Sails Up (part deux)
26 April 2016 | Herrington harbour South, Chesapeake Beach, MD
The “Big Girl” got to stretch her legs a bit this weekend in steady 15-18 kts of wind. Many thanks to this past weekend’s crew aboard SV Take Me There (Hunter, Joe, John, Brad, Cory and Garrett)! We spent most of the time zigging across Herring Bay close-hauled with no intent of making headway – but we had a great time. The team this weekend did a great job of putting the boat back together with nice tight sail covers and not a peek of sail showing! Nice work Fellas!...and thanks to Cory for the “new to me” suggestion of securing the main and mizzen halyards!
Today’s musings – “The Small Things.”
1. You learn more about your own boat when someone else is sailing her. It’s actually quite an opportunity – I get to watch the boat, the sail plan, the winds, traffic and water conditions in a much more holistic way when I’m not doing all of the deck-work…kind of nice! We put one reef in the main and rolled out only 75% of the jib to start with. We exposed the full sail plan after a few hours of steady wind and she remained stiff and weatherly, responding well since we had no real gusts.
2. What the hell is a “Float Free Channel (Marker)?” I had seen these markers twice in Herring Bay – had no idea what they meant. One of the crew googled it – turns out, it’s a “don’t put crab pots in here” marker. This is “my” first experience on the Chesapeake bay…but I’m told that eventually the crab pots will be a nuisance to sailing and some wily old crabbing captains will cheat into the channels. Good news is we have a full keel and skeg-hung rudder (this was a bonus in the Gulf and up Hawk Channel) – sure hope this configuration mitigates most of the risk of fouling the prop here in the Bay. We do have a line cutter on the shaft – which is nice too.
3. My reef is “baggy?” We have 3-reefing points in the main – all line reefing from the cockpit. What I don’t have is a cringle at each reef point to tighten the leech and we did not use the on-sail ties (at the reef-point on the boom) – which affected sail shape. Translation – we were not optimized in shape and foil performance…hence we sort of plodded along. Once I let the reef out – and sail shape came back – relative performance improved. Lesson learned – use the tie-downs – sail shape is crucial or you might as well be paddling!
4. Jib sheet attack angle. I had the sheets blocked too far forward for close hauled work…our sheet tracks are manually set (can only be adjusted forward/backward when as the lazy sheet). Each time we came about – I forgot to change the attack angle on the lazy side. Note to self – put a sticky in the cockpit to remind me or I’ll never learn the right attack angle setup.
5. The fuel dock is always full when you need it? I had an opportunity to pump-out our black water tank (free) on the way out each morning to sail this weekend…but in my excitement of wanting to get out on the wind, I deferred the visit for the return trip back down the fairway to the slip – Bad Choice! Each day, upon returning – there isn’t an “inch” of room on the fuel dock until shortly before dark. Lesson learned – when you gotta go…GO (meaning pump out)! Now I will relegate myself to paying the $16.00 to have the pump-out boat visit my slip…because (a) I will not spend an hour of getting in/out of the slip in a 53 ft boat to pump-out myself for free…and (b) I will be filling the tank each day (since we live aboard) so it will get full quickly and the new second tank hasn’t been tested with water yet…still finishing up the install.