We Have a Winner — and Only One Small Casualty

May 27, 2012


This was actually a good day.  I had spent all day Saturday deciding what to throw away and what to take on our upcoming move to Frederick where I will be taking a new job and my daughter will be starting high school.  Taking Ilya out on Sunday was my reward.  After all, our son was heading to his church friends and my wife and daughter were headed to Annapolis to shop.  What’s a frustrated sailor to do?  Obviously, head to the marina.


I arrived later in the morning that I had envisioned, and once I started getting things set up to sail, I realized that I had not brought along my sail stop.  And you certainly can’t expect the slugs to stay in the track on the mast without the sail stop, which necessitated heading home again and losing about 30-40 minutes.  Oh well, stuff happens.  Once I returned, I put on the sail, deciding up front to string the single line reefing system for one reef point, and once I felt I was ready, I headed out (bumping along the port piling on the way out.)  With the new windex at the top of the mast, I had a much better sense of where the wind was coming from, and therefore, how I have to trim the sails to move with it.  That made the day of sailing much, much easier than any I’ve had in a while.  I noticed that the wind was coming almost from West Basin across the river, so once I was far enough out, I turned back toward the marina and raised the reefed main — and promptly realized that I made the same mistake with the reefing system that I made last year.  What I failed to do was to rig the system so that the reefing lime served as an outhaul for the main.  So, I managed to re-reef the sail while still in the water so it would function properly.  I’m sure some people wondered why my main was all scrunched up, but no matter.  Once it was up, I sailed with reasonable confidence back and forth across the river.  Still, I wanted to get to the bay, so I tried tacking back and forth — not one of my fortes yet, but I’m workin’ on it — and used the motor a couple of times.  Finally, on one of my tacks I lost my favorite sailing hat, from Nautica.  Mind you, I started the engine and went back and forth a few times hoping to snag it, but finally I lost sight of it and had to count it as a casualty.


Once I gave up the hat as lost, I decided to get more serious about tacking up toward the bay, and really used the windex to ensure that I was sailing as close to the wind as possible.  One thing I also discovered with the windex is that the marina staff made the angle of the two indicators too close — perhaps a 45-60 degree angle.  In my case, this meant that I was assuming that if the back of the windex arrow was still outside the indicators, I was okay, but I was actually almost in irons — which happened a couple of times on this day.  Finally, I managed to get onto a tack that was pretty much close hauled and made my way toward the bay.  I had a good portion of the jenny out by that time, and chose to just keep the main the way it was.  I went along at a pretty good clip (slower than most other sailors, but I think I did well anyway), and managed to get past Drum Point without much difficulty, and missed a whole mess of crab pots along the way.  When I finally felt I had proved enough to myself, I turned back home, riding pretty much the same tack most of the way in, and challenged myself to heel the boat a bit more.  I finally lowered the sail with some difficulty (since I hadn’t sprayed the track with McLube yet) and started toward the marina dealing with a rather strengthening current and more wave height along the way.  Fortunately, the current wasn’t much in the marina area itself, and I made my way to the fairway rather easily, and got myself backed in toward the slip as well.  There, a new neighbor took out his boat hook and handed me my stern lines and two starboard lines from the finger pier, which I happily and graciously accepted.  After a really good day on the water, I didn’t want to mar it by having a difficult docking experience.


My only caution was the squishy sound I heard when I walked over what is the swing keel trunk.  I really don’t want something big like that to mar the entire season.


Film at 11 on that!


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