Posted by: Wayne | November 13, 2011

Heavy weather sailing!

We were able to take Good Enough out for one final sail yesterday.  We met up with Maria’s parents at Buckeye Lake and went sailing there.

The trip and rigging went well.

The launch went well.

The centerboard REALLY did not want to go down, but Maria and I managed to beat it down.  It WILL be removed and reduced in thickness this winter.

Then I decided to move from the dock at the ramp to another dock about 50 feet upwind.

Only an idiot would decide to leave the sails down and try to paddle into a 14 knot wind.  As they say, good judgement comes from experience, which comes from bad judgement.

I cast off and rapidly realized the paddle would not work.  At that point I tried to get the main up to reach out into the body of the lake, where I could mess with the other sails.  Unfortunately, hoisting the main, and tensioning the downhaul and snotter took more time than I had.  While expletives were dancing in my brain, I discovered the joy of leeshores.  Once on the rocks, I got the other sails hoisted, cast off, came about to the other tack, ran out of room, and ran into a seawall.  Once I was pinned to the wall by the wind, I took my time getting everything adjusted before pushing off again.  I also took my wife aboard (her youngest sister was kindly watching the children).  The next attempt got us safely to the dock and moored.  Fortunately, Maria’s parents had not arrived by this point, so they didn’t witness my delightful bout of bad judgement (no photo evidence exists).  Also, repairs will involve paint and a little work on the rubrails (which got rubbed but good).

At this point, I was not feeling my best.  I had just spent a bit of time on a boat that was between quartering and beam on to a decent chop (1-2 feet trough to crest) with whitecaps, while trying to get stuff sorted in the boat.

After lunch, it was time to actually go out in earnest.  I hoisted the sails (I can be taught!), tying the reef in the mainsail.  After loading myself, Maria, Maria’s mother, Patrick, Elaina, and Gabriel into the boat we cast off.

Once we got into the body of the lake, things got fun.  Winds were 12-15 knots, gusting to 20 knots.  Chop was, as mentioned, 1-2 feet trough to crest, short, and steep.  The wind was coming mostly from the southwest, while the waves seemed to be coming from the west.  This meant that starting off on the starboard tack, the boat was mostly beam-on to the chop, making for a rather uncomfortable ride.  Once we got on the port tack, we were taking the waves mostly head-on.  They loved it!  We would rise over a crest then plunge into the next trough, sending a wave of spray over the foredeck.  This was the first time we had taken Good Enough out in chop, and she handled it with aplomb.  After heading upwind a bit, it was time to run back towards the ramp.  I don’t know how fast we were going, but it was pretty darn fast.  For the first time, I could feel the rudder vibrating through the tiller.  I am also told the front of the centercase was spitting rather impressively.  Now all we need to do is identify the speed at which she starts to spit, and we can have our very own spitometer!

The return to the dock involved multiple attempts.  The wind was onshore, and I would come in, building too much speed for comfort and noticing the pontoon boat right in the way at the boat ramp.  At that point, I would jibe around and head back out.  After a couple of aborted attempts, we dropped the main and came in on jib and jigger (mizzen).  This was nice and sedate, making for a very easy landing.

After a break, it was time to head out with the rest of the crowd.  I went to hoist the mainsail, and found that the spool shackle had worked itself loose (I guess the little o-ring they included is not just decorative), resulting in a skyed main halyard.  A bit of work with a paddle retrieved that, then I got sails sorted and set out with myself, Elaina, Maria’s dad, and Maria’s youngest sister (neither of them sailors).

I headed out, tacked a couple of times, then started to come back to the dock.  Having learned, I hove to (first time I have tried that).  The jib was flogging, the mizzen was sheeted tight, the tiller was over, and the boat just sat there, nice and docile while I finished striking the main.  Once again, jib and jigger worked well coming into the dock and we got safely moored.

At this point, I needed to move the boat about back downwind to the dock at the launch ramp.  None of my mooring lines is over 25 feet, but the anchor rode is! I unshackled the anchor, and walked the chain and rope around to the other dock, where I tied it off.  I then cleated the line on the foredeck and let the boat loose.  Maria’s mom helped pull in the rode, and I ran around and finished pulling it into the dock.  All told, a piece of cake.  Can you guess how I will be moving the boat between docks in a breeze in the future?

Unfortunately, all of the pictures are on Maria’s dad’s camera.  We will post some of them once we get the CD from him.

 

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Responses

  1. cracking post wayne – i sooooo understand the pain – been there done that! steve

  2. Me too. Where I sail in Puget Sound we also have pretty respectable tidal currents to worry about in addition to lee shores. Currents 4-5 knots are common and can hit 6 or 7 knots in many places. I confess I’m outboard-motor dependent. Oars and paddles aren’t enough around here. When my outboard motor broke down at Sucia I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified all night at the thought of not having auxiliary power. I recommend a pair of oars. Another thing I noticed about Navigator is once you raise the centerboard, the wind will blow her all over the place. She can be hard to control even with an outboard on a windy day with the board up.
    -Joel

  3. Sounds like a day full of adventure, learning, and fun! I admire your courage. As you build these experiences into your sailing life, its only going to get better! Godspeed!-Mark~ alias Yoda~


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