Sailing Logs:  May 30 & 31, 2003

Friday, May 30

After a string of lousy days extending for nearly two weeks, Friday offered a glimmer of hope.  The forecast had been promising sunshine and warmer temperatures, and I hoped to get through with work early enough for a nice afternoon sail.

The day turned out to be somewhat less good than predicted, but still better than it had been.  Despite hit-or-miss showers, it turned out basically OK, and I was indeed done with work early enough to get to the boat by about 1430.  When I got there, the sun was out, but dark clouds were looming to the west.  I briefly considered not going out, but quickly got over that notion--so what if I got wet?  I got the main up in a hurry and headed out.  As I left the anchorage, I noticed Nathan on Dasein sailing slowly towards the anchorage; he had played hooky from work and had been sailing for a few hours (good man).  We met up and sparred with the two boats in the light wind, a fun little in formal match race.  The wind was fairly light, ranging from about 5 knots to perhaps 10 for a few moments, and Dasein had a slight speed advantage, being of substantially lighter weight than Glissando.  Still, the boats were pretty equal, a living testament to the design's load-carrying capability.  I snapped a few pictures of my "trial horse" from various angles as we went.  Probably my dedication to taking pleasing photos to highlight the log is as responsible as anything for the fact that Dasein sailed faster than me!

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The wind--light to begin with--became progressively lighter and lighter, and we eventually found ourselves essentially drifting side by side with the tide.  With no wind in sight anywhere, we were forced to motor in--first time that's happened to me this season.

Saturday, May 31

Unfortunately, Heidi was out of town this weekend, so I headed alone to the boat at about 0930 to take care of a couple projects and, hopefully, to have a nice sail.  Again, as has been the case frequently of late, the weather forecasters had this one all wrong too--but in a good way.   The morning was flat calm, warm, and sunny, and I fiddled with a couple projects on board for a while.  Soon, though, I saw the beginnings of a southeast breeze, so I prepared the sails and waited impatiently for the boat to swing around enough head to wind so that I could easily sail off the mooring--these full keel boats are incredibly stubborn sometimes about swinging into the wind.  After several minutes (10?), I raised the main and departed; it was about 1030, perhaps a bit earlier.  I had so little way on that I feared I would run into one of the other moored boats, so I unrolled the jib to help swing the bow around, and sailed out of the mooring field with no trouble.  I saw Dasein leaving their mooring as well, and sort of sailed in their general direction--though the wind was so light where they were that I decided to stay outside.  We sailed generally in the direction of Portland Harbor, enjoying the pleasant breeze.  As we got closer, the wind got a bit flukier, and Dasein caught up and passed me as I slogged through a deadly hole.  From then, it was all over--I had no prayer of catching up!  Fluky days are like that.  Once you get behind because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, there's no redemption.

I had no idea where Dasein was going, but I decided to basically follow their course, as there was no particular reason not to.  With Dasein about 1/4 mile ahead, we traded tacks up to Diamond Island and around Fort Gorges in the middle of Portland Harbor, continuing across the harbor towards Spring Point.  In the harbor, the heating effect of the islands increased the wind to around 12 knots and funneled it through the passage--just the point where sailing alone under full sail (particularly in a busy place) becomes a challenge, although not an unwelcome one.  With the stronger wind, traffic, and other distractions, I hadn't been able to get below for my chart; fortunately, I know the Portland harbor area fairly well, though I'm not as used to it as other part of the bay where I sail more often.

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Fort Gorges

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Eastern Promenade

whiteheadchart.jpg (91829 bytes)Dodging sailboat, powerboat, and ferry traffic, we crossed the ship channel a few times.  Because Nathan had mentioned it yesterday while we were sailing side-by-side, I wondered if they intended on sailing out the channel--fine by me.  After a couple more tacks, though, it became clear that Dasein was heading for Whitehead passage,  a fun, scenic, and narrow slot between Cushing and Peaks Islands.  I hadn't sailed through there for years.

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Dasein crossing the ship channel
near Cushing Island

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House Island, which features an old granite
fort dating to the early 1800s.

Once inside Whitehead passage, the wind became lighter and flukier, and I stayed as high as I could to ensure that I could make it through on one tack.  The channel is narrow and flanked with rocks.  The passage is named for a rock outcropping on the easterly side of Cushing Island, which naturally looks like an Indian chief.  I actually managed to get a good picture of the profile on my way through.

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Inside Whitehead Passage

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The cool Indian profile in the cliff

Outside the islands, the wind was much lighter.  Still trailing Dasein--even further back now, since I had been stuck in a couple more holes inside the passage--I sailed down the eastern shores of Peaks and Long Islands, passing near my "favorite" house on Hope Island (yuck) before turning into Chandler Cove.  Towards the end of this long, light-air run, the wind got very light and very fluky, and I had some frustrating moments trying to get my jib to fly wing-on-wing.  I think the Sunbrella shield on the leech and foot was just too heavy to allow the jib to fly in such light wind.  After a number of increasingly irritating minutes of trying, I gave up and changed course a bit to try and at least get the jib to fly on the normal side.  This helped a bit, and after a couple minutes I was able to jibe and head into the channel.  As soon as I jibed, things improved, as the wind angle was more favorable.  Once inside Chandler Cove, the island heating effect took charge again, and I experiences the strongest winds of the day.  It felt great to be sailing at 5+ knots again, instead of the laborious 2 knots I experienced over much of the long run--perhaps that was just too much of a good thing.

I enjoyed the remainder of the sail back to the mooring, arriving there at about 1600 (?).  I think the wind was the heaviest of the day as I sailed into the mooring, but I had no trouble picking up under sail. Dasein had increased her lead to about a mile, since she had hit the wind inside Chandler Cove well ahead of me while I still slogged in the light stuff outside, and had sailed the "long way" round Clapboard Island on the way in, while I went the straightest route; still, they sailed by my mooring a few minutes before I reached there myself.  But I overlooked that and invited them over for a drink anyway!

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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