Hukilau Sails the Sound

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Days getting shorter

23 August 2011
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.
Vessel Name: Hukilau
Vessel Make/Model: Oday 23
Hailing Port: Branford, Conn.
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