Sailing Log:  5/17/03 & 5/18/03

All week long since launch, we had been stuck in one of those gray weather patterns that seem to always outstay their welcome.  Gray, drizzly, foggy, and in the 40s.  Yuck.

Saturday, though, dawned bright and sunny--though still a bit on the chilly side.  The northeasterly winds of the week were supposed to shift to the southeast during the day, which promised to provide good sailing winds.  I arrived at the boat at about 1030 to find absolutely no wind, so I fiddled with some small projects while impatiently awaiting  a breeze.  At almost exactly noon, the first ripplings of the wind arrived, and I set the main and departed the mooring almost immediately.  It was a little difficult getting the boat to head in the right direction, since she had been facing the opposite direction when the wind arrived, and, in typical Triton fashion, stubbornly refused to swing head to wind.  I couldn't wait, so I managed to drop the mooring and get the boat facing in a clear direction anyway.

The light wind steadily increased to perhaps 12 knots--the perfect wind speed for a Triton.  Full sail, with the rail remaining dry.  I was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt--much like UPS drivers, the onset of the sailing season pretty much means that I will be in shorts and bare feet for the duration, whether or not the weather is really conducive--and found the southeast sea breeze to be a mite chilly.  Not too bad, though.  I was (gasp!) forced to put on a flannel shirt, though.

I had a great sail around the bay, enjoying several different points of sail, before heading back to the mooring after about 3 hours.  I forgot my camera, so there are no pictures from the day.  There were very few boats out and about, so that made the day even more enjoyable.  Heather and Nathan on Dasein sailed by on the way in from their own sail, and we all commented that the day was nearly perfect, but that another 10 or 15 degrees of warmth might be nice.  Our wishes were to be granted for Sunday, as it turned out.

Sunday felt like a summer day right from the getgo--you know how those summer days feel when you get up, even early in the morning?  This was one of them.  Bright sun, dark blue sky, and even though the day started off cool, there was that feeling in the air that it was going to be warm.  You can just tell.

Since there was no wind yet, I didn't rush down to the boat, but by 1000 I had had all I could stand and just had to go.  When I arrived at the boat, I could see some faint wind lines far out in the distance, so even though it was flat calm at the mooring I knew the wind would be there soon, so I prepared the boat, and after only a few minutes there was enough wind to set sail. 

lightstuff.JPG (145005 bytes)I enjoy light air sailing.  I find the notion of getting a boat moving--and then keeping her moving--despite the light breezes to be an excellent challenge.  Sure, heavy wind brings its own challenges, but it's the light stuff that stops most people in their tracks.  I seek it out and coddle it.  Light wind is my friend, and I enjoy coaxing the tenths of a knot of speed out of the boat--all the more so in a heavier boat like a Triton.

The breeze began as barely enough to ripple the water, but I had Glissando ghosting along at more than a knot.  Tacking required slow movements, and a very gentle turn to maintain the speed as much as possible.  Momentum is king in the light stuff.  Soon, though, the wind began building a bit, and was soon up at around 8 knots or so--a pleasant light wind.  As usual with the prevailing wind direction in the bay, the shore of Clapboard Island was favored, and by tacking up as close to the southerly ledges as beating1.JPG (147059 bytes)possible, I gained good ground to windward.  I love sailing closehauled when the wind is still light enough that you're not beating your head into the ground.  After about 18 knots, when the waves get bigger and the boat slams into them, spraying everything with cold water, it tends to lose some of its appeal in anything but short, exhilarating burst.  But in 8 or 12 knot winds, it's a true pleasure.  Beating is the most technical aspect of sailing, and it's fun to play around.

hussey1.JPG (155590 bytes)After a fun beat past the southern end of the island and up to the far side of Hussey Sound, I eased the sails and started a reach back to the north.  I thought I saw Dasein back in the general direction I had come from, so I gybed and reached back that way.  But as I got nearer, I realized I had been mistaken, so I headed up again and basically repeated my earlier course towards the Hussey for a while before cracking off once again and heading towards Basket Island.

asuglyastheyget.JPG (151607 bytes)My lovely reach was only interrupted as one of the ugliest boats ever passed by.  If there are uglier boats than this, I don't want to know.  I just feel compelled to share the ugliness with all of you.  Why should I be the only one to enjoy such a feast for the eyes?

I thought it would be fun to see if Dasein was out and about, so I circled in towards the anchorage to see.  As I approached, they were just getting underway in the very light winds inside the island.  However, I seemed to bring some of the wind with me as I sailed in, and soon the breeze filled in once again.  We traded tacks for several minutes, and I managed to snap a number of pictures of Dasein, some of which were pretty good.  

IM007328.JPG (145464 bytes)     IM007329.JPG (147825 bytes)     IM007330.JPG (144527 bytes)     IM007331.JPG (148890 bytes)

IM007333.JPG (177482 bytes)For the record, I find it important to note that, after these photos were taken, I continued sailing on the opposite tack for a spell before tacking over; Dasein continued in the same direction as seen above, before tacking several hundred yards away.  When we crossed again a few minutes later, I was well "in the lead".  :<)  However, at this time we split, and chose different directions around Clapboard island.

When we met again at the southern end of the island after 30 or so minutes, Nathan managed to get a picture of Glissando under sail.  It's a bit fuzzy, but pretty nice anyway.

boneinteeth.JPG (149744 bytes)
591knots.JPG (185642 bytes)I continued northerly around the island, and enjoyed a simply fantastic reach.  The heaviest winds of the day were present here, and I hit continually higher speeds as I went, topping out close to 6 knots.  What a blast.

I had been sailing for about 4 hours, so reluctantly I headed in.  I picked up the mooring under sail in a very light breeze, put the boat to bed, and took care of a couple chores, most notably whipping the ends of the jib sheets where they attach to the clew; one of them had become frayed.

I'll place my standing order now for more days like this.  It would be difficult to improve upon this weather.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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