I went out last weekend for a day sail. I've logged a few years on power boats, but still learning
the sail thing.
confused seas, waves coming from two different directions the wind
a third, and a fourth, and a 5th, ...
The day started like any of my power boat
trips, check out the boat, (a rental), and crank er up and head
out. It was a bit different being the passee, instead of the passer as a line of power boats went around me as I headed out the channel.
The problems started as I decided to transition from power to sail. First the crew I brought along as helmsman had a little trouble keeping headed to wind
. Understandable as I couldn't tell which way it was coming from either. When the boat was pointed to wind the waves were broadsiding us causing the boat to roll wildly, and fall off. Raising the sails
didn't go like the class either. I started with the boom loose but it swung so wildly from the rolling I couldn't get the sail to feed, (and I feared for my fingers). I tried to put in a reef and found it was easier said than done, trying to control the swinging boom without being carried off of the deck
, sometimes catching the railing by my toes. It wasn't any eaiser with the mainsheet tight as the main alternately powered and depowered with the wind shifts. There were no lines for the reef point, I had to improvise from scratch. Finally I got the reef in and finished raising the main. I was very happy to have a furled jib
, as the deck
was bouncing around so much I could only even get to the mast
by crawling on hands and knees and hanging on with both hands. To raise the main I had to leg lock the base of the mast
, which worked except the pitching repeatedly bounced the mast on a very sensitive part of my anatomy. I'm very happy I could open the jib
from the cockpit
, (I'm going to be looking at main furling
boats from now on). After the sails
were up and the engine
off, the boats motion settled down and it even became pleasant, unfortunately I had already lost
my crew to seasickness, who were all hanging over the rails feeding fish
Then there was the question of were to go, there was a strong wind blowing to a lee shore, so I sailed as close to the wind as I could, but was only going about 4 knots. If I moved to a beam reach I could make better speed, but then I was being pushed toward that shore. I tacked a couple of times to get out as far as I could, and then set a good compromise course that wouldn't hit anything.
That of course is when the wind died down and the boats speed settled into a screaming 2 knots.
Then I had to choose unreef, or take it slow. Well the jib was no problem, but I didn't really want to go to the mast again, especially since there would be no one at the helm
. With full jib and reefed main tacking would be hard.
So I decided to go back,
now on a broad reach my speed was even slower, worse the jib wouldn't stay filled. It would fill then luff. I let it out as far as it would go, still no luck. if I pulled it in it would backfill, the boat would spin and I would be heaved too. I thought that maybe the main was blocking it, also I may have not gotten the main jib ratio correct (60% jib 1 main reef). I tried running, but the jib still alternately luffed and filled, but not as often and not as severe.
That got me back to the channel, so I held the wheel
with one foot, while loosing the jib with one hand, the mainsheet was being stepped on by my other foot, and the other hand furled the jib. The main was lowered simularly, with a line from the wheel
around a cleat to the mast so I could flake with one hand and lower with the other.
Finally back to the dock
, while my crew ran to the parking lot ,threw themselves on the ground, and kissed it.
Overall I don't think the trip went at all badly. I learned you CAN singlehand a 30 footer with a wheel and a roller furled jib.. And the hardest part of sailing is getting the #&*^&* things up and down. I'm sure I made many mistakes
, feel free to armchair quarterback, (thats why I posted it).
I knew the weather
would be marginal at best, but I'm not a peaches and rainbows moterboater, I'm sure not going to be that kind of sailer.