I took this shot a couple of weeks ago.

I could have done with crew today. I went for a quick single-handed sail between thunderstorms. I like sailing on my own especially in a brisk wind. I am not sure why I like it, maybe it is the solitude or the time to think. Maybe it is just beling along with nature and the elements. Whatever the reason - I like it.

Anyway back to the story! As I saw the dark clouds gather I scooted for the marina and all was going well. I had been tacking away from the marina and so to get back it was a literal “run” downwind on and I had lots of time to do that before the storm hit (I had planned it that way). The boat was actually sailing itself as I was moving around the boat battening hatches and the like.

As I neared the marina entrance I furled in the headsail and started up the motor, but as I turned the wheel to correct my course I felt something break in the steering mechanism and I had no helm! So there I was adrift and no way to steer the boat!

What to do? By using reverse I managed to get away from the marina so I was not in danger of hitting anything. I attempted quick repairs but to no avail. I might have been able to jury-rig a steering mechanism but the clouds were getting very dark and would soon be overhead! I can steer a boat with just the sails, but I was not about to hoist sails and try that with a storm beating down on me and especially on my own. Only one thing for it, the VHF!

I radioed the marina and it was not long before a zodiac was on its way with four really helpful guys to tow me in. Just as they got to me the storm hit and we all got wet, but luckily it was only rain (although lots and lots and lots of it!)

I felt a bit silly after because if I had known it was only going to be rain I would have sat it out and worked on a jury-rig. But there could have been thunderbolts in those clouds and then it would have been a different story! Better safe than sorry.

So on days like today as much as I like sailing single-handed, I did miss having crew!

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