Log for 6/6/01

After a lousy weekend, the weather decided to be a little better this week.  After a morning working, I headed out to the boat, ostensibly to do some work.  Yeah, right!  As soon as I got to the yacht club, it was obvious that I was going sailing.  This would be my first time sailing the boat alone, but it seemed to be a good day for it.  The wind from the northwest at about 10 knots gusting to 20, with bright sun occasionally occluded by puffy cumulus clouds.  Gorgeous.  I only hoped it wasn't one of those winds that was going to die as the afternoon wore on--I guess I could use the engine in an emergency, but I'm not comfortable using it in the current condition.  (Here)

I raised the main and was off.  It was easy to sail a way from the mooring.  I sailed under main alone for a couple minutes, till I pretty much cleared the outer ring of boats.  Then, I unrolled the genoa.  Away!  I had a nice refreshing Coke at my side (the icebox is really holding ice well) and the sun was warm on my face.  I played around with the sails a little, and tried to find the best sitting position.  I ended up on the leeward side for the moment, fussing with the jib sheet and sailing to the telltales.

Wham!  A gust hit, which I was totally unprepared for.  The boat heeled briskly, and my soda went flying, filling the scuppers with the stick stuff.  Of course, my brand new boom vang line was in the same corner of the cockpit.  Lovely.  Fortunately, the spill was well contained, and I kept sailing for a while on he same tack while I sorted things out.  I was able to grab some paper towels near the companionway to clean up the spill, and I threw the tail of the boom vang line overboard to help wash out the Coke.  Then, it was time to get down to the business of sailing.

With the boat pointing nicely and moving at between 5 and 6 1/2 knots, I sailed northeast, between Basket and Sturdivant islands, and towards the power plant on Cousins--our friendly blight on the landscape.  From there, I tacked onto starboard tack,  and sailed towards the mainland and then on the inside of Sturdivant--you can speedo1.jpg (130409 bytes)only sail in there when the wind is northwest and fairly strong; otherwise, it's really fluky, and can be frustrating as anything.  Reaching over towards Sturdivant, I hit my maximum speed of the day--6.77 knots.  I couldn't record it on film in time, but I did catch 6.6 a few moments later, as seen in the photo.  

bay1-60601.JPG (151824 bytes)I sailed past the end of the island, enjoying the low-key reach and watching the scenery.  I feel very lucky to live here...Casco bay is a great place to sail.  There are so many islands that it is completely protected from the ocean and the swells, unless you want to head out there, which is easy enough.  From here to points east, most of the sailing is in protected waters, with only occasional jaunts outside required.  South of Portland is another story, with a fairly bold coastline punctuated only by narrow harbors set deep into rivers or nooks and crannies in the coast.

I sailed past the anchorage at Falmouth Foreside, where I keep my boat, and decided to keep going for a while.  I had a pleasant sail for another couple miles past, then turned around and beat/close reached back towards the mooring area.  It was too early to head in, so I continued on for a while, then turned around and sailed back--a reach both ways.  What could be better?

As I headed back to the mooring, of course the wind became lighter and more fluky, making it more work to get to the ball than it should have been.  To land on the mooring, I generally like to approach from upwind (sailing downwind), let the main all the way out and the vang off (the jib is, of course, already rolled up) and sail just past the ball.  Then, I crank the rudder hard over and turn up into the wind; the hard turn kills the speed effectively, and turning head to wind with the boom let all the way out allows the sail to easily luff.  In general, this works very well.  Of course, being new to the boat, I haven't yet got the way she reacts down pat, and I misjudged how quickly the speed would be killed--the boat didn't quite drift up to the mooring before the wind took over and pushed her bow off.  Fortunately, I was able to trim the main in and still make it up.  Hey, it's my first time doing it alone on this boat!

Another extremely pleasant and successful sail--so much so that when Heidi got home from work, we went out and did it all over again, only with even a little more wind, surprisingly.  All in all, it was my kind of day--going for a great sail, twice!


Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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