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Old 10-08-2012
gnusailor gnusailor is offline
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My new toy.

My first sailboat!

About a week ago, I bought my first sailboat... a Mutt 15'.... which is probably beyond my current skills ... no, not probably...

After much practice stepping the mast, lowering it, rigging and de-rigging my boat and a great deal of learning and a few mis-steps (no pun intened) I made my first trip to Bluewater last Saturday. After an hour of preparation, I finally put 'er in the water (The boat, not the wife). What i learned from that trip was that the bailers needed a great deal of maintenance... the O rings were either missing or rotted and I had about 4" of water aboard in 10 minutes or so, so i pulled her back out, de-rigged and drained her and went home for mainenance. . I took the bailers out, put in new o rings then re-installed them and put several inches of water in the boat and voila!! only a drip or so.

With the newly fixed bailers, back to the water on Sunday I went! After a few problems with the boat... self inflicted... I was out in the lake, sail (main only) up and practicing working the main sheet and rudder . I sailed for about an 1.5 to 2 hours... going from one end of the lake to the other, practicing tacks and keeping on a path to a point, trimming the sail when it "luffed", . WOW.

Then came the test!!.. I was sailing back to dock... wondering how i was going to keep going in one direction, pulling down the sail and then getting to the dock without hitting it.... and all those fishers were there so I was also trying to avoid collision and practicing the "rules of the road".

I tried to do a starboard tack got broadside of the wind and ... whooose... ... you guessed it!

I remembered the "righting the boat" procedures, loosing the sheet (should I have released the halyard too?) swam to the bottom of the boat, grabbed the center board and .... couldnt get enough leverage to pull her back up. Fortunatly one of the fishing boats came over to help. I asked him to go around and lift the mast out of the water and... wow, that was all it took to get her back up!

Next problem was getting back aboard. Since there was no rope accessable, no ladder (yet!), nothing to grab onto this proved to be harder than I thought. Again, the fishers helped me onto their boat and then got back to mine!

I dropped the sail, and asked them to pull me back to the dock (the oar wasnt sufficient to battle the winds, even with the sail down). pulled her out, gathered my wits and belongings, and packed it home!

I think the reason I capsized was I didnt release the main sheet to dumped air. I was hiking as much as I could to the windward side, pulling the rudder to turn to port, But I think I kept the sail close hauled rather than going broad. Does that sound right? I'd like to avoid doing that again, but I am not put off!! back I'll go when the weather cooperates. Yes, Bluewater winds are capricious.

As for the wife... she had wisely decided that she had other things to do, stayed home, and had a good laugh at my mis-fortune. Which brings me to some questions... was my evaluation of why I capsized reasonable? since it is mostly remembering... and no instant replay...???

I think a boat ladder would be a good investment or is it more trouble than it is worth for a dinghy?

I had been thinking about putting a small outboard on, and was initially thinking an electric trolling motor might be ok, but have now rulled that out.... somehow a 70lb battery in the water does not sound too good. I am now looking to a 2.5/3.5 motor < 60lbs. Will this make the boat a bit more unstable? If I had had one, I would have dropped the sails earlier and gone back under power. I also assume that if I had a motor and capsized, I would have needed to do a bunch of mainenance to get the motor running again...??? Yes??? no???

any help is appreciated...
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