First Day Sailing — not a Home run, but probably a base hit with a bunch ‘o walks

May 21, 2011

Getting my son out of bed was challenging as usual, but he is the one member of the family who has the knowledge and lack of fear to help move Ilya from the marina where it was having service to the marina where we have a slip.

The bottom line: we made it in one piece (that’s one piece apiece), with no truly bonehead moves, no injuries, though with some embarrassment – which I’m going to try to let go of, perhaps when I finish writing this.

The people near the slip in the first marina were very helpful, including lending us liquid wrench when we couldn’t loosen the knobs that would let us lower the outboard.  And they helped us launch with little trouble.  Obviously, they didn’t see any significant challenge in the slip location.

Once we got out of the marina, we had about a 30 minute slow motoring to the Patuxent River and actually never got to the bay.  Instead, we tried raising the sail — and promptly found that it was tangled with the sail cradle.  We took down the sail cradle and now had the 6 feet of cord all over the place on both sides of the boat.  It caused several challenges as we tried to sail along.  We then raised the main, and discovered that it wouldn’t quite go to the top, because the halyard was wrapped around itself about 20 feet in the air.  I really didn’t want to try to fix that while on the water, so we had a bag in the bottom the sail the whole time.  Perhaps I should have just reefed it, but I didn’t.  We also had to re-string the starboard jib halyard because of the sail cradle cords.  And because the wind indicators installed on the shrouds weren’t very consistent, we used the engine a number of times just to get ourselves in position since the wide was so light.  (I know, I feel guilty and inadequate, but I’ll have to get over it.)

We actually did sail around kind of in straight lines, then got confused, then went in a different straight line for awhile.  When we were finally a bit tired, we headed to the new marina.  We found the slip, and had only a little trouble backing in.  Where we had trouble was in getting the bow lines attached to the pilings.  We did succeed in doing that after a number of false starts, and considered the day to be better than a draw.

Given that we are still very new at this, I consider it a day that was better than a day on the land would have been.

Three New Items for Checklist:

1. Check the main halyard to ensure that it and the sail cradle aren’t entangled;

2. Note the direction of the wind from both the wind indicators and the compass heading and remember it;

3. Consider a boom kicker.

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