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Hukilau Sails the Sound
Saturday Solo

I almost didn't go sailing yesterday. I bought a new 2T hard drive so that Carl could give me his CD collection (14,300 cd's!), and I was stoked to get the unit to him today. But the weather was too nice to sit inside or do errands, and Patti was encouraging, so off to the boat I went.

There didn't seem to be much wind at all, and I bought a book with me in case I decided to just sit at the dock. And I almost did too. But the seemed to be a bit of a breeze, so I went. I am very glad I did. The wind was less than 10 knots, but it was enough. I had some very nice sailing.

Raised the main and unfurled the genny in the harbor, and the wind picked up a bit out in the Sound. I set a course east of south, and off we went. About a mile off shore, I turned more east, and ran almost to the Thimbles before turning around to head back. The weather was really wonderful, and the debris from Irene seemed to be mostly gone, although I did see some floating plywood and some other crap.

I was back in the harbor after a sail of about an hour and a half. Surprisingly, for the third time or so this year, my initial docking attempt was lame. I had to back out and try again. No harm done, but I seem to be losing my touch.


Our first real hurricane since I have owned this boat! Scott came out and helped me take down the main and genny, remove the booms and double up the lines. I also cut up an old towel to use as chafe protection. Used duct tape to seal up the companionway and the deck vent. I also used it on the cockpit and anchor lockers, as well as to secure the RF lines, etc.

I thought about hauling the boat, but after reading many posts on Sailnet and Odayowners, I decided my best shot was at the dock. When prepping for the storm on Friday (the storm was due on Saturday night), I noted that no one else had hauled either and so I felt better. I was afraid that if I pulled the boat, the parking lot was so low that a real storm surge would knock over boats on stands, or maybe even float them off the stands.

Anyway, the storm hit on Saturday night, and we lost power very early Sunday morning. Irene was officially a tropical storm when she made landfall somewhere in Fairfield County, but she dumped a lot of rain and wind anyway. We didn't get power or phone back until Monday late morning.

Dad went over on to the marina on Monday and told me the boat looked fine.
I didn't get the chance to go to the boat to see my self until the next Friday, and it was nice to see that there was no damage. I put the boom and main back on myself, and tidied up. One unforseen problem: the duct tape didn't come off cleanly. It left quite a mess.

On Saturday, Patti, Lily and I went to the boat for a sail. We put on the genny, filled the gas tank, and removed as much of the duct tape gunk as possible. We had a short sail as Lily got a little seasick, but it was fun to be back out. There was so much debris in the water! We saw whole trees and numerous logs and branches.

The weirdest thing: the Welcome Mat. Lily bought me that mat as a present about ten years ago, and it has graced the dock ever since. After I had prepped the boat for the hurricane, I realized that I had forgotten to take the mat with me. The most surprising thing I saw after the storm was that the mat was still there! One of the other guys told me the storm surge nearly lifted the docks off of the pilings and that the entire parking lot was flooded, but the mat somehow stayed on the dock.

Lily was very pleased with this, and we all looked over the mat before leaving the dock for our sail on Saturday. However, after we returned to the dock (our sail lasted about an hour and a half), the mat was gone! Did we somehow knock it into the water? Did someone swipe it? Very, very strange.

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.

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