We’re wringing out every possible sailing trip this year before the local puddles freeze. Wayne, his brother Edward, and Mark went out to Lake Atwood today, about an hour away. It’s a much better sailing lake and we’re looking forward to going back as a family during the summer. It was forecast to hit a high of 50, but was a brisk 35 degrees when the gents took off this morning. Nippy, to say the least. And unfortunately, the early start was wasted as the pea-soup fog didn’t clear until almost noon. But they got a sail in, saw a bald eagle, ate cheesecake, and all in all, spent a pleasant 5 hours on the water. And with that, I’ll let Wayne update the rest.
First and foremost: no leaks! Glory Be! The most water Good Enough took on was from bringing the paddles in.
Second: Paddles! The wind was decent heading up the lake, and we made good headway for the first four miles. The wind was much less cooperative on the return trip (upwind, no less). It took a little over an hour and a half going down the lake. Coming back took every bit of three hours. The wind was dying by the time we reached the dock. The good news is that she moves quite well even on an ash breeze. It works quite well to have a paddle on each side. This may mean Patrick learns to helm when we’re “paddlesailing.”
Third: Light Wind Handling. That’s putting it generously. Alternately, it could be called “No Wind Handling.” You know it isn’t good when the telltales just hang limply. There were a number of times we lost steerage and the bow started to blow off. At these points, we used the wooden genny to regain control. It looks like when she is in very light conditions she has a trace of lee helm; previously, with windier conditions, she seemed to have a reasonable level of weather helm.
Fourth: Tacking. Ironically, in light air I had fewer problems with stalling coming out of a tack that Mark, even though he has done far more sailing. He is used to racing, where one moves the helm briskly to start and stop the tack precisely. In light air, Good Enough prefers a gentler hand. Ease the tiller to leeward, bring her around, tacking the jib through. As you come around to your new course, ease the tiller back to amidships. I think this is simply a case of a different type of boat that does not respond the same as what he usually sails. He is still FAR better at reading wind and trimming sails.
Fifth: The centerboard. I had to “nudge” the centerboard down. This winter I will be dropping the board out of the boat and machining the thickness down by about 1/4″ to let her swing freely.
All told, a good day, though we probably should have turned around a bit sooner.