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Old 20-10-2003, 15:53   #1
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Fall Sailing

Hi everyone,

Well, it's fall here in the beautiful mountains of NC.Pumpkins and dried cornstalks, tree tops that look as though a divine artist cleaned his brush on them,nights that are cool,and days that are "just right." It's my favorite time of the year. I keep my boat on a lake fairly close by and was able to get some sailing in this last weekend. Man, was it great!! The mountains can be seen off in the distance from the lake I sail on. The leaves on the trees have turned brilliant colors of orange, yellow,and red. Winds were light on the lake and I flew my cruising spinnaker which also has those colors in it. The emerald green water seemed to stretch out like a shimmering jewel with my boat skimming along its sparkling facets.As I was cruising, the colorful cruising chutes on other boats burst open with color. The air was crisp, and the sunshine plentiful. My boat and I glided past two old timers fishing from a skiff. I called over to them,"Have you had any luck?" I could see one of them grin real big as he effortlessly cast his line and replied, "Nope,but with a day as beautiful as this, it don't matter." I wished them better luck to come as my boat leaned further towards them as though she was taking a bow to show off her bright colors.The hours past quickly as they always do when you're really enjoying yourself. Before long, it was time to take her in. I dropped her spinnaker, but left the mainsail up as we eased along towards my girls slip. It seemed as though starting the engine would break the spell, so I let the quiet guide us in to our home on the water. My girl made the sailing easy for me and for an additional reward, we touched the edge of the dock like the stroke of a feather. I stowed away this and that, and put on her covers to keep her at ease while I'm away. As I stepped to the dock and started to walk away, I had to stop for just a moment. I looked back at her and thought of all the many wonderful times she had given me. It's been said that sailing is freedom. It must be true, because I never feel as free as I do when I'm on my boat. Fair Fall winds to you!
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Old 21-10-2003, 15:34   #2
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Smile Thank you ,Sir !

That was living at it's best. Here in Michigan yesterday, it was warm , beautifull sunshine with only the deep blue of the sky to relieve it,and winds blowing 15 to 20. I was COVERING MY BOAT. Necessary for the coming season, but a heart breaker none-the-less. Ahh well, maybe next year Warchant will part the waves and this ol' romantic will, through pleasure, staple the corners of his mouth to his ears for the winter remembering the final Autumn sail on a day like yesterday !
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Old 21-10-2003, 19:26   #3
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Here on the Chesapeake Saturday was a day like you described. I had gone out racing aboard a Beneteau 40.7. It was challenging conditions with shifty winds but we won cinching the Annapolis Fall series in our class. It was a tough series and we entered the last race tied for first.

But Sunday was a gut buster. I went out on Sunday by myself. I had considered dropping the 140% from the furler and putting up the blade that I like to use in the winter but after a little thought decided to stick with what was on the stay. Going out was a broad reach and I found myself power reaching southward past the South River some 12 miles south. Almost immediately the wind began to build. On the big gusts, now over 20 knots, I would turn down and burn off the force of the wind. I was staying at speeds around 9 knots and scorching off speeds in the biggest gusts in the low to mid 10's. The knotmeter showed the high speed of the day at 10.8 knots but I was not watching the knot meter at the time.

By the time I turned to come home it was blowing pretty solidly near 20 true with gusts into the mid 20 kt range and the highest observed gust of the day just below 30 knots. The genoa was too large to beat into that much wind so I furled it. I considered a peel but I was feeling too lazy after the prior days thrashing. Initially the furler jambed but eventually I was able to free it by reducing halyard and backstay tension. I had put a flattening reef into the mainsail to help with the beat. The nice thing about a fractional rig is that they are pretty balanced beating under mainsail alone and I was staying the mid to high 7 knot range most of the time so I really had little to complain about. About a third of the way home, there was an explosive boom like a shotgun going off onboard the boat and the mainsail went a little limp. At first I suspected the main halyard core parting, but in a couple seconds I realized that the flattening reef line had parted. I had been suspicious of that line when I bought the boat and so had actually purchased a 45' remnant hank of line to replace it. The flattening reef line had parted aft of the turning blocks at the mast and so I was able to rig a temporary tail to get me home where I then replaced it properly. All and all it was a great sail but very different than the peaceful fall sail that you clearly enjoyed. That is what I love about this sport...you never know what to expect but almost what ever comes along is bound to be a moving experience.

Jeff
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Old 21-10-2003, 19:28   #4
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29cascadefixer,

My sympathies to you.I know "buttoning" up a boat for the winter has to be a let down.I've never had to do that. I actually have a pretty good sailing set up.I'll sail my boat on the lake until about Christmas, and then I'll haul her home to do some upgrades to her.This year,it'll will be building a permanent ice box on the starboard side of the boat,and a few other upgrades.I've actually been able to sail her year round here,but for the last several years I've followed the haul out plan to prepare my boat for following Spring trips.Last year, I hauled her down to Key West and sailed out to the Dry Tortugas,and Loggerhead Keys. The previous year, I hauled her to Ft.Lauderdale and sailed her to the Bahamas. The biggest problem I have (besides lack of money) is wearing trailer tires out hauling my boat (26 ft.) that far. I've had to replace a set of trailer tires during each trip at a cost of about $250. Ouch!! The boat trailers really well, but I've not come up with a better solution for the tandem axle 6 ply trailer tires.The boat weighs approx.4300 lbs.Anyway after I do a trip (usually 3 weeks) I haul my boat back to the lake by the end of June.Then sail there until Christmas,and start the whole thing over again.I'm looking to upgrade to a larger boat soon, but I think I'll really have a problem letting this one go. For a small boat,she's really sea worthy and easy to sail.Both the hull and deck are hand laid up fiberglass,making her very strong.I've been in two very nasty storms out in open water on her. The boat faired well, while I took a beating.Being able to pull the boat for a couple of months and bring her home to work on her really helps me make it through the worst winter months without going through complete withdrawls.I snow ski those two months to help. Yep, I've got it pretty good. Eat your heart out!! ha!ha!ha! Just kidding!!
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Old 21-10-2003, 19:49   #5
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Jeff H,

Wow, you really had an exciting weekend! Congratulations on winning your race,and series.I'm with you, the sport is always so different.Moma used to say "it's like a box of chocolates, you never no what your going to get." Hmmm? Maybe it was someone else that said that? ha!ha! I've sailed on your waters a few times.The last time was during one of the October sailboat shows a few years back. I hauled my 26 footer up to Annapolis and met a friend of mine from Canada. I only had the boat up there for 5 days, but I loved every minute of it. The winds were pretty much like you described for us while we were there.Light one day, and then more than enough the following one. We sailed out to the Thomas Point Lighthouse during a day sail.On the way back, there was a sailboat flying a huge American flag from her mast.It was a sight I've never forgotten. You guys have such a variety of boats and unique sailing areas up there, it's amazing. We saw another really huge sailboat across from us in the distance.It was the largest sloop I've ever seen. Behind her were some one designs racing. The mega-sloop was so big, the one designs looked like following chicks behind the mother Swan.Yep, Annapolis is one of my favorite places. I hope to get back there soon. Fair Fall Winds To You!
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