If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

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DaveC426913
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If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by DaveC426913 »

Went out on L.Ontario yesterday with my first mate bro, under a dark sky with scudding clouds more suited to late September. 18 degrees, Westerly 15knots gusting to 25, reef in, spitting rain. Had a ball.

About an hour into our trip, we were several miles offshore when we looked up and saw a strange object pirouetting in the sky a quarter mile off our starboard. It looked like a black flower with 6 petals. Its motion was very kite-like and quite regular - making very tight loops and figure-8s over and over.

The problem is, as I mentioned, we were several miles offshore. There were no other people within miles. How could it possibly be a kite? I thought it must be a drone (it looked way more like drone than a kite), but the longer we watched the more it became apparent that the obejct was swiftly moving with the wind - it was now a mile downwind of us.

Looking back to shore miles away, we could see another similar kite, this one under control. I theorized that the kite had got loose from its wrangler and its line/handle was dragging in the water acting as a sea anchor to keep the kite in a stable flying configuration.

These kites looked very sophisticated and expensive. Wouldn’t it be cool to retrieve it and bring it back the owner. I bet they’d be so grateful. So we took off. Blades up, sails down, ballast out, we topped out at 14knots (personal best!)

We drove and drove and drove. It took a long time to decide we were actually gaining on it, now that it was at least a nautical mile downwind and little roe than a dot. Even if we’re beating it by 5 miles per hour, it would still be half way to Rochester before we caught up with it. I didn’t tell my mate that I had one eye on the gauge of the single gas tank I had filled at the start of the summer. Doing a flat out 14 knots has a way of burning through my gas at an alarming rate.

So we’re finally within maybe a quarter mile and I start looking for a little splash on the water that I hoped would the controller/handle sea anchor. Suddenly my mate cries out and points off the starboard rail. I don’t know what I’m seeing at first but eventually my brain interprets it to be a thin line just a boat length off the rail, rising at a very shallow angle. We had pulled up alongside the line. I was astonished how long it must be.

We stopped and boat-hooked the line aboard, cheering and whooping at our found treasure. My brother tied it off to the armpit rail and we staring hauling it the bitter end first. Turns out there was no controller/handle on the end; it was just a snapped line. Yet still enough to act as a sea anchor.

We had travelled a total of 4.5nm in pursuit.

Then, while were sorting out the bitter end, the line on the rail snapped and away went our prize again. AGH! SO CLOSE! And we’d come SO FAR! :cry:

I had assumed without enough sea anchor, it would destabilize and plunge into the drink. But I quickly saw the kite remained stable as ever and still headed downwind.

So off we went, and finally caught up to it again just off Gibraltar Point (luckily, our original destination anyway, so no skin off our nose, really).

This time we hauled it in until it was just a boat length over our mast head.

Image


We had a gigantic ball of kite line in the bucket.


Image

Finally, it turned tail and dunked. My bro yelped that it was going under. Apparently it had inverted (thereby inverting its flight characteristics) and our residual drifting speed was now causing the kite to dive to the lake bottom.

We finally got it back the surface and hauled it out - at least what was left of it. Our thousand dollar high-tech battle kite turned out to be made of … tissue paper over bamboo reed, totalling maybe 50c of materials. The moment it touched the water it had simply melted. :(

Image


Not only were they not going to be grateful, I realized they probably expected this to happen and the moment their line snapped they’d put it out of mind forever.

Ah well. No good deed goes unpunished. And it made for an exciting sail. :D
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NiceAft
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Re: If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by NiceAft »

DaveC426913 wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:27 am Went out on L.Ontario yesterday with my first mate bro, under a dark sky with scudding clouds more suited to late September. 18 degrees, Westerly 15knots gusting to 25, reef in, spitting rain. Had a ball.

About an hour into our trip, we were several miles offshore when we looked up and saw a strange object pirouetting in the sky a quarter mile off our starboard. It looked like a black flower with 6 petals. Its motion was very kite-like and quite regular - making very tight loops and figure-8s over and over.

The problem is, as I mentioned, we were several miles offshore. There were no other people within miles. How could it possibly be a kite? I thought it must be a drone (it looked way more like drone than a kite), but the longer we watched the more it became apparent that the obejct was swiftly moving with the wind - it was now a mile downwind of us.

Looking back to shore miles away, we could see another similar kite, this one under control. I theorized that the kite had got loose from its wrangler and its line/handle was dragging in the water acting as a sea anchor to keep the kite in a stable flying configuration.

These kites looked very sophisticated and expensive. Wouldn’t it be cool to retrieve it and bring it back the owner. I bet they’d be so grateful. So we took off. Blades up, sails down, ballast out, we topped out at 14knots (personal best!)

We drove and drove and drove. It took a long time to decide we were actually gaining on it, now that it was at least a nautical mile downwind and little roe than a dot. Even if we’re beating it by 5 miles per hour, it would still be half way to Rochester before we caught up with it. I didn’t tell my mate that I had one eye on the gauge of the single gas tank I had filled at the start of the summer. Doing a flat out 14 knots has a way of burning through my gas at an alarming rate.

So we’re finally within maybe a quarter mile and I start looking for a little splash on the water that I hoped would the controller/handle sea anchor. Suddenly my mate cries out and points off the starboard rail. I don’t know what I’m seeing at first but eventually my brain interprets it to be a thin line just a boat length off the rail, rising at a very shallow angle. We had pulled up alongside the line. I was astonished how long it must be.

We stopped and boat-hooked the line aboard, cheering and whooping at our found treasure. My brother tied it off to the armpit rail and we staring hauling it the bitter end first. Turns out there was no controller/handle on the end; it was just a snapped line. Yet still enough to act as a sea anchor.

We had travelled a total of 4.5nm in pursuit.

Then, while were sorting out the bitter end, the line on the rail snapped and away went our prize again. AGH! SO CLOSE! And we’d come SO FAR! :cry:

I had assumed without enough sea anchor, it would destabilize and plunge into the drink. But I quickly saw the kite remained stable as ever and still headed downwind.

So off we went, and finally caught up to it again just off Gibraltar Point (luckily, our original destination anyway, so no skin off our nose, really).

This time we hauled it in until it was just a boat length over our mast head.

Image


We had a gigantic ball of kite line in the bucket.


Image

Finally, it turned tail and dunked. My bro yelped that it was going under. Apparently it had inverted (thereby inverting its flight characteristics) and our residual drifting speed was now causing the kite to dive to the lake bottom.

We finally got it back the surface and hauled it out - at least what was left of it. Our thousand dollar high-tech battle kite turned out to be made of … tissue paper over bamboo reed, totalling maybe 50c of materials. The moment it touched the water it had simply melted. :(

Image


Not only were they not going to be grateful, I realized they probably expected this to happen and the moment their line snapped they’d put it out of mind forever.

Ah well. No good deed goes unpunished. And it made for an exciting sail. :D

Good story👍
Ray ~~_/)~~
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kmclemore
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Re: If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by kmclemore »

What an adventure! Well, it did make for an exciting day out, and you got a personal best on motoring speed, so it's all good!
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Stickinthemud57
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Re: If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by Stickinthemud57 »

I had a jarring day sailing experience a few years back in my Hunter 170. Coming out of the launch area there's a marina I have to circumnavigate to get out on the lake, and the little kicker I was using quit on me. I decided just to tack out of the relatively narrow south side, but managed to capsize (wind shift, cleated mainsheet. Whadya know.). After righting my vessel, I decided to press on with my sail, absent my cell phone and other items that went in the drink.

It was a pretty windy day and more than a bit challenging. I hadn't been out long before I saw some people on jet skis waving a distress flag. I sailed over and asked what the problem was and one of them said "Dad died". At least that's what I heard through all the wind. Relax, nobody ended up dead.

There was a middle-aged man lying on what might have been a paddleboard in obvious distress. Him, not the paddleboard. The jet skiers did not have a working cell phone (maybe he said "batt died"??), nor did I. Nor did I have a working kicker. All I could do at that point was sail back to the marina and tell the Coast Guard.

By the time I got back out on the lake, someone in a pontoon boat had picked the gentleman up and they headed off to a different nearby marina. I don't recall seeing any emergency responder ID.

All in all a memorable sail. 8)
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NiceAft
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Re: If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by NiceAft »

Yeah, you only want one of those in a lifetime, and one is too many.

“Dad died”. That got your attention :o
Ray ~~_/)~~
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Stickinthemud57
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Re: If you didn’t rescue someone or something is it even a day sail?

Post by Stickinthemud57 »

NiceAft wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:10 pm Yeah, you only want one of those in a lifetime, and one is too many.

“Dad died”. That got your attention :o
The entire outing was quite surreal. Not a day I am likely to forget.
The key to inner peace is to admit you have a problem and leave it at that.
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