Sailing Log: 5/29/05
morning started out somewhat overcast, but the weather was pleasantly
benign and, at least by comparison, warm (60). I headed out to the
boat to take care of a few projects, not really expecting to sail.
was flat calm, a pleasant change after last week's lousy winds and rain,
and presently the sun broke through, dramatically raising the
temperature. After a few hours, during which I took care of
several small projects and maintenance, a light southerly breeze came up
around noon; it seemed the perfect time for a first sail. I noted
to myself how pathetic it was that my first sail wasn't until May 29...a
lots of winter sticks still in the water and still-fluky winds, I
decided to start the engine and have it in reserve while I sailed off
the mooring. Fortunately, I didn't need it, but given the
sluggishness of the boat when she initially gets under sail, it seemed a
prudent decision. The winds were about 5-8 knots--very relaxing
and pleasant. I headed outside of Clapboard island on starboard
the winds were briefly stronger; I saw 17 knots apparent at one point.
Perfect. The boat felt good, with minimal weather helm; I had
adjusted the jumpers more tightly this year which, coupled with last
year's adjustment of the mast rake forward, had actually caused some
difficulties in securing the backstay during the mast stepping.
immediately, though, I thought I heard a distant rumble of thunder.
Some showery-looking clouds back over the land mass, which had been
present during the morning, suddenly seemed more ominous. I didn't
see any immediate signs of hazardous weather, so I continued, but the
distant rumbles became more frequent, and soon I knew I wasn't hearing
things. It wasn't long before the sky to the west began to darken,
so I decided to bear off and head immediately to the southern tip of
Clapboard and back to the mooring, rather than continue on towards
Portland as I had intended.
sailed back to just outside the anchorage, all the while keeping a wary
eye on the weather. We were clearly going to get some weather, at
least nearby, and the skies continued to darken. I felt I had made
the right decision. Outside the anchorage, I dropped the main,
loving my new lazy jacks, and motored into the mooring; I chose not to
sail in because I had lost my mast buoy from the mooring lines during
the storms, and it's just that much more difficult to sail in when using
a boathook (especially the first time of the year). Also, my
mooring, which had been stretched downwind by the storm winds, was now
very close to a neighboring boat that had not been on the mooring during
the storm, meaning that the two moorings were, for now, artificially
on the mooring, I put the boat away and debated whether to head to shore
or stay on board through the approaching storm. I eventually
decided to head ashore, as the skies were becoming quite black.
the way in in the launch, the blackness reached its peak, but no rain
fell. Shortly after arriving ashore, the character of the sky
changed for the better, and no severe storm passed through, though
moderate rain showers followed.