Sailing Lake WoodlandsBy Eric Comstock #759 (11es 13eo 12ea 12ad 53ar)
My son and I took #759 out to North Shore Park in the woodlands yesterday to see how we liked the lake there. We almost didn't go as the weather report predicted 15-25 MPH winds. One of our goals was to investigate the rumors we had heard about a sea monster that lived in the Southern end of the lake.
It is about a one hour drive from here. The first thing I noticed when we got there at Noon was that there was very little parking. Well, there were a lot of open "small car" spaces, and there were a lot of "trailer" spaces with single small cars in them. But there were very few places where you could park a car with a trailer. We found one and started to set up #759. It didn't take long and within a few minutes it was in the water and I circled back to find a small car in the last "trailer" space. I ended up in a space that was too short, with my front wheels in the grass and the trailer sticking out a little.
I'm glad that I didn't listen to the weather report. When we got there the winds were light and variable. We spent the first hour and a half tacking back in forth across a narrow section of the lake, right in front of the park. Due to the light and variable winds it was difficult to make any progress down the lake to the south. We tacked back and forth about 30 times and hardly got clear of the park. We decide to take a little break so we went back and to one of the docks at North Shore Park and tied up. My son played at the playground and I sat, looking at the American flag, noticing that it was starting to point in the same direction most of the time. The wind was starting to pick up.
A little later we were back on the water working our way toward the Southern end of the lake. This involved a LOT of tacking back and forth.The SE wind was just a little to close to South for us to be able to make a straight shot down the lake. Our progress was further hindered by the effect on the wind of all the tall trees and huge houses lining the lake. It was very broken, confused and gusty. It would circle around the obstructions and come from unexpected directions all the time. Our progress to the South was slow. We had to fight for every inch of it.
After an hour and a half of this we were 1/2 way across the lake. There was still no sign of the sea monster. So we decided to come about and head back.
On the way back, I came to the conclusion that my rudder is too small. With the sail more than 45 degrees out to one side I was unable to prevent the boat from rounding up into the wind. I tried several positions on the lee board, but nothing would help. I finally got us going downwind. As long as I kept the sail close in we had decent maneuverability.
We made it back, loaded up and headed home at about 5:00. It was nice to get out and sail someplace different and we had fun. But I don't think we will be going back to Woodlands Lake any time soon. Considering the parking issues, and confused nature of the wind, it just isn't worth the hour drive.