, I was crossing the stern of the boat when the magnificent 30-footer shifted. That doesn’t sound terrible except that the boat shifted from under my feet and down I went, through the companionway, to the bottom of the boat — all the way to its sole – aptly named because my soul rattled when I landed on it!

So what happened? We were sailing upwind in 18 knots true into a short, sharp chop. There was no particular pattern to the waves, the wind having shifted 180 degrees from the previous day.

Every day I forecast the wind, talk about wind gusts, wind direction, but it appears the chop got me. Now, there’s something you don’t learn in school. Blessed experience; I suppose then, I was the right candidate for the lesson. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that at the time of the “great fall of 2018,” a very capable all-female crew was sailing the Paladin, under the watchful eye of captain MacTavish, of course. You’d think that one of the men could have caught me on my way down the “companionway” before I landed on the sole.

At the end of the day, I had enjoyed a few hours on the water, I soaked in some vitamin D, regaled in the stunning beauty of Mahone Bay, N.S., and made some new friends.

I returned home with a doozy of a bruise to my backside – and my ego. I also came away from my summer sail with more respect for Mother Nature’s whims and an even greater appreciation for the skilled men and women who take to the water – be it for work or pleasure.

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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