Jul 13, 2013Some chores then sailing on Stockton Lake

Anchored in Stockton Lake
Gary Swimming in Stockton Lake
John made me pay for my impetuousness; before letting me back on board, he handed me a crescent wrench to tighten up the engine lock bolt that’s been causing problems.

John asked if I fancied going sailing. He had to ask? That’s a given.

A series of heavy thunderstorms on Wednesday put paid to our first planned outing. So we re-scheduled for Friday – not an auspicious day to go sailing if you are superstitious, but fortunately I’ve only just remembered that.

The plan was for a seven-thirty start; do some ‘boaty’ chores followed by some sailing trials – trying out the small jib and some practice anchoring. John’s boat still hasn’t got a mainsail – which is off somewhere being cleaned and repaired.

On arriving at Stockton State Park Marina John tried to tempt me with the offer of going sailing first. Been there, done that, and I knew full well, we’d not get any of the chores done. So we wisely decided on sticking to the work-before-play plan.

John's Sailboat all moored up at the start of the day, and Stockton State Park Marina.
John’s Sailboat all moored up at the start of the day, at Stockton State Park Marina.

Work comprised re-fitting all the mooring lines which had been tied around the pontoon superstructure and were very quickly rubbing through. We fitted chains and looped the lines through the shackles holding the chain ends together.

The wind was quite gusty but I didn’t bother to put on the chin straps of my hat. That was a mistake. The wind caught my hat and knocked it off. I made a frantic but successful grab and stopped it getting dunked in the lake. However my sudden movement resulted in…


That moment when you watch your only pair of glasses committed to the deep.

This was rapidly followed by the realization that my glasses are so light they were sinking very slowly. I managed to reach down and grab ’em double-quick before they sank out of reach. Phew.

After a lot of adjusting and fiddling we were happy with the way the boat was tied up, so on to our next task – sorting out the anchor ready for use. John measured the anchor line – at over eighty feet it was enough for use around the edges of the lake.

We spent a lot of the morning playing with the mooring lines
We spent a lot of the morning playing with the mooring lines

With anchor tidied away and some other chores completed it was time for some sailing.

One of John's 'chores' to fit a new lifebouy
One of John’s ‘chores’ to fit a new lifebouy

Reversing out of the berth John lost the steering – he’s had this happen before, and sure enough problem was that the outboard motor had rotated through ninety degrees in its mount and was trying to drive the boat round in circles. Not wanting to waste time on pesky engines, I hopped over the back of the boat onto what I call the back porch, but is officially known as a ‘walkout transom’ grabbed the engine and twisted it the right way round and held it there for a while until we were sure it wasn’t going to twist around again.

The engine - pointing in the right direction (for the moment)
The engine – pointing in the right direction (for the moment)

We had a good breeze but with only the small jib set we had trouble tacking. A combination of the wind on the topsides, the waves hitting the bow and our lack of speed meant the boat would refuse to go through the wind onto the opposite tack. Being devious and having often sailed under jib alone I had a suggestion – tack by gybing, which works but loses you a lot of ground.

We reached a quiet cove where we had our first try at anchoring (notice I say first). I’ve no idea what the problem was, but the anchor didn’t hold and the wind was pushing us towards the shore. I quickly pulled in the anchor (all eighty odd feet of line) while John got us sailing again.

At the next cove we went closer to shore and made absolutely sure we were stopped in the water before I chucked the anchor over the side. It held beautifully. There we were anchored in a little bit of Ozark’s Lakes Beauty. Superb greenery topped by a deep blue sky. Off to stern (north) there was a small bluff just to add a little bit of variation.

Just for fun we decided to see how the Bimini top worked. Before you ask, no I’d never heard of a Bimini top before either. It’s a giant sun shade for the cockpit which you can have set up event when you are sailing. With a bit of head scratching we got it set up.

Shoreline of Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Once more the blues and greens were glorious. My camera’s polarizing filter (which I remembered this time) made the sky an odd purple color – not at all what I saw through the viewfinder, so I’ve adjusted the color of the blues to be more ‘blue and less purple.
Shoreline of Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Once more the blues and greens were glorious.
Shoreline of Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Some near-by bluffs.
Anchored near the shore on Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Anchored for lunch and trying out the Bimini top
Sailing on Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Anchored for lunch and trying out the Bimini top

In fact it was so glorious I couldn’t resist testing the walkout Transom and the built-in boarding ladder. A swim was called for.

Anchored in Stockton Lake
Gary Swimming in Stockton Lake. John made me pay for my impetuousness; before letting me back on board he handed me a crescent wrench to tighten up the engine lock bolt that’s been causing problems. (Photograph: John Svagera)
Sailing on Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Cap’n John resting after lunch. I grabbed this candid shot from the bow of the boat.

Before upping anchor and sailing back to the marina we decided to try out the big Genoa, so we swapped the sails. We were still disappointed with the boat’s performance on the port tack. Sp we started experimenting. It turns out you can’t afford to be lazy and keep the engine in the water. The increased drag and the effect it has on the boat by being mounted off-center makes a lot of difference to how the boat sailed.

Cap'n John at the helm
Cap’n John at the helm
Sailing on Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
I really like the reflection of the boat in John’s sunglasses – even if it does giveaway the fact that the mainsail is still away being cleaned and repaired.

All in all we had a great time. I’ll gloss over the mooring practice back at the marina. In flying, repeated landing practice is called ‘bump and go’ shall we just say that was an appropriate moniker for our mooring practice too.

Sailboat GPS Track on Stockton Lake - www.ozarkswalkabout.com
Our GPS track – around 10 miles. I’m duly impressed if you can work out where we went without the benefit of using some sort of timeline
Copyright © 2013 Gary Allman - Ozarks Walkabout, all rights reserved.

1 thought on “Some chores then sailing on Stockton Lake”

  1. Gary- you are the best crew and photographer friend a person could hope to have!!! Fair winds and Peace

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