I finally took my 14' Vagabond sloop
out yesterday. I stuffed a bunch of resolve in one pocket and luck in the other.
I checked the weather forecast
, high 65 deg winds N 10mph, I grabbed my checklist with the additions from some of you, like PFD
and paddle, and went for it. ALONE.
My adventure started at the local church parking lot where i practiced some backing trailer maneuvers. In the end, no amount of practice prepared me for my inability to drive a trailer in reverse. Then i headed to the reservoir.
Setting up the boat went much smoother than i thought it would. I found that leaving the doors of my truck open with music
on relaxed me while i set her up. It was during the set up though that i realized i wish i had a manual for this boat. Three questions here left me wondering for the rest of the day if i would be okay on the water
1. When i raised the mast
the side stays and forstay were a bit loose. I expected it to be taut like strings on a guitar. The mast
stayed up of course, but i wondered all day if all three should have been more taut?
2. When i set up the jib
, i couldn't decide whether the jib sheets
should go outside the stays or inside. On the bigger boats they always went outside the stays / chain plates, but on the boat the sheets
seem to get caught or hung up on the stays. Can you tell me which is right for this small boat?
3. When i inserted the boat plug
i started to wonder if the handle to remove plug
should go on the inside of the cockpit
or the outside of the transom? Both seemed precarious with the possibility of getting caught on something and accidentally being removed, but at least if it was inside the cockpit
and fell out, i'd still have it and perhaps could push it back in before the boat would sink? Is there a standard for how this should be done? For the record
, i kept it in the cockpit.
It took about 1 1/2 hours for me to set up. I expected an hour, but making sure i was good to go took a little longer.
Confident and prepped i headed for the boat ramp
. I think overall it took me 45 min to get the boat down the ramp
straight. Lesson learned.... drive down the ramp straight to almost the end then turn around. This seems to give less distance to have to drive backwards and screw up.
The trailer ended up at a crazy left angle behind the boat, but i wasn't playing anymore. I got out and it was then that i realized i would be getting wet. Even though i had prepared myself with my new west marine
boots, what i hadn't prepared for was that the water depth
i would step into would be deeper than the height of my boots. =(
So after both boots filled up with water like a tub, i stepped on the trailer, unhooked the winch
and pushed the boat off. I walked the boat over to the dock
and tied her up. Naturally the side of the boat that i had put the fender
on, wasn't the side that came over to the dock
.. Yeah i took a couple scratches for that. Tied up and proud, a gentleman came along in his fishing
boat and tied up at the dock all nice and easy. I looked at my trailer all cockeyed in the water and looked at him and said "Its my first time". He said "you did it like i pro", i knew he was lying, but appreciated his support just the same. Asked how i was going to get the boat into the lake and i proudly showed him my paddle. "Of course" he said. I thought, i really need to get a prop for this thing.
After returning my truck and trailer to the parking area i pushed off and started to paddle my out of the no wake zone.. as if i was making a wake. It was more work than i had expected.
As soon as i felt a breeze, i traded in my paddle for sails
. Raised the main, then the jib and got a good gust. I rode
that gust for a while.. It was awesome. Instantly reminded me of why i went through all the trouble of setup and launch. I love sailing.
Then just as soon as it came it drifted off. The wind
almost all but stopped to nothing. I was originally on a beam reach, so i tacked her back the other way looking for the wind
. I really need to set something on the boat so i can tell where the wind is coming from. I'm very bad at sensing it.
After a couple more gusts, i determined the wind was done for the day and started paddling back to shore. Realizing this is the way of the sailor, i couldn't be angry. I had a few minutes of great sailing, i had set up the boat and launched it by myself and i would be appreciative for all of it regardless of the wind.
A man came out and asked if i wanted a tow back to shore. I swept the sweat from my brow and thanked him just the same, but i would make it back. This day for was me to figure out how to do it all, by myself.
Boat tied up on the dock, i went to get the truck and trailer and noticed i couldn't see the trailer behind me at all. I was driving blind. This was when i saw someone else do the drive down the ramp and turn around thing. So i tried that. It was awful. Finally a man ground guided me into the water. Grabbed the boat, walked it over to the trailer, boots filled up again..this time i knew it would happen so i laughed. The boat seemed to glide up on the trailer. The tie to the boat was an excellent suggestion by another sailor. Thanks.
After i winched the boat up on the trailer i pulled it out of the water a bit and got out to check it. It the boat had slid back on the trailer and was no longer winched up tight. I tried to push it up from the rear, winched it a little bit tighter but eventually had to reverse back in the water to winch
it tighter. I had wondered if maybe there is a certain depth
the trailer should go into the water to make the first round on the winch the final round, or does everyone have to do what i did?
Tear down was fine. Again with the windows open and music
playing, i was again relaxed and didn't mind at all.
Oh, it turns out, when i brought the boat back to dock, a man said he had just checked the weather
and it said the wind was 1mph.. explains why i had no wind!
When i opened the boat plugs on the ramp, there is a plug that goes to the internal flotation device built into the boat, and when i opened it this rusty colored water came rushing out. At first i figured it was water.. then i felt bad because it was turing the water of the shore all rusty, so i stuck my finger into it and smelled it to see if it was chemicals.. it wasn't, but i plugged it back up just the same. I felt awful for this apparent "dumping" into the water.
Does anyone know about these open compartments inside the boat? How would water get into it? Can it rust? If so, can it be harmful to the boat?
Thanks again everyone for your support. I truly wouldn't have done what i did yesterday without the advice, support and suggestions of this forum.