Friday, April 29, 2016

Comanche Village Destroyed

The original Comanche settlement was along the stream believed 
to flow through the line of wilderness between the field and the
mountains beyond.

We hoped to seek out the location of the Comanche settlement on the North Fork of the Red River.  The path we followed through the remains of the village finally ended at a white, chained and locked gate.  The sign on the gate proudly proclaimed “Winters Farm, Est. 1889,” the year Pres. Benjamin Harrison chose to open 1.9 million acres of Indian Territory for white settlement.  This first parcel was called “unassigned” land.  It was Indian Territory, but it had not yet been assigned to a specific tribe.  The process of whittling away at Indian land would continue until nearly all promised Indian land had been wrestled from Indian control.

It all comes back to America’s less than proud history of ‘dealing’ with the Native Americans who called this land their home.  Greed, corruption, land speculation, the undying thirst for getting something for nothing, and yes, the starry-eyed dreams of poor settlers looking for a better life, caused all eyes to turn toward the Indian lands.  Land encroachment always started with the cattlemen, as it continues to even today with cattlemen grazing on public lands.  In “A Field of Their Own, 1830-1941,” John M. Rhea explains how the west was really won.  By 1880, Texas cattlemen moved 4,233,487 Longhorn cattle onto Indian grasslands for a year at a time.  The following year those cattle would be moved to more Indian land further north and closer to markets in Kansas, and would be replaced by another herd.  This eventually led to the establishment of the Great Western Cattle Trail, which was used to move the cattle straight through to the rail heads and transportation to Northern and Eastern markets.  Some of the cattle were furtively or forcibly just driven onto the land, and some land was acquired by grazing permits obtained through agreements with the tribes.  However, the methods by which these permits were obtained were so irregular that word of these practices traveled all the way to Washington.  “The degree of graft, exploitation, coercion, and violence perpetuated by the range cattle operations, most of which were organized as companies by this time, shocked Congress.”  Think about that!  That Congress would be shocked by anything should in itself tell us how pervasive and criminal these practices were.  “With no effective voice to lobby in their defense, American Indians were at the mercy of Western representatives who favored opening their lands.”

The cattlemen had other enemies besides the tribes that rightfully owned the land, and those would be the Boomers.  The Boomers were an organized, loud, forceful, persistent, and often militant group that advocated the claiming of Indian lands by whatever means possible.  They felt all land should be open to white grazing and settlement, and they lobbied for Congress to make it so.  Feeling that Indian lands were public lands and available to anyone able to claim them, they overran the land a full decade before official opening in 1889, forcing the U.S. Army to expel them on more than one occasion.  John Rhea said all this wrangling and overrunning of their lands made the Indians ‘resentful.’  Imagine that!

The Indians and cattlemen shared one thing in common.  Neither wanted settlers on the land.  For the Indians, settlers and cattlemen alike disrupted the movement of what buffalo remained, and signaled the end of a life of plains hunting and dependence on buffalo.  The cattlemen didn’t want settlers coming in and running barbed-wire fencing that disrupted cattle drives or removed land from open use for grazing.  So the Indians had the land, and everyone else wanted it.

For an understanding of their claim to their hunting lands, the Comanche were originally Shoshone, but broke away from the main tribe in what became Southeast Wyoming and moved south some time before 1700.  When the U.S. Government began taking an interest in the West, it promised 3,000,000 acres to the Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa.  By the time all this fighting over the land was taking place, only 235,000 acres still remained in native hands, meaning the Native Americans had already lost roughly 92% of their promised lands.  And they were resentful?  Anyhow, I’m starting to go far afield here, and was initially wanting to speak just of the history we encounter while paddling.  The crux of this is there were a number of failed opportunities to put an end to the Indians’ fears of losing their lands, losing the opportunity to make a life for themselves, and to prevent the subsequent hostilities.  Sam Houston had the chance to put the conflicts to bed as early as 1833 when all the Comanche were asking for was a clear line delineating what was their land and what wasn’t.  He failed to follow through, and was replaced by Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas, who only wanted to use war as a means of dealing with the “Indian problem.”  The Comanche responded in the only way open to them, and of course the government responded with war and the desire to annihilate the Comanche and their way of life.  The history that followed is embarrassing, but very interesting to read and study.  I’ll leave that to you.

This was the site of the opening of the Christmas Day attack.

For the Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and other tribes on the plains, it ended usually the same way.  The winter campaign of 1868-69 planned to attack the tribes in mid-winter when they would be at their weakest.  The campaign led by Lt. Col. George A. Custer first massacred Black Kettle’s Cheyenne village on 27 November 68.  (Read about the Battle of Washita in achieves for 29&30 June 2012.)  A month later, on Christmas Day, they opened fire on the Comanche village here with howitzer field artillery before rushing in to destroy the village and kill its inhabitants.  Kiowa, encamped downstream, heard the cannon fire and rushed in to provide support.  They held the army at bay long enough for women and children to escape.  Initial claims by the army were that 20-25 warriors were killed while fleeing, but more detailed reports later proved that three soldiers were wounded, one fatally, and one Comanche was killed, a sub-chief named Arrow Point.  With the village now empty, the soldiers destroyed it and then marched on. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Comanche Village

Doe, a deer, a female deer, ray, a drop of golden sun.....

Like our stay at Lake Latonka, the forecast was for winds of less than 10 mph.  In the middle of the night, however, we again were struck with strong wind gusts that peppered the side of the RV with dirt, leaves, and debris.  By morning, the winds had died to 25 mph with 29 mph gusts according to updated reports.  Large whitecaps were rolling the full length of the lake.  It was obvious that paddling was off for the day, but we had a nice surprise during breakfast. 

Right on time, morning and evening, like they could tell time.

We were parked next to a ravine.  Five deer came up the ravine to graze in the grass around our camper.  With the heavily tinted windows, they couldn’t see us, so they walked right up to within 25 feet of the RV and munched grass while we munched breakfast and watched them.  We were just about done eating when another 15 deer came through the campground.  We knew the wildlife were protected here, but the mystery of why so many deer congregated around us wasn’t solved until we saw the camp host come out with a bucket of corn, which he poured on the ground.  Since there was no hunting permitted, this was not baiting, but it certainly drew a crowd.  The camp host did this twice a day, morning and evening, and the deer knew exactly when to show up.

Mount Teepee, near Comanche Village
While on paddling trips, we enjoy learning about the history of the area our paddling takes us through.  With paddling being impossible for today, we climbed into the pickup and went exploring.  We drove east from the state park to Mount Teepee, an area referenced in historical writings, and the nearby Comanche Village on the north branch of the Red River.  The Mount Teepee Baptist Church was in use until 1963, but is now gone.  Several one-room schools served the area and village, built as part of the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867, but all of them are gone except the remains of Mount Teepee School, which was last used in 1953.  The owner of the land had been asked by the state’s historical society to allow them to use the ½-acre that the school sits on, so they could save the structure and preserve it.  The owner couldn’t spare the ½-acre of weeds and debris, and a bad wind storm recently removed the roof and allowed the walls to collapse, making it a total loss.  

Mount Teepee School, the name still legible above the door, blackboards
still on the walls, the chimney for the coal stove on the back wall.

I don’t know who the owner of the school property is now.  It’s easy to think they are being small and cheap in allowing important history to disappear.  In fact, that was my immediate reaction.  However, if the owner is Native American, there’s another way to look at this.  They may not feel all that grateful for the schools from the Medicine Lodge Treaty, since they resented being forced to have their children schooled in the ‘white man’s ways’.  They may also quite reasonably feel the schools were a poor trade, since the treaty also required the Kiowa and Comanche to surrender 2,001,933 acres of tribal land to the U.S. government, in addition to another 23,000 acres to accommodate the Fort Sill Military Reservation.  It’s hard to tell.  At any rate, there are 58 archaeological sites in the area that confirm that Native Americans resided in the area since pre-historic times.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Submerged Town of Lugert

In the distance to the left of center stood the Town of Lugert.  If we
were speaking of bad luck, it was first destroyed by a tornado, and
then drowned by a lake.

The name of the lake comes from two towns in the area.  In the 1901 land rush, Austria-born Frank Lugert filed an 80-acre tract of land on Kiowa and Comanche lands as the site for the town of Lugert.  He built a post office, train depot, and a general store which handled about anything a settler would need.  At its zenith, the town also had a bank, 2 hotels, 2 restaurants, a saloon, lumberyard, and 2 pool halls.  On April 27, 1912, a tornado struck the town of 400 at noon.  Forty-one of the 42 businesses were destroyed with one death, as well as a large portion of the homes.  They struggled to survive until 1927. In 1927, the town of Altus built a 458-ft dam across the North Fork of the Red River to provide for a reliable water source for the town.  The remainder of the buildings were leveled, and when the lake is low, the foundations of the homes and businesses can still be found in the southeast corner of the lake.   

Several stone foundations are visible when the lake is low.

The 4,984 acres that comprise the park were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps starting in 1937, and many of the structures they built are still in use today.  Lake Altus-Lugert provides another 6,700 acres of water with a 47 mile shoreline. 

As evidence of the inland sea that at one time covered the whole Plains
area, we see where mountains have slumped and collapsed due to 
saturation and uneven drying.  In the center, we see a whole section
of the mountain collapsed, leaving a bit of a crater.  To its right are a
couple other areas that slid down partially creating a stair-step effect.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lake Altus-Lugert

Our next paddle trip was to Lake Altus-Lugert.  I had visited there to paddle the lake two years ago.  The sight of the lake when it was down 35-feet was sickening.  With the first wet spring in ten years, the lake filled, so I was anxious to get back before the lake disappeared again.  Agriculture is the largest user of water, and in the southwest part of the state it is used to irrigate cotton, with a little going to cattle.  There is little restraint in water usage.  As long as there is water, most everyone feels they have the right to take as much as they want, without thought for conservation, so in just five months the lake is again down 12-feet, but still a happier scene than in the past.  If you would like to see the earlier pictures for comparison, the original post on Lake Altus-Lugert can be found in archives on 12 December 2012.

Trying to find our way around Hobart found us out in the boonies.
We are pulled half-way off the road here, and as the road tracks show
there's still barely room for another vehicle to pass.

The sudden 30-degree drop in air temperatures had deflated the RV tires substantially.  The first thing I needed to do was to find an air pump where I could end my own ‘deflategate’ and get the tires back to proper inflation.  It took 18-miles of running slow before we found the first gas station with an air pump.

Our trip would take us through the town of Hobart where Rt. 9 had been closed for construction.  Going southwest, the detour was not clearly marked.  Signs simply suggested that we find an alternate route, so we ended up on a narrow, dirt, washboard road that didn’t allow two vehicles to pass without one getting part way off of the road, especially if both vehicles had West Coast mirrors.  With slow speed and patience, we finally returned to a blacktop road at the town of Lone Wolf, named in honor of Chief Lone Wolf the Elder, Chief of the Kiowa.  (After his death, Lone Wolf was buried in an unmarked, undisclosed location near Mount Scott.)  Going south from there, we rounded the south end of the lake and arrived at Quartz Mountain State Park.  While the local mountains are called the Quartz Mountains, they are still part of the Wichita Mountains.

Tonight, Ibi sleeps atop the Dodge Ram, but we're both wanting to
be paddling tomorrow.

As soon as we pulled into the Live Oak campground, we encountered about a dozen white-tailed deer roaming through the camp sites.  Shortly another herd came through with several fawns.  Here’s a video of the area that will give you a nice overview.

The area is covered with mountains of granite divided by deep wooded ravines.  Early residents included Wichita and Kiowa Indians.  Until the 1500’s, the area where the lake and state park are were under Spanish control, but then it was included in the Louisiana Province of France.  After being sold to the United States, the area was laid claim to by Mexico and the Republic of Texas, until a Supreme Court decision gave control back to the U. S.  It was then assigned to the Indian Territory that would become Oklahoma with the land run of 1901.

These deer are in a game preserve, and pay humans little attention.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy (?) Tax Day

Taxes are never a happy time.  While you are dealing with one
of life's drudgeries, here's a picture from Claude Delorme to help keep
happy thoughts and dreams in your mind.  Just hang in there, get the 
crap out of the way, and then head for the water for some recovery time.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Mighty Mississippi

Photo credit: GoodReads

Mighty Miss: A Mississippi River Experience, by Gary Hoffman (pub. by Mighty Miss Press, Chanhassen, MN, 2009, 284pp plus notes and glossary)

There is a lot in this book---a lot.  I usually finish a book before starting a review, but I started early for fear that I’d miss some important points.  A big part that is brought out in this book is that long trips, expeditions, if you wish to call them that, create a lot of stress.  There is stress in preparation, deciding on the right gear and provisions, garnering the support of family, finding a compatible paddling partner, if you wish to go that way, maintaining communications and good rapport with that person, and all of this is before the trip even starts.  Once you push away from the shore, there is mud, toxic waste and litter, snakes, insects that either want to drive you insane or cause life-ending or debilitating diseases, poisonous plants, high adverse winds, freezing cold and brain-baking heat, injuries that get infected, aching muscles, fanny fatigue and back strain, bouts of pain and numbness from inflamed nerves, and self-doubt, and the last is the big one.  Of all the things that you need to fear on a long trip, it is not tugs and ships, whirlpools, snakes, bears, sharks, and alligators.  What you need to fear most is your own brain.  It will torment you all day, try to keep you awake all night, flood you with dread, make you hear slights and insults from your paddling partner that were never there, and never meant to be there.  You’ll be homesick.  All the things you needed a break from now won’t look so bad.  You’ll even start thinking about all the work you can do when you get back.  Then, you will get settled in, and when the trip is almost over, you begin to realize that you don’t want it to stop.  Yup, your closest companion, your own head, will be your worst enemy.  Most people that do long-distance, endurance trips, marathons, or expeditions all seem to agree that the physical aspect, the part most people think about, comprises only 30% of trials to be overcome.  The mental aspects make up the remaining and most critical 70%.

The trip down the Mississippi had been the author’s dream.  His son, Darrin, had just gone into the army, and they agreed to make the trip together when he got out.  In the meanwhile, Darrin married.  The first roadblock to the trip was his new wife.  She was against the trip, and against him being away.  She did not support her husband or their adventure, and her demands cast a shadow over the trip.  They found themselves constantly in search of a phone in the wilderness so Darrin could check in and placate his bride.  It created more stress that gave rise to constant fights between the two paddlers.  The author had hoped the trip would bring him and his son closer together.    By the time they get to St. Louis, there was doubt that they could continue without destroying their relationship, perhaps beyond repair.  They slowly sought ways to understand each other and what was happening to them.  They feared this was as far as they could go, but they continued. 

As for the good news, all of this stress and conflict is manageable.  It can be overcome.  Experience helps, as does patience, tolerance, acceptance, and a Caribbean state of mind.  “Don’t worry, be happy.”  If you are an alpha or Type-A personality, never go paddling with another alpha or Type-A personality unless one of you can accept a subordinate role and commit to that in advance.  Now, this is some experience I carried to the book, rather than from it, so feel free to consider it personal opinion, but this clearly screamed from the pages.  I’ve used a word above that I hate---partner.  I didn’t use co-paddler or team member, because initially you wouldn’t have known what I meant.  Any business attorney will tell you that of the three types of managerial or organizational types, (sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation), the partnership is the weakest, has the most pitfalls, and is the most likely to fail. Contrary to popular opinion, a partnership in a marriage, business, or paddling trip is poison.  Partnership comes with the expectation that both parties have equal rights and authority to make the same decisions about the same things.  That is the formula for resentment, and non-stop and destructive battles.  The better concept is that of a teammate.  Both are on the same team, with the same goals, but each has their own specific jobs that the other does not share in and should keep his or her mouth shut about---in other words, a clear division of labor.  There has to be a hierarchy.  One person is in charge, like the pilot of a plane, and the other, like the co-pilot, should be equally qualified and able to take over if needed, but accepts that the leader has ultimate responsibility, and therefore has the ultimate tie-breaking vote.  If one of the two ‘partners’ can’t accept that role, they have no business being together, and likely won’t be for long, at least not happily. 

Here’s the best example of the successful team I can give.  It is a blueprint that can be employed in any paddling trip, marriage, or business venture.  I knew a couple that had been married for over 50 years.  They were both officers in the air force.  He was a colonel, but she, as a full bird-colonel, outranked her husband.  When they were working and in uniform, he deferred to his ranking wife.  She was the boss.  When they crossed the threshold at home, their roles immediately reversed.  She deferred to him.  He was the boss.  The change was so sudden and obvious that an unsuspecting observer couldn’t help but get mental whiplash, but it was how they kept conflict, personal or vocational, out of their marriage.  They had their own realms of responsibility, and the other respected and recognized his or her authority in that area without interfering.  They did not have a partnership, but they made a great team.

The book explores detailed aspects of the trip that are glossed over or omitted in most books.  If you contemplate this or another long trip, this account of what they faced gives one of the best insights I’ve seen into what may be encountered.  One of the strongest recommendations the author made was to not be in too great a hurry, but to always make time for the people you will meet along the river.  They will always be the best and most memorable part of the trip.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My First Falcon Paddle Sail

The new Falcon Sail on Ibi as we relax a few minutes in 
a quiet cove out of the wind.

Since moving to the Great American Desert (Zebulon Pike’s words, not mine.), I’ve really missed sailing.  That should be obvious since my personal slogan has always been, “The only thing better than sailing is breathing, but neither’s of much use without the other.”  So, having watched the Falcon Sail site videos for quite some time, I’ve hoped that putting the appropriate sail on the canoe might offer a solution.  With the rig installed, today would offer the opportunity for a first paddle-sail with the new Falcon rig.

The question I often see stems from people’s concerns over how long it takes to get the rig on and off the canoe, so I timed them.  The very first time I took the rig off the canoe, as I got ready to slide the canoe on the pickup, took 60 seconds from the time I walked into the garage until I laid the rig in the back of the truck.  When I got to the ramp, getting the rig back on the canoe and rigging the stay, shrouds, and sheet took a bit longer: 2 ½ minutes.   Once you’ve installed the rig, the understanding of what everything is and where it goes makes handling rigging really simple, and the time needed to rig or derig the boat is so insignificant that it fails to be an issue.

The paddle up the lake was almost dead into the wind, which was fine on the starboard bow, but much too close for sailing.  Just above the buffalo bluffs to port, I had a brief chance to see a bald eagle in the top of a cedar before it took flight.  The wind was supposed to be light today, so I started to get concerned about my first sail when whitecaps began building and rolling down the lake.  I called Jean at home, and she checked the weather page.  The wind was now gusting over 20.  Against the wind, I was paddling 2.5 to 2.9 with a bent-shaft Bending Branches paddle.  This alone was a big improvement for me.  I had spent the last couple weeks watching MicroTom’s videos in his WaterTribe 2016 Ultimate Florida Challenge and tried to pick up a couple hints about improving paddling efficiency.  They seemed to be working.  I’ll put a link at the end.

Once I was up beyond the Big Bend, I switched to a two-blade Bending Branches paddle for faster bracing, if needed, and popped the sail.  Falling off on a port broad reach, the sail immediately added a big boost to the ride.  Without paddling, I was sailing 3.8 to a bit over 4.  An occasional half-hearted paddle stroke held it over 4.  I practiced some with bracing and balancing to meet the force of gusts in the sail.  Gusts would put the bow up on a boiling bow wave.  It was exciting, but the wind would then soften and the ride would slow.  The nicest thing about the experience was that the rig was self-tending.  I didn’t have to do much of anything in return for the ride, which is a big improvement over my WindPaddle, which I find I have to fiddle with way too much to keep it drawing.

After getting back to the ramp, and with the wind now even a bit stronger, I decided to duck into a quiet cove for a picture, and then turn and try sailing back upwind.  The sail was trimmed all the way in.  With the sail’s deep draft, close hauled would be impossible, but the draft is needed for other points of sail.  I suspect it also helps maintain drive in a chop.  Watching for the sail to draw, I realized I could hold a close reach.  I would manage 1.9 paddling without the sail, but setting the sail on the same heading would then give me 3.9 mph.  I was paddling, but lightly, and with the pull of the sail, found the strokes very light for going to weather.  There is leeway without a board, of course, but the leeway was much less than I expected, and I was clearly making steady headway upwind.  Keep in mind that this was all under first-trial conditions.  I’m sure that I can do better with practice, and then I’ll try to put some real numbers on the points of sail and leeway.  In all, the Falcon Sail is great and does all the builder claims it will.  Best of all, it was a blast.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nige Ayers' Video Blog

Credit: Nige Ayers

Allow me to introduce Nige Ayers, a Facebook friend from England.  If you don't know him, it's about time to make his acquaintance.  He is a biker, hiker, paddler who does a couple video blog posts a week, what he calls his vlog.  By whatever mode of self-propulsion, he will take you through some really beautiful countryside and small towns, the likes of which you won't see here in the states.  One thing I really enjoy is that the countryside and roadsides always appear to be clean, something else you will never see here in the states.  He puts a lot of work into his posts, which I think we all do, but he sees so little feedback, participation, and subscription to his videos, that he gets a bit down at the mouth occasionally.  To help turn his frown upside-down, please check out his Facebook, vlog, and subscribe.  And, here's an added advantage.  While you're at it, you can just go ahead and subscribe to Log of Ibi as well.  We'll try to keep you informed and entertained.  Cheers.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Paddling is a Lot Like Sex

Credit: Google Images

Way back in October, 2005, SAILING magazine carried an article by Chris Caswell titled, “Sailing is a lot like sex if you take your time.”  I enjoyed the article so much I tore it out, folded it about six times so it would fit in my wallet, and have been carrying it around ever since.  In the intervening 11 years, we have moved to the Great American Desert, which put pay to sailing, and have reverted to our early days of canoeing to stay on the water.  Reading it again, I find the comparison applies to paddling as well sailing, so offer the following.  I’ve changed it substantially, so don’t have to worry about plagiarism claims, but since the subject idea and development were Mr. Caswell’s, I offer him his due.

Here is the comparison of paddling and sex, and how, in many cases, paddling is better and safer.
Like sex,
--paddling is better if you take your time.  It is better if you linger.  Indeed, unlike sex, you can continue paddling all day, all week, all month.
--you don’t have to really know how it all works to still enjoy it.  You can do your strokes all wrong and still enjoy the ride.
--no matter how many books you read or whitewater classes you take, the best way to learn is still by doing it, over and over again.
--some people are naturals, while no matter how hard they try, others will always be hackers.  That’s just the way it is.
--some paddlers have a freight canoe, and others have a surf ski.
--some paddlers like to talk, even brag, about their exploits.  However, most admire the strong silent types that just go out and do it well.
--the ones that complain the most about the weather, the bugs, the raccoons and bears, and seem to have the worst time, are still the ones that tell the wildest stories around the campfire.
--paddling alone is simpler and faster, but nowhere near as much fun.

Unlike sex,
--it isn’t scandalous to go paddling with a crowd or someone else’s paddling partner.
--you can ask strangers to go paddling without getting slapped.
--you can take children paddling without getting arrested or having to enter a national registry.
--you can take all the secretaries in the office paddling without being sued for sexual harassment. 
--if you feel you need to learn how to do it better, you can ask for guidance and advice without blushing.  Indeed, many will give you advice before you ask.
--you can solicit the services of a paddling pro without getting arrested by the vice squad.
--no one will think you kinky or start rumors about you because you went paddling.
Best of all, unlike sex, paddling is something you can enjoy just as much at 90 years of age as at 19, and without taking Viagra.

Both, however, are a lot safer with personal protection.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Falcon Sail Installation

 I was very impressed with the Falcon Sail kit from the moment I picked up the box at the post office.  The attention to detail is reflected not only in the quality of the sail, spars, rigging, hardware, fittings, etc., but also in the details related to shipping and assembly.  When shipped, each component is heat-sealed in its own plastic bag.  Each component or portion of the rig, from standing rigging, boom vang, sail tie-downs, fairleads and pad eyes, etc., come in their own appropriately sized zip-lock bag.  As long as you don’t open more than one bag at a time, there is no possibility of getting parts confused, and one can be confident that everything needed for that assembly is included, right down to every screw, bolt, nut, and washer.  One bag had additional instructions included applicable to that installation.  I thought the attention to detail was amazing when I saw the Allen wrench in its own little bag.  It isn’t even part of the install, but is included in the event that the set screw holding the mast onto the mast step, which is supposed to be finger-tight, becomes too tight to undo.  But then I saw the last little bag.  All the bags are labeled, as was this one.  It read, “Falcon Sails, Nail for hanging sail/storing sail.”  Yes, a nail is even included to hang the sail by the eyelet installed in the head of the sail for when the rig is not in use.  Unfortunately you have to provide your own wall or stud to put the nail in.

Rig and sail furled and out of the way for paddling.

To accompany all the components and the sail are 19-pages of instructions with color illustrations.  A repeated theme throughout the instructions is safety.  There are recommendations that some of the rigging parts, like the boom vang, not be used right away, but after some practice and experience is acquired.  A template is provided that can be taped to the deck once the mast location is determined to help in aligning the shrouds and stays.  Some thought and planning will undoubtedly need to go into the placement of deck hardware, but the photographs help the new sail owner picture how previous applications have been done, so the rest is just a matter of common sense.  The bottom line is that with the help provided by Falcon Sail’s owner, Patrick Forrester, the installation was fun.  Now, it’s just a matter of getting on the water and having some of that fun the sail was intended for.  In other words, there’s more to follow.

With the sail set.  The mast is supposed to be raked (leaning aft).  It 
looked like it was in the shop, but in the open, the mast is clearly erect.
A bit of fiddling is part of any tuning process, and just part of 
getting to know the rig.