Awesome Until the End — Longest Day Ever on the Water

October 22, 2017

It was truly awesome.  The owner of Synergy, a boat on the even side of the C dock inspired me.  He had sailed on October 20th all the way across the bay to Hog Island.  While I knew I couldn’t make it that far and back in only 4-6 hours I still decided to head out as far as I could go today.  It worked.  While I didn’t have the time he had, I managed to go pretty far on the same heading and into the bay.

Another goal was to go full sail and really work on sail trim using the telltales.  It has been more difficult than I thought to use the old “let out the sheet until the sail starts to luff” because the sails just aren’t luffing very much with a steady wind.  Something that has always annoyed me is that it seems like I’m bobbing up and down while the other boats sail by smoothly.  I will say that a couple of people commented on how well my boat was moving, one verbally, and other with a thumbs up as I was going out and he was coming in.  I must be doing something right.

Of course, the bummer was that when I finally decided to come back in, the wind speed plummeted while I was way out in the bay, so I had to motor for about an hour to get back in, which was really unpleasant.  Still, it was the longest single sailing day I’ve ever had.  And I even enjoyed much of it in the silence without the radio or music to listen to.  It was worth it.

Engine                                     1.5 hours

Sails                                        Full sails after going out reefed

Chop, current                         Chop of about 2 feet; current moderate to strong

Wind                                       7-10

Time                                       6.5 hours

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Just Not Enough

October 21, 2017

Took off after a home volleyball match and while a slow day on the water is still better than a great day other places, it was still a bit disappointing.  I sat leeward the whole time and just played with the wind, at least acknowledging the peace that comes with a vessel that runs on wind power.

Engine                                     45 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails

Chop, current                         Low chop; current low

Wind                                       2-5 mph

Time                                       3 hours

Patience Pays Off

October 18, 2017

First went out with the engine then the wind died completely.  I went out a little farther and got a wonderful call from my daughter while I was using the engine to head out to the bay, since it looked like other people were doing rather well out there.  Wind picked up during her phone call, and I was able to head out well into the bay, enjoying every minute.  Once I was about a half mile past the buoy that marked the entrance to the bay, I decided I’d turn back,. Which I did for a while.  Then another boat went out and I decided, why not?  So I headed out another miles or so before turning right around.  I was almost able to sail completely into the basin, but the wind was just too finicky by that time.

Lots of good and smart sailing;

Patience really does pay off sometime.

Engine                                     30 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails

Chop, current                         Chop of about 2 feet; current moderate

Wind                                       4-7 mph

Time                                       3 hours

Just Barely Enough

October 10, 2017

Very light winds.  I played with the wind just enough to make it worthwhile, by sitting on the leeward side pretty much the entire time.  I did get some action on an area of the river near the west basin, and played that as much as I could before finally heading successfully toward the bay using the engine.  Once there, the wind died again, though finally came back enough for fun.  Though it was an awful lot of work for a very short period of time.

Engine                                     45 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails

Chop, current                         Low chop, medium current

Wind                                       Very low, <5

Time                                       3 hours

Questionable Decision

October 1, 2017

Well, I definitely should have gone out earlier. Though the need to fill up the fuel tank and leaving the house later than usual made that impossible.  I finally saw a neighboring boat, Synergy leaving.  It’s a beautiful boat — a cutter — and I’d never seen it out before.  They headed out toward the breakwater before I could get going.  I decided to keep the sail reefed because I didn’t know what to expect out there.  After raising the main, I headed out into what was pretty strong current.  It was strong enough, in fact, that I had to shift toward the bridge to get any movement at all, and I felt like I wasn’t making any headway whatsoever as I tacked back and forth, hoping to get to the bay.  That’s where I saw other sailboats moving with full sails, and also where I thought I saw Synergy.

I finally made the decision to furl the Genoa and use the engine to get to the bay directly, like lots of other boats do. Once I got close, I shut off the engine, and nothing.  The wind had died down so much that I couldn’t get much of anywhere.  Now, I did play a bit with trying to catch the wind, and I did for a while.  I of course went to full sails, which helped some, but my opportunity to sail much at all went away.  I did see another boat from the marina — Finesse — which was nice, and I think they  may have had a spinnaker.  That was a dead giveaway; when you see that many boats with spinnakers flying, you know the wind has died.  Finally, after about 2.5 hours of trying, I gave up.

I might have done better earlier in the day, but I certainly can’t say that for sure.

Engine                                     45 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails after going out reefed

Chop, current                         Chop of about 2 feet; current moderate to strong

Wind                                       6-8, then very low

Time                                       3 hours

Took A While

September 24, 2017

It seemed better for us to get out earlier rather than later because the winds were going to die down later.  We went out, and it seemed like the wind would be okay — until we stopped the engine, and were in irons at every point of sail  Eventually, we decided to head out to the bay using Hercules, who performed admirably.  We did this because two other boats did it and the skippers just appeared to be more experienced than me.  However, once we were almost to the bay markers, I still couldn’t catch the wind, and decided to head back toward the marina.  It was very frustrating.

Perhaps a half nautical mile away from the marina, the wind picked up, and we started to ride it.  And we rode the wind back and forth for another 2-2.5 hours.  Mind you, the wind remained light, and I sat on the leeward side almost all of the time, but it still qualified as a decent day sailing.

Engine                                     45 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails

Chop, current                          Low for both

Wind                                       Low then up to about 5

Time                                       4 hours

Watch the Water

September 17, 2017

The wind was light today, light enough and in specific directions that my wife and I didn’t get to the bay.  That wasn’t necessarily a problem, just makes the sailing a little different is all.  There were far fewer sailboats out than I thought would be out given the time of mid Sunday morning.  Those few who were out didn’t do any better than us.  The power boats were out, though, and while they weren’t particularly numerous, those that were out were going at incredible speeds.  This was probably the time I saw more powerboats really gunning their engines than ever before — perhaps because so few of them were out. In any case, that made the chop and wake a heck of a lot harder to manage.

I made a special effort to work on balancing the sails, which seemed to work, though even working this hard, the current prevented me from getting to the bay.  As we were finally coming in and the wind had died, I did notice that we were motoring on pretty smooth water, while the water between the marina and the bridge was still rippling, indicating that we could have sailed there.  We actually had done so for a bit, but I’m not fond of sailing near the bridge because of the chop beneath it and the powerboats that often make even bigger wakes by the bridge as well.

Definitely worth it.

Engine                                     40 minutes

Sails                                        Full sails

Chop, current                          Moderate, with strong current

Wind                                       3-5, then 0

Time                                       3 hours