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Old 03-26-2010
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Took the new main out for a test drive

I recruited one of my buddies to crew with me after work yesterday. The unstable air made for challenging sailing (for me, anyway). There were long, strong gusts, mingled with brief periods where it seemed that the wind would nearly die. This caused lots of sail trimming.

The gusting was so strong, that I was hesitant to use both sails, so as on Sunday, I started with the main.

Ok, I'm just not ever going to do that again unless I'm on a beam reach or I'm running. I don't know about other boats, but my boat doesn't point worth a fart on the main alone.

So I dug around for a moment, found my testicles and raised the jib. Night and day difference. I had good control and could point to the course I wanted.

The new main is very nice and was perfect for the weather. It's a heavier cloth, with heavy leather reinforcements on the corners and some serious stitching. The chandlery says it was probably built for offshore use. It has one deep reef, and full battens. Clean and white and I can actually get different shapes in it.

We sailed across the mouths of the Rhode and West rivers. When a gust would pipe up, I'd hold not knowing how severe or how long it would last. The boat would heel, heel, and heel some more until the rub rail got close to the water, so I'd ease the sheets. Then the gust would die out and we'd slow and the sails would luff until we harden the sheets again. Sometimes a milder gust would come along that would give us a nice burst of speed without requiring a change in trim.

The wind was as strong as on Sunday, but the waves hadn't built up yet so yesterday's sail was better.

We changed course and ran out to edge of the Chespeake. The chop was stonger there but I was game for it. Unfortunately, the whole thing was kind of an impulse and my buddy had to get home so we decided to return. I tacked right into a gust and the heel was so bad, that I chickened out on the tiller and stalled the boat. I fell off, we got our momentum back and the next time I put the helm over like I meant it.

We reached back to the channel, and ran wing on wing back to Ponder Cove where the wind utterly died in the shelter of the land and trees. I tell ya, I wouldn't need the engine at all if I didn't have to make such a tight dogleg to get to my slip.
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