July 18, 2011
The weather on Sunday just wasn’t favorable for sailing, so my wife offered to get our son to and from his Driver’s Ed class, so my daughter and I could go sailing. And you’d better believe I thanked her profusely for that. And since Screwpile (http://www.screwpile.net/) is held this week, this may be our only time until the weekend to go out.
After heading to Wawa for hoagies, we arrived at the marina to see very few boats out on the water, and a number of the sailboats has Screwpile 2011 numbers and stickers on them. I wondered if today was one of the race days, since I hadn’t experienced them before. We got ourselves out of the slip easily, especially since my daughter’s gotten the routine down pretty well and we began motoring out to the breakwater. I had one of those “it’s too — quiet” moments as we moved through the breakwater and into the river. There was only one small powerboat ahead of us and what looked like a few race markings on the water. It just seemed so strange that a night with decent — maybe 8 miles an hour — winds and no boats out, but we continued on. Throughout the whole two hours, we saw only one other sailboat under sail on the river, a couple under power, and a number of small and medium size power boats, some just quietly fishing, others moving more rapidly, and one personal water craft.
Fortunately, we were able to raise the main all the way to the top, and we started sailing with just the main at first, then finally raised the jib. We sailed back and forth across the river from West Basin Marina to Solomons. While doing so, we were going about 3-4 knots at times, maybe faster, but I don’t have any machine or indicator on the boat to help with that. I will say that I experienced probably the most heeling on the boat ever, and while I got a bit anxious, I discovered something, actually two things. First, one way to control my reaction to the heeling is to keep a steady course rather than adjust constantly. The second thing is that my little homemade self-steering mechanism can often steer a course better than I can. So, instead of taking the self-steering off when the winds are a tad high, it may be better to have it on for better control. Who woulda thunk it? I even tightened the main to go faster and stop luffing, how about that!?
We variously had both sails up, then just the main, and really had no trouble except for a little fierce wind on the jib on the way back from Solomons. That’s when my daughter decided she really did want sailing gloves.
As we got close to the marina on the way back, we heaved to in order to lower the main. The only problem with this was once the main was lowered, the jib was backed and my daughter couldn’t do much about that by herself. Plus, since I was taking my sweet time putting on sail ties, we ended up a farther distance away from the marina than we wanted. This did give her a chance, however, to motor the boat all the way into our fairway before I took over.
A good 90-120 minutes total experience and we got in at a really nice time, about 7:45 pm.