Sailing Log for 5/14/03

I had an unexpected free day--a job canceled--so of course I headed out to the boat.  Again on this day, as with the whole week, the weather seemed iffy, and was gray and chilly.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out to the boat, but of course after a few hours at home taking care of odds and ends, I couldn't stand it.

IM007125.JPG (177809 bytes)I arrived at the boat with dark overcast and a chill wind out of the northeast, and set to work finishing up connecting the mast wiring, installing pins and cotter rings in the turnbuckles and some other miscellaneous jobs.  By the time I finished, I realized that it had gotten rather nice out--warmer, at least, and the wind contained less of a harsh quality somehow.  For a time, I stood around on the boat, just absorbing the quiet and sort of sniffing out the wind.  But it soon became apparent that I was being called out to go for a sail.  You just can't ignore such calls, so I prepared the boat for sailing, while the clouds continued to brighten overhead.

sail1-51403.JPG (146279 bytes)With a winter stick on the mooring right behind me, and a stiff current--combined with light wind and the Triton's general reluctance to get moving from a standstill, I decided, reluctantly, to fire up the diesel to help me get away from the mooring.  I typically prefer to sail in and out, but what can you do.  I released the mooring and backed away, and within a few moments rolled out the genoa and was sailing!  I let the engine run for a few minutes, but soon tired of it and shut it down.  Ahh.  There was no one else out, except for a small S2 way down at the other end of the anchorage.   I went the other direction.  It's amazing how natural sailing always feels, even the first time after 7 months of winter storage.  (Boy, I hate writing that!  It seems even longer than it is when I write it out. 7 months out...5 months in.  There's something wrong with that!)

With the light wind, I took the opportunity to play with some of the control lines, move the genoa track leads around, and check out the shape of the rig.  By loosely tying the tiller, I could freely roam the decks for short periods.  I tweaked the outhaul on my newly loose-footed main (modified over the winter) and checked out the modifications to my genoa, which were supposed to help with the lifeline clearance issue from previous years, as well as give me a little more visibility beneath.  To make this change, the sail loft cut a vertical wedge out of the luff of the sail--the effect of which was to supposedly raise the clew a bit, which in turn would raise the entire foot of the sail.

IM007132.JPG (141044 bytes)Well, it made a slight improvement, but not nearly enough.  Sigh.  But I think my days of modifying this sail are over.  It is what it is, and the lesson learned is that you need to be specific about your needs and wants for any sail you order.  Don't assume that the loft is going to build the sail you had in mind--apparently even if you made it very clear to them what you had in mind.  That's what happened here.  Yes, they should have made sure of what they were building before doing so--but at the same time, I should have ensured that they knew what they were building too.  Fortunately, I like the loft and the folks there, and am willing to accept partial blame myself for the sail issues I have had.  But it's obvious now that I need a new genoa in order to accomplish what I really want.  Fair enough.  Now I know what I know, and the next sail will reflect that.

IM007136.JPG (147552 bytes)After several tacks and playing around, I continued on starboard tack beating into the northeast wind towards Cousins Island, with the idea that I would circumnavigate Sturdivant.  (It sounds so impressive to say it that way...it's not a big island, though.)  I even had the pleasure of some unforecast sunny breaks as I sailed along at a couple knots in the very light breeze; with the sun, the day became so pleasant it's hard to express, even though it was still a predominantly cloudy, and chilly, day.

IM007144.JPG (172082 bytes)The wind was variable in speed--sometimes, it died to such an extent that I worried I would have to motor back; other times, it picked up to nearly 10 knots, making for outstanding sailing.  Regardless of the wind strength at any given time, though, the entire sail was an absolute blast, and a total pleasure--and not just because it was the first one.  As I returned on the inside route between Sturdivant and the mainland, I IM007148.JPG (148852 bytes)sailed close by Dasein, Triton 668, which was launched yesterday.  I had had the pleasure of joining Nathan on board for his launch and trip around (virtually the same as my own the day before).  Dasein looks great this year, with new brightwork on deck and a spiffy new sailcover hiding an even spiffier new mainsail, very similar to my own.

After leaving Dasein behind, I realized exactly how strong the current running through the anchorage was!  The wind had almost died, and had actually shifted directions, so even though I was heading close to 180 degrees from the course on which I had left the anchorage a few hours earlier, I still ended up beating.  Weird.  This only happened once I hit the anchorage.  I tacked out of the anchorage to clear my way a bit, as there were still many winter sticks on the moorings, and I chose not to get involved with them.

The wind was so light as I approached my own mooring that I worried that I might not be able to sail in properly, thinking the current might make it tough to make the turn into the wind and pick up the pendant.  My fears were unfounded, though, and I made a good landing under sail.  Reluctantly, I stowed the sails and made things shipshape, and decided that I had to go ashore.  It was about 1530; I'd been aboard for nearly 5 hours. 

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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