June 19, 2011
Honestly and truly, I didn’t set out to go sailing on Sunday. Mind you, I wanted to, but given the forecast of rain and almost no wind (really — the forecast said 5 mph going toward calm), I figured I wouldn’t move anyway. So instead, I thought I would go to the marina to work on the lines. What I wanted to do was to change how I attached myself to the dock. Specifically, I wanted to have the lines attached to the dock so that I only had to put the pre-spliced loop onto the boat cleat and I would be done. This is as opposed to attaching the loop to the dock cleat and having to figure out how much of the line to attach to the boat. All in all, it should make docking easier, with the possible exception that there will be a little less line to have someone throw to the boat when I’m docking. I also may have to use the boat hook to grab the lines, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Anyway, I had just about finished fixing up the lines and trying to figure out how to attach the anchor to the bow sprit, and it was time to go home. But of course, I kept looking at the wind sock and it seemed to be getting a bit windier. Eventually, I just gave up and decided to go out. Getting out of the slip was one of the worst I’ve had, and I think I’m going to try to just drift even farther before I use the engine to avoid hitting the shroud — they’re not designed to take too much punishment, after all.
Well, I got out into the river, put up the jib, which filled nicely, then heaved to to raise the main. It didn’t take too much time for me to have both sails up. Now, that says nothing at all about the wind actually moving me anywhere. In truth, I made about as much progress as I did with my son the day before, and it wasn’t as much fun as sailing with him, but for awhile, I got moving pretty nicely, and I would never have believed it given the weather report. Actually, I made pretty good progress toward the bay under sail alone, so that was nice too.
Something I also thought about was Hercules. I’ve noticed that almost every outboard engine from the other boats in the marina is lifted first up, then tilted totally out of the water, yet I couldn’t figure out how to tip Hercules that way. Tipping the engine up can make a real difference in sailing, since I can always hear the propeller being dragged through the water, so it must be adding drag to the boat. I noticed there is a bar on the engine front with a Master lock through it. It’s occurred to me that once I unlock that bar, I should be able to tip Hercules out of the water both at the slip and while we’re sailing, so look out!
Coming back into the slip was pretty smooth because I took my time. I’ll bet part of my problem when I left the slip was that I was in a hurry, and as many people say rushing is a sailor’s biggest challenge. When I got back in, I started backing in, and grabbed the starboard bow line. Then, I began backing slowly toward the back of the slip, and once I got there, I grabbed the forward spring line and attached it, quickly added the second spring line, then simply turned the engine off. I was still slanted in the slip, and quickly got out and attached the two stern lines, one by getting out and throwing it toward the boat and the other by using the boat hook. Then, I went forward and eventually attached the port bow line. It was actually pretty good. One key is simply getting the boat to more or less stop to give you time to attach a couple of lines, and that’s about all you have to do to get in before you cut the engine.