Boat Journal

Chronicling a love affair with sailing

Month: May 2014

Deconstructing the Race

We corrected to 4th on last week’s race and 4-1/5 minutes behind the guy ahead of us. We coulda’ been a contender. It was an interesting race.

We were behind the crowd after rounding the first mark. We flew double headsails towards the second and reached that mark with the rest of the crowd. We were port; they were starboard. But we were ahead enough of the other boats I thought the mark distance rules applied and we went around first. One boat called me on it. I wasn’t sure I’d done right. So when we were the starboard boat, I ‘kindly’ got out of everyone’s way and lost time.

Ah well!

Then everyone headed towards the channel and we kept to the more shallow water. They lost wind and the tide was against them, too, so we caught up again. Then the wind changed. Winds were taking us across the river, then switched and we were moving more southerly. The other boats made the correction for the mark better than we did and made up their time.

But it was exciting!

Not only that, the temperature was perfect and, except for that mess at the end, the winds were great, too.

Depth Problems

Last week was a beautiful sail. The fog never did roll in enough to make visibility questionable for the race course.

We did, however, have to deal with depth gauge issues and two large freighters being pushed and pulled by tugs. One freighter/tug passed us, and it was looking like we’d have time to cross over the channel before the second one was upon us. All of the sudden, the depth meter started showing it shallow underneath us. It went quickly from 30-something feet to 6-8′. The maps didn’t show any shoaling there, but we tacked, just to be safe. Then, of course, we had to wait for the other ship to go past before we crossed the channel.

Then there was the mark we were heading to: Godwin Thoroughfare. It’s shallow around it, and gets very¬†shallow near shore. So when we were showing 6′ of water, we tacked to try for a closer approach. This time, we again showed it shallow, but we were closer to the mark, so we took it around, without any problem. Guess the earlier tack, in this case wasn’t warranted.

I talked with someone at work about our first problem. He said that when there was alot of turbulence from big ships, it could change the density of the water and play havoc with depth sounders. So my question to the more experienced on this list: is that true? Have you ever seen that?

On the second point, I did find that the depth near the shore around the Godwin Thoroughfare mark does get down to 3′ quite quickly. So I’m still glad we made the extra tack.

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Foggy Mornings

I love sailing. I love the feel of the wind on your face, the silent moving through the water, being outdoors. In fact, there’s little that I don’t love about the whole experience.

I love the fact that I have an electric engine. It’s not completely silent. But it’s quiet enough that you can hear the music on the stereo, or keep up a conversation with the folks on the boat, or just enjoy the feeling of being on the water.

On foggy mornings, I don’t imagine sailing. I imagine heading out, with the electric motor going. The area so quiet it feels like you’re the only one around. Not being able to see the shore, but knowing there are others out there in the mist, on the water, looking out, wondering if there’s someone unseen on the water. Faintly hearing the motor, because sound seems to travel so much better in the fog.

Today was a day like that. I heard the weather report this morning: heavy fog until noon. I dropped by the marina, to put ice in the icebox so that the drinks would be cold this evening when we headed out for the race. The fog was out there, on the river, and I yearned to go out and meet it.

Sigh! I had to go to work, to afford my boat habit, and leave it behind for now.

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