How Big Were Those Waves Again?

August 29, 2015

I thought the winds were supposed to peak at 9 mph, and I thought the seas would be relatively light, and I thought it would be a simple afternoon on the water. In fact, I was so convinced about the winds that I almost shook out the reef before leaving the slip.

What I got was a lot more work than I expected. The wind was coming almost directly from the direction of the marina, so I knew I could turn into the wind, raise the main, and head on a nice beam reach toward the bay and easily miss the shore that was my bane the previous week. It wasn’t quite that easy. I deployed the genoa and made what felt like slow progress toward the bay. The reason was the very strong cross current that just continued throughout the sail. My speed got up to a maximum of 5.4 knots, but it felt like I was just slogging forward.

I continued to the bay, and eventually furled the genoa because it just seemed like it was making the boat unstable. I noticed many of the other boats doing the same thing, so I didn’t feel like such a wuss. At some point, I noticed the seas and waves getting much higher, like 4 feet, and the rocking became really unpleasant, so much so that I headed back in. One very nice powerboater, with the name “Kiki’s Tiki,” a really large boat that has a slip in my marina, was taking its time going slowly toward the marina so as not to create too large a wake. Shortly afterwards, another boat came by doing the exact opposite thing. Thank you Kiki’s Tiki!

While heading back, I noticed that I seemed pretty unstable and rocking, while a Capri 26 Catalina was much more stable (it seemed) and going faster. Well, that just wasn’t going to do. I unfurled part of the genoa, and kicked it into gear. While I didn’t overtake the Capri, I did get going really fast, and was a bit more stable. I also noticed that at some point, the Capri got really unstable, so I guess that problem didn’t impact me alone.

When I finally started going in, I chose to lower the main as far as it would after failing to sail into the marina, and found I could only lower the main within the marina waters — not my favorite method, but it worked and I got back safely.

I’m sure glad I didn’t shake out that reef….


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