Happy Memorial Day!  How lucky we are to be born in a free country.  (In this blog that’s as deep as my political beliefs will go).

Today my Mom and our trusty friend Alan joined us on the boat for a day on the lake.

The weather man predicted high heat and low winds, but I didn’t believe him. I just had a feeling that today there was going to be wind. Besides almost every single time we’ve gone out this spring the winds have made for good sailing. I also hear all over the blogosphere and cruising community that daily weather predictions are often wrong…mostly wrong. So out we went.

At the dock we were greeted by the biggest yacht we’ve ever seen round these parts. “Wheels” was her name. I think it was some kind of race car person based on the racing flags…but it’s rather funny now to think about a boat being named “Wheels”. Ha, sometimes I’m slow.

Leaving Wheels in our wake, we motored out, made drinks and hoisted the main and then the jib (in that order).

It was about 2pm, the sky was overcast and the NNW winds were really picking up. Funny weatherman..I thought for sure you said 5 knots. A look to the north at angry dark clouds prompted a weather check on Mom’s Iphone. Yep, sure enough on the north side of the lake, about 20 miles away a storm system had developed. Out. of. Nowhere.

I saw the radar, green and red patches headed SSE. To our West was sunnier skies and to our East, much less sunnier skies. Tate was concerned, my Mom was also concerned, Alan was making drinks, but I wasn’t concerned. We had both the full Main and Jib up, and the wind was starting to gust. Our Main isn’t set up yet to reef, and Firey our wind vane was also in operation.

Tate wanted to take the windvane fin off and disengage. I didn’t see why it was necessary. He wanted to lower the sails. I didn’t see why it was necessary. Everyone (except Alan) seemed concerned about the worsening conditions but me. Why is this?

A tack and short gust later had the Jib flailing around wildly with me unable to winch it tight. Tate and Alan sprung into action and lowered all the sails. Whew. Now gusts were even stronger and the lake was filled with white caps. At least the sails were down. Back to shore we headed. Ego’s bruised all around.

We motored around in the chop a bit and met up with the Seaflowers on the lake. I suppose the weather was looking a little better by now so we dropped anchor, let a line off the back and all jumped in.

Only we didn’t realize that we had anchored in 43 feet of water! Yeah 43 feet, in a lake that mostly is 12 feet or less. What?? We had found some sort of black hole not far off the Southshore. No one bothered to check the depth sounder when we dropped anchor. Tate knew he let out a ton of rode but didn’t think much of it. It would have been fine except the Seaflowers weren’t rigged to anchor in water so deep.

Beau and Beka tries many times to lower the anchor with no avail. We yelled the depth to them and they tried to connect a longer spool of rode to the anchor but in the process of all of this, had their Jenny ripped by the anchor on the bow! Ugh….

Defeated they headed back in. Feeling a little sick from the chop in the lake, which was powerful enough to bring the propellor clean out of the water as it hobbyhorsed, a sight to see from in the water, we climbed back in the boat, raised the anchor and headed for shore. A windy day for hair indeed!

Looking back on today I wished we would have taken down the sails earlier, we would’ve reefed had we been rigged for it. This adventure got got me thinking. How cautious should one be? I’ve heard the most cautious never leave the dock. I’ve also heard most of the time there is a catastrophic at sea, it could have been prevented by being more cautious.

Tate has said and has shown me that as we get more experience we will go out in more difficult situations. I find myself time and time again “ready to go” when others are concerned. Perhaps this is because I’ve been daring all of my life and never had anything really bad ever happen.

Many people can learn from their own mistakes, but a Wise man can learn from the mistakes of others.

I am hoping to gain wisdom.

I know that our sailing trip alone is outside of most caution levels, but in the world of cruising, sailing and racing:

Where in this middle ground should one’s caution lie? Are there rewards out there for those that step outside the caution level adopted by the majority?

How Cautious are You?