Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crisis at hand!

So Roger and the Common Man Tour are sailing north on Lake Champlain on Saturday the 14th of July. A stiff south breeze is driving the tour forward. Then the winds pick up, and the tour goes faster. Whitecaps fill the lake, but the trailing sea is no problem, even for a 15 ft. sailing canoe. I wouldn't venture out on such seas, but as long as I was already there.....
Then in the late afternoon, the wind suddenly shifted and was coming in strong from due west. With no keel, the stiff winds began pushing the Common Man canoe toward the Vermont shoreline. Lake Champlain is the dividing line between New York and Vermont. Maximum efforts to trim the makeshift sail and stop the push to Vermont were not working. Steering with the paddle AND sail were not working. Taking quickly to the oars, Roger turned the boat toward the New York shore, but by doing so was taking the seas broadside. Not good!
Okay, there's a reason the canoe carries a small motor, and it's time to crank it up to get out of this spot, before we slam into the Vermont coastline just before 5 Mile Point. Hustling to the back of the canoe, Roger puts down the always dependable motor and cranks it; and cranks it; and cranks it. It will not start!
Back to the oars! Against a strong west wind and broadside waves, Roger barely clears 5 Mile Point, but is still heading for the Vermont Coastline beyond. The west winds shifts slightly and Roger barely regains control with paddle and sail. But now, he is way behind schedule to meet June Curtis, his support person, at Monitor Point in Crown Point, New York. And, he's on the wrong side of the lake.
Enter the pontoon boat of Clark and Kelley Leonard out of Shoreham, Vermont. Out with the family for a short cruise, they sense the Common Man may be in trouble and swing by to get the full story of this guy in a sailing canoe in a tri-cornered hat, on water much too big. They advise of an impending storm coming in, and that makes it time to call it quits for the day! With their help making a "soft" landing at their dock in Vermont, the motor was deemed unrepairable at that location and the support team, June Curtis, was summoned to Shoreham, Vermont to pick up Roger and the previously endangered craft. Thanks June!
While "canoe-wrecked" at the Leonard residence, Roger was forced to imbibe in snacks and beer, and a healthy dose of Vermont hospitality, all compliments of his hosts. Thanks to the Leonards, all!
They have really good micro-brewed beer in Vermont I found out, but I think I'll just take the bridge over to there the next time.
We're alive and well and having fun, despite the occasional unexpected turn of events.
Best wishes,


At July 17, 2007 at 11:17 AM , Blogger Chris said...

Dang, I forget to read for one day and you almost get yourself killed and almost sink your boat! :)


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