This is a story of my very first sail on ANY sailboat. This occurred on a cold and cloudy early March day in my new to me 1976 Venture 21.
Finally, the day had arrived. The day to put the boat in the water
and make sail. After co-opting my eldest daughter and her husband as the unwitting crew, we set out to rig and launch the beast, a case of the blind leading the blind.
After getting her in the water
and managing not to hit that big rock by the boat ramp
, we motor
out about 100 yards and make sail. First the Jib
, then the main as we catch wind
and begin to move.
We start off downwind running wing and wing SAILING!
Hmm, there's an inch or so of water there in the cabin sole
, ok, no worries. We run down the lake a bit feeling splendid when we notice that one of the cabin
foot wells is now full
Ok, now to beat back to windward. We come about on a starboard tack and find that every time we try to run close hauled she falls off the wind
, not much help from the tiller. Ok, the motor
being down must be canceling the rudder
so we lift
it. Bang! The motor drops back in and refuses to stay up so we're now steering
with both the motor and the rudder
. Back and forth we go trying to work our way to windward but everytime we get headway and attempt to close haul, the wind drops and she falls off.
We're heeling somewhat and I remember the keel
, only to find it's rusted in place. After tacking back and forth and going in circles for an hour or so, I'm noticing that water is bubbling up through the keel
cable hole and both foot wells are now full.
Ok, time to motor back but the motor isn't cooperating now. Three minutes of furious cranking later, I decide to prime it. Vroom! We're off and running. A fast ski boat goes tearing by and I crack the throttle open only to have the water in the boat rush back and bury the stern and motor . Hmm, a couple of yanks and we're off once more with a bit less throttle and the crew perched on the forepeak for balance.
We get back to the ramp
and the Son in law, misjudging the depth
, hops off with a bowline and disappears. He pops up momentarily and we enjoy a laugh at his expense.
When we get the bowline hooked and winch
her onto the trailer I notice the bowhook comes in under the winch
, how strange. In a hurry to get the boat out, I pull forward. The wildly waving arms of my daughter stop me.
I get out only to find that the tires are almost flat from the weight and that the tiller, which I forgot to pull in the rush, has dragged and twisted forward into the transom
. Matter of fact, the back trailer frame is dragging, Good Lord!
So we pull the newly discovered drain plug
and notice another stream of water UNDER the boat. Upon checking this out we find a nice 2" hole in the hull
that had been hiding behind the rub rails of the trailer. Eventually, enough water drained out that we could re-float her and get her all the way on the trailer as well as pull off the now shattered tiller/rudder.
Lessons learned? Use a check list. Take rain gear
and warm clothes, we were all in tees and shorts when that cold rain just popped up. Ya need a keel to go to windward.
Sailing's a BLAST, even when it's not. So now we work on the boat so we can get back out there as soon as possible.