Hukilau Sails the Sound

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16 October 2020

The End of the Road

16 October 2020
Mike Stern
With the boat scheduled to come out of the water the week of Oct. 19, I needed to get the sails down this week.

Thursday, Oct 15 was open for me and it was predicted to be a nice day, so I took the day off with the intention of using the time to take a last sail and button up Hukilau. But Patti got salmonella poisoning and was in no shape to help, so I asked Josh if we wanted to come. He was all in.

The weather was predicted to be breezy; turns out, it was very breezy indeed. There was a small craft advisory out, with winds predicted to be 20+ mph.

Josh met me at the boat at 11. Surprisingly, the winds at the marina were not too strong. They should have pushed us such that leaving the slip, we would be facing bow out to the river. But they weren't strong enough to fight the prop walk to port, so we backed out.

Once we got out into the harbor, the wind strength became more pronounced. The tide was going out and the wind was trying to push it back in. It was very choppy in the harbor. And after we passed the Mermaids, it was even choppier. I decided to raise sail in the harbor, so I looked up to check the Windex. Off flew my Florida cap. Damn. But Josh quickly grabbed the boat hook, and we turned around to rescue it. Josh grabbed it on the first try. Impressive.

We then pushed out into the Sound. Waves were a steady three feet, with some occasionally bigger. We raised up the main with a reef, and rolled out half of the genoa, heading off to the southeast, with the winds strongly out of the southwest.

Waves were breaking over Totocket Reef (Negro Heads), so we tacked to the west, and headed to New Haven. The sailing was magnificent. The ride was mostly dry and comfortable. But because the tide was going out, we made only about 2 or 3 knots over the ground.

At around 2 pm, I decided to turn around. The winds were predicted to increase over the afternoon, and I didn't want to wrestle the sails off the boat in high winds. We had very fast and fun ride back, hitting over 6 knots. The main came down, but it was so rough that I didn't want Josh to have to climb to the cabin top to pull it down all the way. So he just threw some sail ties on to keep it out of our way, and we motored back.

Back at the dock, we took the sails down. I thought we might have to pull the genoa down, but once I released the halyard, it practically fell onto the bow and dock. The main was a little trickier, but not much. We put both in a dock cart, hauled them up to the parking lot, laid them out, folded, and bagged them. "Got Wind" came down, and I took the new table off to bring home to varnish. All in all, a very satisfying day.

Hopefully, things will be more back to normal in the spring, and we can do more of what we want to on the water.

Projects for the spring: put in new batteries; make a "gate" for the transom; plumb the head sink to the toilet for fresh water rinsing of the intake.
Vessel Name: Hukilau
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 28
Hailing Port: Branford, Conn.
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