Know When to Fold ‘Em

July 1, 2011

My daughter called me to go sailing this afternoon (July 1), so obviously, I both appreciated the gesture and wanted to go as well.  So, we got to the marina, made a few miscalculations because of the strong current, and once we decided to use the starboard bow line as a spring line, we were golden.  She had already taken a reading of the wind, which put it at about 7 knots — nothing big, but enough to get going.  We also got the heading for the wind we once we were beyond the breakwater, we would be able to turn into the wind and raise the main.  I had even reefed the main before we went out (I thought), so I wasn’t worried about a little higher winds.

Well, the winds were a little higher, so I thought putting up the reefed main would be fine.  We tried doing just that, but without the proper reefing tackle, the sail was extremely baggy at the bottom.  When I shook out the reefs, the sail area was just too big.  No matter how I tried to shift our point of sail, it wasn’t working.  And when I turned directly into the wind, we got some really big swells.  These may not have been very big, only a couple of feet or so, but they were enough for both of us to get concerned.  A few milliseconds later, I decided to go in.  We made it easily back to the slip, and even with the current got back rather easily.  We also got some good advice from a neighboring slipholder about spring lines which I intend to implement.

The point of this is I don’t have anything to prove to anybody.  Since I felt a little uncomfortable, and my daughter was very uncomfortable, the decision to go in was very easy to make.  It only occurred to me an hour or so after we were home that we could have used the jib — partially furled — and probably had a decent sail, but I stand by my original decision to come in.   My daughter is my most able and willing sailing companion, and the last thing I want her to do is to question going out with me.

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