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Hukilau Sails the Sound
Days getting shorter

Went out for a sail after work last night. The breeze seemed to be pretty gusty based on the view outside my office windows, but by the time I was able to leave at about 5:30, it had calmed down a bit. The flags were flying on the bridges and in the parking lots on my way over to the marina, but by the time I got off the highway, the trees weren't moving much.

At the dock, there was a pleasant breeze, but not too much. I decided not to put a reef in the main at the dock. Motoring out, I seemed to be almost the only boat on the move; it was a little hard to understand as the evening was beautiful: low humidity, upper 70's, big puffy clouds in the sky, and flat water.

It was a very high tide, and I decided to put up my sails just outside the Mermaids. Unusually, the winds were from almost due west. Once the sails were up, the winds gradually seemed to increase to the point where I was heeling over almost 20 degrees. I still wasn't in the Sound yet, and I was fighting weather helm. I decided to roll in the genny some. that helped, but ononce into the Sound, I was still overpowered. I reefed down the genny more (to about a 100% blade), and was more on my feet.

I sailed towards the Cow and Calf, passing them just to the east. The winds were flukey: first strong (maybe 13 knots), then down to about 10 knots or less. After sailing for about 20 minutes, the winds seemed to be dying down quite a bit. I decided to turn around and head back to make sure I had at least some wind for the ride back (sunset was in about 45 minutes). Of course, as soon as changed course, the wind picked up and the sailing was beautiful. As I approached the harbor, I decided I wanted to sail more so I changed course again, and had some nice sailing before the wind began to die again. I headed back into the harbor, this time starting the engine as I passed the big rock (just in case the wind died completely as I was passing it to leeward).

Back at the dock, I screwed up my approach (no wind!) and had to back out and go again.

All in all, about an hour and half on the water.

Back from Vacation

We took a two week vacation to the Pacific NW: Seattle, the Cascades, Victoria and Vancouver. Some spectacular scenery, fly fishing, a ferry ride through the San Juan Islands, and in Vancouver harbor, some amazing megayachts.

We got back Aug 4th, and I didn't get a chance to go sailing that weekend; I also had a lot of work to catch up on, and had to be in DC on top of that, so the earliest I could get to Hukilau was yesterday, Saturday the 13th.

Dan and Patti were in Vermont looking at Middlebury and UVM, and Lily didn't want to go, so it was only me. The day was beautiful, sunny, some clouds, but low humidity. One problem: no wind. The flags were snapping in New Haven harbor, but there was barely a breath of air in the river and Branford harbor. I motored out, and on the way, one sailboat on the way back in motioned to me that there was no wind at all. I decided to go into the Sound to see what was happening.

No wind. A very light puff (less than 5 knots) every now and then, but that's it. A few boats had their sails up. I looked at them with my binocs, and their sails were slack. I gave up quickly and motored back in. I went behind the Big Mermaid to check out the mooring field. Lots of people had the same idea as me. I think I saw the Geyeski's boat out there (how many Pearson Alberg 35's with a bright blue hull are there in Branford?). Lots of folks jumping into the water from their boats and relaxing.

I picked one of the few open moorings (it said "Private") and snagged it on the second try. I shut down, pulled out a Landshark, the latest issue of Sail, and relaxed in the cockpit on my Sport-a-Seat. Moored right in front of me was "Holiday Routine" from Goodsell Point. They recognized me and waved, and I waved back. Of course, a light breeze came in after some time. Not really enough to do good sailing, but at least it would have moved the boat.

Awhile later, Chick and Mrs. Chick came by and circled around Holiday until they left and Chick picked up the mooring. I stayed for a bit more than an hour, then headed back in.

I missed my first attempt at docking (weird because there was almost no wind), but no damage and the second time was fine. Scrubbed the deck and then home.

Everyone needs a break

Yesterday (Sunday, July 17), the whole family went out for a swim cruise. I think we all needed some stress relief as Peter had just had his operation on Friday and only gone home later that Sunday. It had been a strain for all of us, but especially Patti.

Earlier in the day, we all went to the Guilford Craft Expo. Some very cool stuff, but all in all, I think Patti and Lily were a bit disappointed. Dan was bored stiff. Afterwards, we made our way to Branford, and all changed into bathing suits.

The weather was nice: a bit on the hot side (about 90 or so), but there was a nice breeze of about 10-12 knots. Despite this (or maybe because of it), we decided not to sail and to make for a mooring in the harbor immediately. It was after 5 pm, so most people were heading in not out. Almost all of the mooring balls were emptly. Patti wanted to return to the "Private" mooring we had been kicked-off of last week, but I prevailed upon her to go to the adjacent, unmarked mooring that we had moved to after our dispossession (and that we had used the week before that).

A quick tie up, and the ladder was in the water. Patti, Dan and I went in quickly. It was hot and the water was cool and refreshing. Lily however, would not do more than hang off the ladder before retreating to the cockpit. Maybe the "narwhal" or "submarine" we saw was to blame. Floating right next to Dan was a stick that was protruding about a foot above the surface. It was floating straight up and down, and we all had a good laugh about what it might be. Soon after, I saw that it was just a stick with a large glop of mud and marine growth at its base. The growth and the mud counterbalanced each other perfectly, making the stick look like a periscope.

Back in the cockpit, Patti and I had a beer while the kids relaxed and joked. We had some interesting conversations over the next hour and half before we all got too hungry and went back to the marina. Dinner at the Shoreline Diner (lots of gluten free food), then back to the ol' sea dog.

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