Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: September 2009


Sunday, I had work to do. And what’s the best thing to do when you have deadlines to meet? Well, in the words of Bluto:


Well, next best thing is to go sailing. So I did on Sunday.

Two weeks ago, we had some strong winds that ripped the jib. It’s in for repairs and, hopefully, will be done this week. In the meantime, Steve N. loaned me one of his. It’s a bit small for the vessel – it doesn’t reach the spreaders and it’s 7′ shorter on the luff that it should be. But I’m grateful to him, since I’m not dead in the water.

So I could have called someone to join me. But I really just wanted to be out there by myself.

I drove up to the marina, got a cart, loaded in Steve’s jib, grabbed some ice and headed down to the boat. I had finally remembered to pick up some extra oil – the engine was about a quart low. So I added that and checked the coolant level. Coolant looked fine.

I’d been meaning to take some time to cut the extra lines off the piling, so I grabbed my leatherman’s tool and did so. Not as many creatures growing on them as I suspected. But there were about 5 extra lines there, now gone.

I pulled off the spring line and started the engine. I took off the aft lines, put on the wheel lock, put the boat in forward and rushed forward to remove the forward lines.

It was about 2 hours before low tide when I headed out of the channel. I got stuck once, turned around, got unstuck and continued out. At 10′ depth, I put up the jib.

Roller furler jibs are a dream when your single-handing it, if they’re already installed. But trying to get that thing up single handing it was a pain. I finally got a balance between pulling on the halyard and getting it strung to get the thing up. I then tried to backwind it to keep the boat stable. Duh! That works when the main is pushed one way and the jib the other. Know what happens with one sail? Yup! The boat starts going in circles. Well, that was no problem. I was deep enough, and not drifting to shore. There were no nearby boats. So I turned more into the wind, set the wheel lock and started hoisting the main.

Of course, the boat starts turning off the wind as I hoist the main. So I turn on the auto pilot. But the auto pilot doesn’t do alot of good if you’re not moving forward. And I didn’t want to do that. So I just let the boat continue it’s lazy turn and I continued to hoist the main. I couldn’t quite get it to the top. But that was ok; I could get it the rest of the way later when I was under way and could turn on the auto pilot and face it into the wind.

The weather was perfect! The wind was about 10 knots and warm. And I just lazily moved across the river.

I figured I might just try to make it over to the R22 (further) channel buoy. I aimed for it, but had the same problem I have on Wednesday nights: the boat drifts towards starboard as much as it moves forward. I still need to get someone on board to help me figure out how to avoid doing that.

So, I just traveled around the cargo ship that was docked just outside the channel, taking my time, just me and Auto.

I really didn’t’ want to head back. But I didn’t want to get stuck coming in on low tide either.

Too late. I did. But not while in the channel, but after I reached the mouth of the creek. Who’d have thought? It’s usually safe by the time I get that far.

This time, though, I had a Good Samaritan in a small power boat help me out. She had one of her passengers grab a line from me. We tied it stern to bow and she pulled me out of the mud. I thanked her and proceeded to my slip.

Docking went perfectly! With no wind to fight at the docks, I backed the boat beautifully into my slip.

I love sharing my boating time with friends. But there’s something to be said, too, for just being on your own.