Eben and Annie bio photo

Eben and Annie

Flickr

Sailing in Cheeky

“Let’s go sailing in the dinghy” was the words that Annie uttered on a Saturday morning. The weather was wonderful and there was not a lot of wind. She was excited about the prospect of sailing in the dinghy. I was thinking to myself, this is huge, Annie is pushing me to go sailing. So we loaded the car up with Cheeky’s oars and small 2.5hp outboard.

Getting cheeky launched was quick and easy and we were on our way out to Taleisin in no time. You might be wondering why we’re going to Taleisin if we’re dinghy sailing!? The answer is simple, of course, Cheeky’s mast, rudder, drop board, tiller and sail is onboard Taleisin. Once we got to Taleisin we grabbed everything we needed to rig cheeky for sailing and went back to the dock to rig her up.

When we got back to the dock I spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to make this little boat sail. Granted I don’t know much about boats and sailing, it didn’t take much to figure out a way to get the pieces to fit so it can sail. I was quite surprised at the simplicity. Lin once said to me that a sailboat is an incredibly simple machine, and I guess you can be excused for thinking otherwise looking at modern yachts loaded to the gunwales with complexity.

So having the boat rigged up and ready to attempt to sail her I went back to the car to store the outboard motor. I returned to the dock and we cast off to go sailing. We had a slight problem, no wind. Don’t worry, Annie said look there are boats sailing out there, pointing to the harbor, lets just row out for a bit until we can catch a breeze. So Annie being the champ that she is, grabbed the oars and started to row us out! It didn’t take long before the sail filled and we started sailing.

We were moving slowly, but we were moving. It was very nice and relaxing, we went out into the channel of the harbor, tacked back and forth for about an hour and then we decided to head back for lunch. We slowly sailed through the mooring field and back to the dock. Annie asked if we should row back to the dock, but me being as stubborn as a mule wanted to sail back. Slowly but surely we made it back to the dock and gently docked Cheeky under sail. It was a small victory, but we did dock under sail. It certainly is nothing like it would be docking Taleisin, but it was an achievement none the less.

Photos weren’t high priority for us, here’s a couple of bad “selfies”.

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Safely back at the dock we started to disassemble cheeky and moved her back to the dinghy rack. Where’s the car keys, I asked Annie? We looked everywhere for the keys. We couldn’t find the car keys! I asked around to see if anybody would know where they might get handed in if anybody found them. I eventually get hold of the on site security guard. She was a lovely lady, very friendly, and helpful. After a bit of looking around and digging through everything the security guard asked if she could call us a tow truck to come and open the car, at this point I thought I may have locked them in the car when I put the outboard away.

With the tow truck underway and me cursing under my breath as to how stupid I am, I ran into the crew from Pinch of Salt. I enquired as to the whereabouts of their dinghy. Apparently they have located it on TradeMe (the New Zealand version of E-Bay) and was trying to figure out how to get it back.

The tow truck arrives, the driver takes 3 seconds to open the door. No keys in the car, bugger! We paid the driver the $80 fee for his services. What happened next was unexpected and a nice surprise. The driver offered to drive us home to get our spare key for the car. We quickly loaded everything into the car, locked it up and accepted the kind offer with a smile!

When we arrived home we had another challenge! The key to the house was attached to the key for the car. We’re in luck we have a locksmith around the corner from us, a very friendly guy and also a sailor (well this is Auckland, almost everybody is a sailor). I wondered over to see if he was home. Slight problem, he was out fishing for the day, but his lovely wife suggested that their 18 year old son bring the ladder around and climb through the window we left open. Success! We got inside, got the spare key and went back to the dock in our other car.

On our way back to the dock Annie suggested that we stop and get a cold drink and ice-cream for the security guard that was so helpful and friendly. It was nice to put a smile on her face and she really appreciated it as the sun was beating down.

So naturally after we got home, I posted a little about this experience on cruisers forum. One of the members pointed out that it might pay to sacrifice some coins upfront to the ocean as it would appear that I’m paying for safe passage one way or another.

We had a great time, and it was another adventure thanks to Taleisin.


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