Sailing Raven LakeBy Eric Comstock #759 (11es 13eo 12ea 12ad 53ar)
I got the chance to take #759 out on a new (to it) lake this weekend.
Raven lake is a 210 acre lake in Huntsville State Park. My son's Cub Scout Pack had a camp out there last weekend.
We arrived early Friday afternoon and were among the first there. We got a camp site right on the water, near a fishing pier. Huntsville State Park has many campsites, with various levels of amenities, that are right on the water and make for easy launching of a small boat. There is also a boat ramp if you are inclined to use it. The wind was gusting to 30 mph from the North, so we concentrated on setting up our camp site, starting a fire and getting settled in. It was VERY cold Friday night, so I got up early Saturday and got a nice fire going to warm up and make something hot to eat. Before long it was time to launch the boat.
A couple of other Cub Scout's Fathers volunteered to help me get #759 off the trailer and down to the water, where I started rigging it. As one Father put it, #759 was "a real Cub Scout magnet". As soon as the sail went up Cub Scouts and their parents came from all around to take a look. Some complimented me and my son on building such a nice boat, others had trouble believing that such an obviously "home made" boat would even float, but everyone was interested. I assured all that, yes it did float, yes it was safe and yes it had been in the water many times. I stressed how easy it was to build and I didn't have any particular wood working or boat building experience prier to building it. I put in a plug for PDRacer.com at every opportunity and also invited all who were interested to join the "Houston Horde" at out next race the following weekend.
My son and I launched the boat and sailed back and forth across the lake for a while. The wind was gusting to 20+. The gusts were alternating between coming from the North and (I think) the WSW with periods of no wind in between. When a gust arrived and we got settled on an appropriate course we were moving right along, but that seldom lasted more than about 30 seconds, then it would be calm, and then another gust, just as strong would come from the other direction. The speed of the wind was not any problem at all, but it's variable direction was a little bothersome. It wasn't really very good weather for an inexperienced sailor, so I refrained from letting the other parents sail it and did not give many rides to very many of the Cub Scouts.
There was one incident involving some "Anti-matter" that is worth noting. When I saw my son and one other camper shoveling dirt into the lake I didn't give it much thought. When he told me that they were exploding "Anti-matter Bombs" no alarms went off, I assumed that they were pretending that they had found some positrons (anti-electrons). Later, my son, one of his friends and I went for a sail. We launched and sped off at full speed, riding one of the longer gusts. Halfway across the lake we noticed that the boat was full of ants! At that very moment the wind died down and did not return for several minutes. Eventually, several ant bites later, the wind picked up and we made it back to the camp site. It was then that I learned that the "Anti-Matter" they had been shoveling into the lake, just upwind of the boat, was in fact "Matter" that had been removed from an ant mound!
Sunday morning we loaded up and left the park.
The wind was not very cooperative last weekend. It was very gusty and could not decide which way it wanted to come from. I've sailed Raven lake before and while it is not an excellent lake for sailing, being lined with 40' to 60' trees, there generally is someplace on it with good wind no matter where the wind is coming from...you just have to find the right place and that depends on the direction. Hopefully the wind will be more cooperative next time.
Chief Ant Feeder
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