Today my good friend Emily introduced me to the Clearwater Communitcy Sailing Assocation. It’s right there on Sand Key in Clearwater Beach.
Clearwater Community Sailing Center Map
It looks like it is a great sailing center. Wow, there was so much going on. People were there for recreation sails (like us). There were kids (8-10 yrs old) rigging up dingies for a sailing class. There were teenagers rigging up windsurfers for a sailing class. There was a fundraiser with live music. A real party atmosphere.
The launch beach looks like this:
2012-11-11 Clearwater Community Sailing Center
2012-11-11 Catamarans at CCSC
See that guy in the red life jacket by the cat that is half on the beach and half in the water? That is LIKE the one we had, although ours is next to it over to the right behind the yellow sign.
Before I describe this, let me tell you that this is the first time I’ve been on a catamaran in maybe 30 years, and even back then I only steered one a couple of times. They are VERY different in handling than our little Catalina Capri’s.
We hopped on the cat and did some really long beam reaches up and down the intracoastal waterway. The wind was blowing pretty strong when we started, and then got stronger the longer we stayed out. As we passed right in front of the center, the wind picked up. I noticed that our downwind pontoon dipped down, burying itself 90% in the water. I could tell this would probably be a bad thing by the way the boat reacted. So I asked Emily to move back a little. She did and the pontoon came up nicely. But then it seemed that the back of the upwind pontoon was burried to deep, causing a wake and slowing us down. So I asked her to move forward a little. Oops.
Almost imediately, the pontoon’s leading point buried itself in the water and the rear of the boat went up like it was on one of those cherry picker trucks with the operator pushing the up button. Sort of like a semi-slow motion disaster in progress. I went up, up, up with it, then down down down into the water when my horizontal seat became a vertical non-seat. But, I’m not alone in doing this sort of thing:
I love the end of that video where he says “I loved every minute of it, ha ha”
While I was there I went right by the place I stayed my first 2 days in the Tampa Bay area. Here is the boat I stayed on.
2012-11-11 Boat I stayed on when I first got to Tampa area
I marked the place on the back of the boat that caught fire while I was on board. You may have to zoom in to see it. You can see the shore power cord still running to the back of the boat. That fire was the departure signal that had me looking for a place when my current condo came up for rent.
Where I get to see a beautiful sunset over the bay every night.
2012-11-11 17.36.53 Boca Ciega Bay Sunset