Well, we passed our 1,000th mile beneath our keel
on our new boat this weekend. And, as if to remind us we had a lot to learn, we had our first near-miss- involving our spinnaker
which we are still learning
to use. I'm sharing below an excerpt from our blog revised for clarity:
"...I personally think we got the spinnaker
up easier than last time (which was the first time we used it), it was just that I still hadn't got the whole gybing bit down. A series of three cruise
liners were transiting the scheme- and the Edmonds ferry
was underway also heading toward us. I decided to gybe in order to clear the last cruise
liner and give us some room for the ferry
. Although I had gybed successfully a few times prior, the wind
shifted just enough to mess a rookie single-handed ASY spinnaker sailor up, and it tucked inside the furled genoa
instead of folding in front of it. I called Jody to the deck
since the kids
were being good down below to give me a hand. When she got up to the bow, it looked like this wouldn't be a quick fix, so I fired up the motor
. In retrospect, there was no need to start the motor
since the 2 ships were passing clear of us as we were at a dead stop, but I just had to reach for the security
blankey! I hit the forward throttle just enough to swing our bow over, and we eventually got the spinnaker filled with air again. Then Jody noticed the lazy sheet was on the wrong side of the boat, like it had gotten too much slack and slipped under the bow. As she tried to walk it back around the bow with the boat hook it became clear that the whole line had been in the water
and was now twisting, alot. Somehow the knot
tied in the end of the sheet had come out and it had become wrapped around our prop. Very bad. Jody tried to pull the sheet while the engine
was in neutral, but to no avail. We shut the motor off and tried again- no luck. I made a questionable decision to start the engine
and put it in reverse in short bursts while she pulled to see if we could unwrap it. Amazingly, it worked! We were EXTREMELY lucky. I think this is only because I put it in drive for 2-3 seconds, just enough to swing the boat to complete the gybe. Lesson learned! I poured some out to King Neptune just to be safe!
After that, we sailed a few more hours under spinnaker until the winds died.
Our contingency plans were ok, but not great. Most simply, we were very able to continue sailing to homeport, and with the dinghy/motor we could get to the slip easily enough. We also had a pony bottle and regulator
on board for just this purpose. We bought it just a week ago, but unfortunately we didn't have fins or a wetsuit on board yet- it would have been chilly going down to cut those lines!!! our mask/snorkel was also still in storage
, but we did have swim goggles on board, okay for what we needed.
Some lessons we learned:
-If it's sailing, sail it. Don't turn on the engine.
- Make sure GOOD knots are in the end of lines. Figure-8 is much better than an overhand knot
- Always be ready to get wet. Time to get the fins, wetsuit and mask onboard!
Hopefully folks can read this and not have the near-miss we did!