RYOTA YAMADA

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Kennewick-Man Expedition, DAY 18


I was excited that Phillip and his wife Elaine had invited me to sailing. At 3:30 p.m., we left Port of Kennewick to the Columbia River by their catamaran yacht, WE BE JAMMIN.

In the sky after the rain, strong westerly wind blew, which was a headwind against our yacht heading upstream. The stream of melted snow was also rapid. Since the wind and the stream flowed strongly in the opposite direction of the travel of the yacht, we revved up a diesel engine to full-throttle with a roaring sound, and spread a main-sail and a jib-sail. We steered in right about 45 degrees to the wind, and then we turned in left about 45 degrees to the wind when the yacht came to the end as shore. We sailed in a zigzag manner. Phillip and Elaine were dealing with complicated task to maneuver the sails and to steer at the same time, while they were cooperating by lifting their voice in every turn.

We sailed upstream to the somewhere above the point Kennewick Man discovered. And then we turned 180 degrees to sail downstream to return to the port. When we cut the engine, we were surrounded by thick silence without engine noise and wind sound. Now, the wind, the water and the yacht flowed downstream at similar speeds and directions. The unstable sail, which was not billowed out with wind, fluttered in the breeze suddenly and violently. So, if I had not paid great attention to the sail, I would have been struck off my head by an aluminum frame of the sail.

I had not had an experience to steer a yacht. I carefully observed a complex structure of the sail, a complicated maneuvering of the sail, a motion of the sail catching wind and a movement of the yacht in relation to a wind. Since I just sailed a kayak with sail for the first time in life five days ago, there was no doubt that this sailing was a precious experience which was going to be useful to maneuver the sail on my kayak on coming journey.