my 1st sail in the super porpoise

after buying my 1st fish ($50, remember!), and suckering my dad into bringing it back home for me in the back of his pickup (in fact, if my memory serves me correctly – I think I even had to borrow the $50 cash at the time to buy the boat, as Arcadia doesn’t have many ATM’s), I transported it to our home (at that time) in Brookville, Indiana (Google map).  the inherent difficulty, though, is that my $50 purchase only bought me the boat… that is, no trailer…. and while the super porpoise is not necessarily too heavy for one person to manhandle, it is rather unwieldy.  especially when trying to car-top the boat on our chevy tahoe – lifting it up on top was a pain.

living a half-mile from a 5,000+ acre lake/reservoir was then both a blessing and a curse – it was a great place to live, explore, and potentially sail, but the curse was not being able to sail on it as much as I would’ve liked… having a trailer would’ve helped out a ton there…  living in the sticks and not knowing many people around has it advantages and disadvantages, I guess.

on to the maiden voyage

summer of 2003: for the 1st attempt at sailing, one of my wife’s high-school friends had brought her family down to visit for the weekend.  her husband, Sonny, and I decided we would test out the new sailboat – the ladies dropped us and the sailboat off at the boat launch, and then drove off with the kids to spend the afternoon at the public beach, where we would sail to meet them.  or so we thought.

a maiden voyage could not have gone any worse.  I was so misled – as we first set off from the boat launch in the northern part of the lake, there was a mild breeze, and we started slowly sailing away (as the girls drove away).  right then, the wind stopped.  completely.  for the next several hours.  sunny and I then took turns paddling with the single collapsible paddle that I had (luckily) brought along.  we adjusted the sails this way.  then that way.  then another way.  pretty much any way we could think of.  for nothing.  we finally gave up trying to “catch the wind”, and just resorted to paddling.

we had to paddle south, through the causeway (Fairfield Road), and towards the public beach… using Google maps, I think I estimated it was close to 3 miles!  by the time we finally made it to the beach to meet up with the wives and kids – they were long gone.  they had left to go back to the house and eat some dinner.  second bit of bad news – it was getting dark.  there was no way we could paddle all the way back to the boat launch before dark.  I still don’t recall how we called the girls – I think I had to use a calling card at the payphone up near the park restrooms (cell phones didn’t even remotely work out here then… not sure if service has improved any since then).  the girls piled the kids back in the tahoe, and came back to the beach to pick us up.  unfortunately, the parking lot was several hundred yards, uphill, from the beach.  somehow, sunny and I managed to lug the sailboat all the way back to the tahoe and lift it back on top to shamefully return home – sunburnt, sore from paddling, with bruised bare feet… but we did get to know each other well those few hours on the boat!

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5 Responses to “my 1st sail in the super porpoise”


  1. 1 Kir July 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

    On the maiden voyage…that experience (being wind-deserted in the middle of a lake) sounds like my first sailing venture. And I’m pretty sure the only other time I’ve sailed has been on a larger vessel with a motor attached…
    But if I had a book along, I think drifting out in the middle of a lake might be a peaceful way to spend the day, just floating there, waiting for a helpful breeze…

  2. 2 my2fish July 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    kir,
    that must’ve been a much larger boat! a super porpoise (or sunfish) does not do well with reading – you are pretty much guaranteed to get wet at some point… although I suppose in really light winds, you could risk it.

    on that day, I was more just ashamed for hyping up sailing to Sonny, only to have such a dreadful experience for his 1st sailing trip ever.

    then again, when I took Clint sailing on Lake Michigan, we dumped the boat twice, turtled it in fact! (I’ll get more detailed on that trip in a future post.) just goes to show that different days out can have wildly different experiences…

  3. 3 Tammy July 27, 2009 at 5:57 am

    It will be fun to read your sailing adventures. I’ve never been and think it’s cool that you’ve taken up the hobby. My perfect day on the water would be planted in calm waters with a nice book (like Kir), a little breeze and something yummy to sip on. I bet the boys are geeked and eager for you to take them out.

  4. 4 BrainCorrel July 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Great story, I wish I did not have one that was nearly identical. My story was at Rocky Fork on my Super Porpoise. We did make it to the beach before they left.

    People have a hard time grasping the idea that no wind=no velocity. We are used to turning a switch and adjusting the speed. I guess it gives us an appreciation of what it was like when sails were used as the primary means to get across oceans. At least we were only stranded for a a few hours and not months.

    I am really careful to check out the forecast before going out. If the wind is not above 7 mph I don’t even bother unless, I am taking out someone afraid of the water.

  5. 5 my2fish July 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    BrainCorrel – sorry to hear you’ve suffered the same awful day of no wind. I just had another day like that this year, but luckily didn’t have to go a long distance. still, it makes for a VERY frustrating day.

    I agree – I’m going to have to be a bit more selective with my days, and make sure that the wind forecast is a bit more favorable.

    cheers, my2fish


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