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post #1 of Old 03-31-2013 Thread Starter
Winch Fouler
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Location: Winter Park, FL
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Chapter 1: Our first cruise

We made big plans. We were going to sail 25 nautical miles, from Port Charlotte down the Peace River to Cayo Costa state park aboard our new 1978Watkins 27, Miss Marisol. Crew included my wife and 5 year-old daughter.

Although I have experience sailing dinghy's, my only experience with a 20+ foot sailboat was in ASA 101. This is also my only experience with a winch.

As I hoisted the main halyard for the first time I managed to foul the line on the winch at a point where the main was as tight as it could get. Damn.

Leading up to this point, I had dreamed about sailing Miss Marisol every night for the past week. Literally. In every dream, every night.

I unfurled the genoa and we were sailing. But I had a problem I couldn't fix. I pulled out my iPad and started searching for solutions online. I tried running the line forward and around to another winch to break the catch. This and every other idea was useless. My girls were getting upset.

At this point, the wind died. We moved 100 yards in 40 minutes. I spent this time working on my fouled line. I had to cut the halyard to drop the main.

We then motored a few miles to find the wind, and started sailing on the genoa. This was a good decision. We saw several dolphins including a mother and baby, and some large rays. The motor was off and my girls where smiling. I had worried that my girls would have a bad experience and not enjoy sailing.

Our big plans were cancelled. We decided to turn around and head back to the dock where I could replace the halyard. We stayed aboard Miss Marisol (kept at a dock behind a strangers house via Craigslist) and awoke the next morning to solve our problems. I bought a new line, met with a rigger who could splice the end loop, and arranged to get my 1 missing mast step replaced.

Then we enjoyed another 3-hour cruise, sailing on the genoa.

This wasn't the grand adventure I had imagined, but it was great family time. My girls loved it when the sails were up and the diesel off. They played cards (Go Fish) while I tacked up to Punta Gorda. Their smiles told me everything I needed to know.

Fairwinds, Ryan
s/v Miss Marisol
1978 Watkins 27

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