September 24, 2016
This should have been a better day, and it was. The wind started out light even for me, but I was still reluctant to raise the main fully. That eventually turned out to be a fine decision: I could have shaken it out, but I really didn’t have to. I mean, the wind did die down, but I’m not convinced that having the main at full would have made much difference.
The wind was very odd. In the beginning, I could only sail back and forth in the river, kind of in front of the marina, but since I am very uncomfortable heading toward the bridge, I thought it best to try to head to the bay. After several tacks and playing with the wind episodes, including direction changes of almost 90 degrees (seriously!) I made my way into the bay, just as the wind was dying. To be fair, it was dying as I moved toward the bay, and the smart sailor would have taken that as a sign to turn back in, but that’s hardly me (the smart sailor, I mean), so I stayed in the entrance to the bay far too long, and had to motor all the way back in, though I allowed myself to ghost for quite awhile, even once I lowered the main and had only the Genoa deployed.
It might have been possible to sail slowly back toward the marina, but I doubt it, given how light the winds had become.
On the way back in, Hercules performed well, but that was partly because I put very minimal pressure on the throttle so it kept up the rpms. When I finally left off some of the pressure, it began to sound like it was missing. I still did okay, until I lowered it to an idle and reversed. The reverse kept trying to stall, and there’s nothing more nerve wracking than an engine stalling in the fairway when anything — boats, piers, etc. — can get lamed into.
After gunning the reverse gear several times, I backed into the slip, but I still don’t know what’s going on with Hercules. I was more confident coming back in but now much less confident once back in the marina.
Engine: 40 minutes
Sails: Reefed main, mostly full Genoa
Chop, current Moderate, 1-2 feet
Wind Peaking at 10, then dead
Time 4 hours