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.