KNOWING, DOING, and BEING IN GOD'S WILL
THERE'S A DIFFERENCE...
In 2004 I was the captain of our 41-foot sailing vessel FAMILY TIES during a 4-day weekend vacation in the Great Lakes. On board was my wife Pam, our son, Josh, and his family with two young children.
In the early morning we had motored out of our marina into the Detroit River, out across Lake St. Clair, then up against the St. Clair river's 3-knot current and stayed overnight in Sarnia Bay Marina in Canada. The next day we headed out under the Blue Water Bridge that connects the U.S.and Canada, and east across Lake Huron. We were hoping to sail but there was no wind. It was so hot in the August sun that we stopped in the middle of this huge and deep Great Lake and went swimming.
After an overnight in the Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada marina we headed back to Lexington, MI. Again, no wind. This was no fun. The boat, with it's old engine, cruised at just under 6 knots, and although under full sail, it didn't go much faster. At least there was a breeze that made you think you were going faster.
That third night we tied up at the Lexington, MI marina in one of the last slips available. After dinner we prayed as a family for wind on our return. Never pray against natural law. It doesn't work.
The next morning, I turned on the marine weather radio and climbed up on deck to see what the day's "sailing" might hold for us. Having to get back to work the next day, we were to retrace our steps south to the base of Lake Huron, and down the St. Clair River (with the current this time), across Lake St. Clair and home to our Detroit River marina. Because the current was with us, we could do the whole return trip in one day.
Standing on deck and looking south I began to realize how wrong we were to pray for wind in August, considering the direction we needed to travel. The wind, in August, naturally comes out of the south and southwest. If I wanted a north or northwest wind it was the wrong time of year to pray for it. One needs to take into account Natural Law when one prays. I groaned.
Yes, we would have wind today but it would be on our nose, and we didn't have time to tack off on a close haul to the east and then back to the head of the river. But the marine weather forecast out on the lake was for only a 20-knot southernly breeze. Twenty knots is a lot of wind for a small boat, but not for our 22,000 pound, full-keeled, ocean going ketch. In fact, it was about right for a nice day on the Lake, provided we were not plowing into it.
The ladies fixed breakfast, which we would eat underway, as Josh and I prepared the boat and disembarked. As we loosened the dock lines and backed out of the slip, I sensed something was not "right," ("Right" is in quotation marks because Nature is never wrong, it's only our perception of it or our attempt to integrate with it that can be wrong -- as was today the case.) The wind felt stronger, and we were still in a mostly protected marina. This is the place where I tell you that the motoring controls on the binnacle, just below and in front of the wheel that I was standing behind, were old and confusing to operate. There were two levers. One was throttle and the other was the gear shift. We had owned the boat for five years and I frequently got them confused, especially when backing up.
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