With Sunset Chaser still out of commission awaiting the arrival of the correct driveshaft, we are effectively boat-free for a few more weeks to come.
And so it is that we're renting little open sailboats for a bit. Ahoy Rentals in downtown Kingston has the expected selection of boats (Lasers, CL 14s, Hunter 140s, a couple of Hobies), friendly staff, and rates that really aren't too bad if you buy time in bulk.
Our ride last week was a Hobie Wave. There's really nothing remarkable about this distinctive little boat. It's not fast, it doesn't point (or tack) terribly well, and it doesn't really care how you trim its single loose-footed sail. It's all but impossible to tip it in anything under fifteen knots. The Wave takes little skill and little thought to drive. Your sail-handling skills, your balance when hiking to windward, your expert touch on the mainsheet – all are nearly irrelevant on this boat, whose controls consist of little more than a tiller and one sheet (which can be left in its cam cleat, untouched, at any point of sail above 120 degrees.)
And that may be why this little boat is so captivating. The Wave strips away the technical aspects of sailing, and with them, the sport's elitism and meritocratic streak. You just aim it and off it goes, waves splashing over the crossbeam and through the trampoline, your co-pilot stretched out to soak up the sun and spray, university students sneaking a longing glance from the pier as the brightly coloured sail catches a gust. The part of your mind that says "I need to tighten that sheet two inches to gain a tenth of a knot" shuts down in favour of the part that says "I love how the sun is reflecting off the drops of spray in her hair."
It may not be fancy, fast, sophisticated or challenging, but sometimes it's exactly what you need.
(No photos this time, you don't take a camera out on a boat like this- I'll try to add a shot of it at some point when I get a chance.)