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Old 03-03-2012, 20:18   #1
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Our First Sailing Experience ...

ever, was 1 month ago My wife and I recently bought a Newport 27 after much consideration and the fact that neither of us have ever sailed before. Sometimes life just draws you somewhere, yaknow So after frantically scrounging for the last minute necessities, such as vhf and charts, we laid our heads down to wait the morning, and our departure for the other side of the peninsula... Morning came, and we raised our headsail, no problems! Went to raise the main, and no halyard! The rope connecting the main halyard was nowhere to be found, and with a nervous glance, I knew the only options was the sketchy bosun's chair in the forward berth, on the only untested halyard we had. Sometimes in life you have to go with yer gut, and it's not the scariest thing i've proposed to do, so before I knew it, up I went, about 3/4 of the way, before I realized there were 2 twists in the ropes that would defeat my first attempt, so down I went, undid the twist, and up we go again! Got the rope tied and the main up, and now we were ready... After a couple of pulls the little 7hp kicker started right up, then started to flutter, as it was prone to flooding... we set off. steering felt trickier than it should of, or so I thought, while cruising through the ITC through John's Pass. My wife made her first VHF call to the coast guard to raise the bridge, and before we knew it, we were in the gulf! Well, 7hp ain't much when you get any distance from the shore, and after all, this IS a sailboat, so up went the headsail once again, and off went the engine. We were sailing...ish. Now, before we set off, we watched many videos on how to sail, read quite a few books, and did our homework, as much as possible anyway, and believe firmly, that at some point, baby bird has to get outta the nest and fly. Anyway, sailing off the wind and running in a fin keel is pretty tricky with the main up, and it was tricky keeping her strait, so we chose to sail with the wind more off our beam than stern, and before long we had changing tack's down! It wasn't until later, we realized we had been gybing... The wind kicked up a couple of knots and before we knew it, The Patient Lady was layed over nicely and flying through the water! We had a couple of Gybe's off of Fort Desoto that sent chills of excitement down our spines! the wind kept kicking all the way through the sunshine skyway until we got in the lee side of the land, and experienced our first becalming, in a shipping lane, and couldn't get that damned engine started for nobody. After a solid hour of pulling on the start cord and no wind, a call was made to the coast guard to make them aware of our situation. They were a great help, and at their suggestion, started making slowly for the edge of the channel to drop our hook for the night. As the sun started going down, we had a couple of dolphins follow us for a minute, which was a first for both me and my wife On slow way over to the edge of the channel, the wind, thankfully picked up again, and before we knew it, we were off! We sailed the rest of the way into St. Pete on a tight reach going who knows how fast, not very but it felt fast, under full moon. We dropped anchor outside St. Pete after 15 hours of sailing! Then we set anchor watch every 3 hours until a stiffening wind prompted us to set sail again for the harbor we were scheduled to haul out at. We made it most of the way into the harbor under sail, until the boat became impossible to handle, something is obviously wrong with our rudder at this point, and we were forced to set anchor in the channel right next to the coast guard while we tried once again to start the engine! We get a call on the phone from the coast guard, who we'd been communicating with periodically since the night before, said they saw a boat matching our description sail past the entrance and "did we know, we were dangerously close to shore?" Yes we know, my wife said, and added, If we need help, we'll just yell over and wave our hands! Love her! Anyway, the engine started after an hour of pulling, to the cheers of the coasties getting ready for the day, and we motored into the slip, and on to shore again... Later, after the boat was out, we could rotate the rudder 360 degrees around the shaft, which explained our difficulty steering Well what do you want, it was our first boat! I won't ever buy a boat without hauling it out first again, but I don't regret one decision we've made We will hopefully splash Tuesday or Wednesday!

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Old 03-03-2012, 20:29   #2
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Re: Our first sailing experience....

Great to hear of your first adventure,i hope you will update real soon with more tales of the new..... as i am looking forward to my own solo this Summer.

"The Truth Shall set you Free....But First it will Piss You Off"
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Old 03-03-2012, 21:14   #3
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Re: Our first sailing experience....

Good story.

Next time it won't be the rudder or engine, but it will be something else. Have fun and stay safe.
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Old 04-03-2012, 17:59   #4
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That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

You story sounds a bit more reckless than I would do but it sounds like it worked out.

Good luck and be careful.
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Old 05-03-2012, 00:03   #5
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

Nice story! At least you have a set. Go have fun! Give us another report later.
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Old 05-03-2012, 00:35   #6
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

Self taught, learning the ropes (lines, no pun intended), great story, and the way you are doing it, the learning will be ingrained in your brain. Keep us posted and when you have enough stories here on CF, create a blog, copy and paste your writing efforts here and have a place on the Internet you can call your own to share with family and friends.

Great first effort.
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Old 05-03-2012, 00:54   #7
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

Nice story, and good that you realize you should have done a little more prep before your first voyage. You have that behind you now, and you'll be amazed at how much you'll learn from every outing you make. Sail safe and enjoy the lifestyle.
Sweet are the uses of adversity.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:21   #8
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Great for you guys!!!! Sounds like in the end after all the frustration it was worth it. Next stop The Keys!!!!
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:24   #9
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

elleibell, its good to see when all the theory and reading can come into play and actually get put to use. Sounds like you had the time of your life and this is the beginning, I can tell you it only gets better and more adventurousness from here. Keep it up, reading, videos, classes in navigation, coastal sailing, maintenance are all good to have and will not be wasted.
Fair winds
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:53   #10
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

Great story! Congratulations on surviving. With experience you'll be able to start that engine quickly. I can't remember how many pulls I've made on outboards before I either turned the gas on or flipped the switch to run. I learn best the hard way!!
Look through the books on sail trim and tacking vs. jibing and you'll have it whipped.

kind regards,
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Old 20-03-2012, 08:21   #11
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Re: Our First Sailing Experience ...

Thanks for all the feedback! We finally splashed and are back in the water! Maybe we'll see you around the bay....

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