Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sailing a Small Lake in Mid Minnesota

August has arrived, and we have finally had a string of ninety plus degree days.

Although cooler than some, I think this has been a magically perfect summer; whether-wise, here in our fantastic state of Minnesota.

The sailboat "Liberty" has been plying the waters of Forest Lake in Washington County.

(For those not from here, that is a county about forty five miles north of the twin cities bordering the Saint Croix river and Wisconsin on the east.)

We did have one foray to Lake Independence west of the cities when I did the horse show in Loretto.

She is a single masted fourteen foot fiberglass sailboat that can be launched from almost anything with a ball hitch.

With bench seating port and starboard and a fore-deck to hangout or swim from makes it perfect for the many small to medium glacial remnant lakes sprinkled across Minnesota like silver coins.

She seats four, perfect for two.

Forest Lake is nice and close.

Just about three hours before sunset or after sunrise is the time to catch the lake breeze.

I am usually one of the few boats and only sailboat on the lake in the morning, and the evening time is a great time to socialize.

I like to leave work, drive home, shower, pack some water and munchies, load and go. I can be launching in fifteen minutes if there is no wait at the launch by the lakeside park.

Once on the lake it is now all about observation. Your vantage and viewpoint changes.

You now see the shoreline surrounding you rather than seeing a pan of water from shore.

The wind often travels in unseen puffs but their sign is there if you look. They hit the surface of the lake and are forced to flatten out. As they are forced to change direction on the face in contact with the water, the wind gives a slap to the surface and the energy transfer makes little waves.

These roughly round, traveling areas of rippled water are often called a catspaw. They commonly form that shape, with the round "toes" typically on the leading edge.

Catspaws on the water can be very usefull to the sailor who knows how to ride the edges, especially if he is in a hurry to return to port to take advantage of the libations available at the "Laker" bar and grill just two hundred paces from the dock on the east side of Forest Lake.

Pull in, tie off, walk in. Food, friends, sun and drinks.

August is here, I have three horse shows to work over the next four week.
(One will cover the first week at the Minnesota State Fair. Hope to see you there!)

I treasure these times on the lake.

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