I had a fright this afternoon on Lake Harriet. I am chronicling it hear so that I will never make this mistake again.
Xiaowen and I took out a Catalina Capri 16.5′ on Lake Harriet. It was a very brisk day for small boats, winds gusting up over 15, steady at 10-13. Our club boats are moored to buoys in a buoy field, and typically you row them with a tender (rowboat) to the dock to rig them up and take’em out. Towing her through the field was mighty tricky as the waves were extremely choppy.
But we got the boat to the dock, rigged her up, and shoved off the dock on a port tack. Or so we thought. Then we started going backwards, drifting towards the boats in the buoy field and the shore. I had no idea why the boat wasn’t responding. At first I thought maybe I just was stuck in irons, the bow pointing into the wind. But it was obvious that this was not the case as no matter how I adjusted the sail trim, I couldn’t get any forward momentum. Steering seemed really unresponsive.