In search of unusual sensations, sailing connects us with nature: the pleasure of the breeze on our face and the adrenaline of its winds.
In San Martín de los Andes
, Lake Lácar is the host of several kinds of adventures. It is majestic and captivating to see sailing boats go across its waters carried away by its currents.
We resolved to go out and build our own experience. Once on board the sailing boat owned by Manuel Benzi, an experienced helmsman, we followed his orders and set out. We soon became aware of how difficult it is to steer a boat.
We left the pier using the power of the engine to allow a faster move. As we went away from the shore, we got a different perspecive: the mountains and the Seven-Lake Road
seemed to wrap us up.
Then Manuel came into action. He moved from one point of the boat to the other. He moved fast but with confidence. He released the sails and secured the ropes. When the main sail was in position, we could see and hear it flutter as it did its job. Afterwards, the genoa was ready and the vessel was able to start bordering Mount Bandurrias. From that point onwards, the west wind would set its direction. For a moment, everything around us was silence.
We came across other sailing boats in the bay. Manuel had friendly chats with the other sailors showing comradeship with those who share the same passion for this sport. Trim, tacking and gybing, reefing and heeling were some of the technical words we heard to describe maneuvers.
As we tacked around the mountain, the wind showed its force and determination. Dead calm changed into intense gusts and Manolo acted accordingly. He calmed us down by saying sailors can face any weather condition. We made sure we did not invade his space as he moved around the boat to tighten or loosen the ropes windward and leeward.
We sailed alongside the coastline drawing a z shape on the water to take advantage of the prevailing wind. We watched for the main sail above our heads, which moved from one side to the other after each maneuver. We could see the water body become darker and darker due to the soft waves. This was a sign of a change in the intensity of the wind.
During the voyage, all sounds were related: the water moving, the ropes swishing, the sails fluttering. We were impressed by all these demanding sounds. The expertise of the skipper was at stake and maintaining control of the boat was becoming more hazardous.
The thrill, the strong wind and a short moment of calm followed. As the boat keeled, the water played games on the rail and on us. “I have ridden a horse but I feel my boat is a living being that moves below my legs”, Manolo said enthusiastically about his job as helmsman of the Bilkisnerr.
This yachtsman used to seas, rivers and lakes took us back safely to the pier where we had boarded the boat. But there was something different now. We had had the chance to see a sailor in action, steering his boat under any circumstance and making his passengers feel safe and confident.