First Day-Sail of the Year

We escaped for an hour and a half, cast off the lines, and headed out to the bay. As usual this time of year, comfortable in the creek means chilly on the bay, so we wore jackets and sweaters. I enjoyed that clean-bottom hull speed while the engine pushed us almost to cruising speed while turning 2k rpm.

Once on the bay, we began setting sail, and discovered the processes and cautions are now a bit different with all the extra line in the cockpit. Without roller furling, I have another halyard to manage and a downhaul for when we strike sail. I also have new lines for all the running rigging and they are not optimal length yet (read they are still too long). Keeping lines out of the water and away from the prop is a big concern with a new set of lines/lengths to get used to.

With the wind 10 -12 knots, we set both sails. I was very pleased with the set of the new headsail, although I had to drop the main after five minutes of being over-powered.  I could have reefed the main, but wanted to see how the headsail did on its own. It performed so well. . .  our old sail just wouldn’t pull very well by itself, especially in windy conditions.  It was just too old, and didn’t set smoothly on the foil. The luff was very soft, and I’m sure the sail was just blown out. By contrast, the new sail alone pulled like a champ in these conditions, very close-winded, and perfectly shaped.

Here she is, a few small stains, but generally very good condition.

Here she is, a few small stains, but generally very good condition.

I forgot to close the mast gate after sliding the slugs on, so when I dropped the sail I kept coming up with extra material. I was confused until Ruth pointed what had happened. These are the little kinks that we have to work out after unrigging/rerigging the boat. I still need to adjust all the running line lengths and work out the system for keeping the cockpit organized when managing sail.  It also took me 10 minutes to remember how to stow the headsail in its deck bag.  I kept getting little things wrong (it won’t close if it’s inside-out; the forward zipper has to go around the tack – how many times do I have to get the same things wrong with one stowing. . . ?). It will take a bit of time to learn how to manage all the changed lines efficiently. Also, the boat yard guys set up the rig really tight so I need to retune all the wires.

5.6 nautical miles today – about a half-hour of sailing and a half-hour of motoring in and out the creek. That was enough for the first time out with a new rig. A couple more days of organizing and sorting out little issues, and we’ll be ready for cruising.

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7 comments
  1. Johadel said:

    Always best to learn new equipment when the wind is light and the seas are mild! Glad you had a good sail!

    • Well, we weren’t really ready to sail, in retrospect. I didn’t put anything away down below (and had near-disaster with a can of varnish – turned out okay, though), hadn’t put the cover on the battery box – just not very shipshape and not well prepared.

      • Johadel said:

        You may not have been ready, but how can you pass up the opportunity when it presents itself. I’d bet you are glad you went, despite the minor issues!

      • Hit the nail on the head, Joe. That’s exactly what happened. It was a gorgeous afternoon, and we just took the opportunity.

  2. Wooohooo! Great news. Really cool to hear how well the new head sail did compared to the old. Sounds like a really radical difference. I’m sure the system will smooth itself out in a hurry. Always good to have an observant first mate pointing out things you can’t see as you’re elbow deep in the project at the time. Great picture. Don’t see the stains, but I’ll take some stains any day when saving that much on a sail. I’ve been very pleased with my buys from Bacon. Looks like you found a winner.

  3. Even if you were not 100% ready.. I am still jealous of the fact you got out to sail.. with some luck, I may be ready by this time next year

    • Hang in there – you’ve got a long way to go, but steady progress gets you a long way over time.

      I don’t know if this is possible with your old interior fittings, but I used mine to pattern new ones. All the cabinets in my boat have been reconstructed – all out of new lumber except for one. I patterned the new from the old, and it turned out well.

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