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Old 17-03-2008, 17:08   #1
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First sail, new boat

I just wanted to share the experience of our first proper sail in the Blue Dolphin. Perhaps others have stories of their first real sail in a new boat.

Technically this was the third time out but, the first being the sea trial and the second being spent working out basic rigging and maneuvering it was the first time we were sailing simply to enjoy being out on the water.

A storm blew through on Saturday and we were a little concerned that the tail end wouldn't clear San Diego in time but as it turned out Sunday dawned cloudy but then blew clear leaving us with a dappled blue sky and steady 15 - 20 knots of perfect sailing wind. The tide was super low and, despite sticking to the centre of the channel, our depth gauge kept giving us kittens. I'm guessing it was jumping around as we passed over kelp given that much larger boats use the same channel but all the same every time that alarm goes off our hearts still flutter.

Once under the Coronado bridge proper we hoisted the sails and made some slow but steady progress upwind. We were running main and stay-sail initially but after rounding the corner for the final run out to sea we unfurled the Genoa and the speed lept up to 7 knots. For the first time we got some decent heel on too and while Janet looked concerned she held a pretty straight line while we made some adjustments to flatten the boat out. Everything happened in a much more orderly fashion than the smaller boats we have been mainly sailing!

As we left the protection of the bay we were met by a solid rolling sea swell generated by the previous nights storm, first 2 feet, then 3 then up and up until some of the waves might have been 8 to 10 feet. The way the BD drove over them was a great feeling - totally solid, punching the water out in sheets to each side with the deck remaining mostly dry. The sky was blue, the sun brilliant, the wind consistent and just weak enough for us to hold full sail. It was exhilarating, almost exciting but not enough to be frightening. We wanted to just.keep.going.....

... but the sun was getting lower and it was time to go home - one day THIS WILL CHANGE. The downwind down-wave return was less comfortable but manageable. I'm pretty sure we were flying too much sail too far aft so next time in the same situation would probably put the second reef in the main, and let the Genoa pull us through but its all a learning experience! Perhaps sheeting in the main further than we did would have helped too.

The sun set as we were gliding back under power through a calm bay, the light was fantastic. It was getting dark when we got back and by the time we had put the boat to bed and were sipping our beers in the cockpit the stars were out above our tired heads.

Puurrrrfect
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Old 17-03-2008, 17:19   #2
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It sounds like it was a wonderful sail! I was stationed at the 32nd Street Naval Station from 1982 to 1985 and did some sailing in the harbor there. One year, my parents, older sister, and brother-in-law came out to the area on vacation. We chartered a Catalina 30 for a day and sailed out to the ocean. Great memories of San Diego...
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Old 17-03-2008, 17:37   #3
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Congrats on your first sail, I am envious. I have not purchased a sailboat yet but this thread reminded me of my first extended voyage. A friend of a friend needed a hand sailing his newly purchased Gemini in Annapolis to the Tampa, FL area so I volunteered. I had limited experience sailing and never on a cat. After the first week I knew I was meant to be on the water. The feeling of sailing is comparable to none and although I do not own a sailboat yet, everything I do is to fulfill my sailing dream.

Congrats to all who are living the dream not dreaming the dream, if that makes any sense.
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Old 17-03-2008, 20:11   #4
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Aloha Tom,
I remember the Bay being a big hook. First you head North to go under the Coronado bridge, then turn West and by the time you are exiting you are nearly going South.
Sounds like you got every direction.
My opinion is the when goin downwind with a Genoa you should let your main out more to go wing and wing. Even if the main and genny are on the leeward side and the wind on the quarter let your main out more, don't bring it in. The more you haul your main in the more squirrely your boat gets.
Just my experience with other boats. Yours might be different.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 17-03-2008, 21:39   #5
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Hi Tom:

Sounds like a great trip. Hope you have many more. I plan on having my boat in SD in a few months. Save some good weather for me.
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Old 18-03-2008, 13:55   #6
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Triton318 - Its a pretty special sail isn't it I wonder how much has changed since the early eighties? Imagine that the city isn't really too different, though the outskirts now extend on and on and on.. Thats a pretty boat you have there

Blue Skye - not yet living *the* dream but certainly a step ahead of last year which was spent on rental boats, other people's boats and surfing the imaginary boats on yachtworld et al. In the end we didn't even see the BD posted before we saw it in person! At least you have something on the water!

Thanks for the advice JohnL we'll try it out on our next downwind leg, haven't gone wing on wing with this boat yet but theres a nice chnuky pole on the deck which might help (if needed). Would you keep the staysail up and sheeted in to try and prevent rolling - I've heard others mention this but wonder about it interfering with wind flow over the driving sails.

Charlie - we have had some good sails in the summer but it can get pretty docile. Personally I surf so when theres no wind I have something else to do! This year we have an asymetrical waiting for the winds to get low enough for us to dare and unfurl it

Do I really have to sit in this office until next weekend?
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Old 18-03-2008, 14:40   #7
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Be carefull under that Coronado Bridge! We hit a sand bar mid channel heading for Coranado Cays. One moment we were motor along at 6 knots and the next we are DIW.
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Old 18-03-2008, 14:40   #8
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Sounds good about the surfing. The kids in I just spent four days at a vacation rental 1/2 block from Pacific beach. I'm slowly learning to surf but the kids are getting it really well. We have these cool boards called ULI (ultra light inflatable) boards built in SD by Jim Weir and his brother. I like them b/c they roll up and store easily on the boat. Goodluck with both the surfing and the sailing.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 18-03-2008, 14:51   #9
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I remember my first sail on my first boat. I took the boat out of the harbor in Redwood City, and started sailing for San Francisco. It started to rain, and it was a bit cool. The wind built up the whole way. We made it into the marina. Organizing the boat at the dock in the rain gave me a great feeling........
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Old 18-03-2008, 19:18   #10
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Trim50 we came *so* close to running aground under that bridge. Had been cruising around in the south bay learning the lines so to speak when we had to hit a hard 180 as the depth finder reported less that a foot clearance. And to think a year or two ago we popped under that bridge in such a blase manner and just got lucky! Reported our lucky escape to our neighbors when we got back to the marina and apparently thats quite a popular spot to stop for lunch.....

This last time out I checked the charts a bit more carefully.
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