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post #1 of 9 Old 06-04-2008 Thread Starter
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Experience just kinda sneaks up on you

Last Sunday I took my nephew (my usual first mate) and his new girlfriend out in my 1978 Newport 28 for an afternoon sail. It was her first time on a sailboat, ever, and he really wanted to show her a fun afternoon (read nice, peaceful sail).

We headed out of White Rocks Marina in Baltimore, MD into the Patapsco River, and as we were motoring out of the creek I noticed clouds building over Baltimore. As we sailed around a bit, I kept checking the weather radar on my cell phone, and finally decided we'd head back in to see where the weather went.

Back at the dock we had a bite to eat, and watched the storm pass well to the north of us. So we headed back out, and as we're motoring out again I look to the southwest of us and see yet another big dark cloud building. So I checked the weather radar again, and could see that this one would pass to the south, so we figured we'd stay out this time. (Cue "Jaws" theme music.)

As we're sailing around I'm keeping an eye on the weather, and though it was passing to the south of us it seemed to be growing in size -- and sure enough, we started getting some rain drift off it as it went by. No big deal though, it slacked off after about ten minutes and the sun started coming back out. That's when the fun started.

We were on a beam reach in SW winds at about 10kts, when suddenly we got slammed by a burst from the NW. I mean, this came with no warning at all -- I figure it must have been some following wind from the storm that just went by, a tail-end microburst or something. When I checked the weather buoy right by the Key Bridge (about two miles from where we were), it recorded winds up to 34 kts.

But the interesting thing was the behavior of my boat. She took the wind right on the port bow, shuddered for a second, then came up into the wind to a close reach and took off like a bat out of hell, sails a-flappin'. My nephew and I trimmed in just a bit to get them under control, but let some spill out to keep her as level as possible, in consideration of our newbie passenger. Then we just rode that rocket for about ten minutes until it all passed.

We had plenty of sea room, being headed approximately for the center of the Key Bridge two miles away, and when it died back to down to about 15 kts or so we tacked around and headed back to the White Rocks. Our passenger said it was a lot of fun!

Afterwards, when I had time to think about it, I realized how far I'd come in the past five years of sailing larger (20+ feet) boats, after growing up with sailing dingys and such. When I first started taking my ASA and USSA certifications I'd have been changing my drawers afterwards if I'd been caught in winds like that. Now it was just a situation to adapt to as quickly as possible, and we turned it into an exhilarating ride. (Just to point out how strong that wind was when it hit, I saw another sailboat larger than mine heel over until I swear I saw her keel come out of the water -- she must have been close to being on her beam ends.)

But what really impressed me was the behavior of my boat, the way she took the hit, then leaned into it and ran like a thoroughbred. I'll have a lot more confidence in her after that performance, no doubt.

Just thought you all would like to hear the story. Take care, everybody!
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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It won't be long before you'll be spinning tales even bigger than a certain Portuguese refugee that lives in his mom's basement and forces visitors to dress in drag if they go sailing with him on what is called a holiday...

congrats and glad to see it all kicking in...

-- Jody

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post #3 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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Jas-

Nicely written... good to see all the time you're spending on the water is finally paying off.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #4 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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Good stuff. I think we focus too much on the boats and their qualities sometimes...it's the people aboard and their attitude and experience that determine whether most situations are seen as dangerous or as opportunities.

Sometimes I take the boat out in fairly "marginal" weather (cold, rainy, gusty) and it's usually me and only a couple of other "masochists" out there. But I enjoy having plenty of leeway around me and I feel generally confident that I can keep the boat safe and me on the boat.

I sometimes hear the statement, after I show up at the bar with plastered hair and trailing water drops "you wouldn't see me out there today". I usually reply, "maybe not, but there was good wind, and wind makes sailboats go!"

This is forgotten sometimes by a lot of our "sailing" brethren. I will also go out in "dead air", because ghosting at 1.5 knots with all sail out on a summer's day is better than standing ashore looking at the water.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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Valiente-

We go out during SCA's all the time, since an SCA usually has two benefits... 1) A fair amount of wind; 2) very few powerboats will venture out during one.

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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #6 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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Great story ja, I enjoyed it and could relate.
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...it's the people aboard and their attitude and experience that determine whether most situations are seen as dangerous or as opportunities.
How very true Val. I always pushed the envelope when solo-sailing my Nauticat, but needed to constrain myself when my wife was aboard - which was most of the time. But every now and then, I had a fearless sailing guest who shared my enthusiasm.

Ironically, one of the best sails I had with that boat, was with the new owner during his maiden sail, while taking the helm for the first time. From the time we left the marina channel into open water, to just before returning, we were close and beam reaching in 18-20+ knot winds. He kept the rails constantly wet and was quite obviously, immensely thrilled with the boat and her responsiveness.

It was a joyful day - selling my boat at a good price, but this joy was overshadowed by the bittersweet sense of loss, like the separation of two lovers.

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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It was a joyful day - selling my boat at a good price, but this joy was overshadowed by the bittersweet sense of loss, like the separation of two lovers.
Well TB, now you just need to find a new 'lover' to go with those fancy sunglasses of yours!!
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
Last Sunday I took my nephew (my usual first mate) and his new girlfriend out in my 1978 Newport 28 for an afternoon sail. It was her first time on a sailboat, ever, and he really wanted to show her a fun afternoon (read nice, peaceful sail).

We headed out of White Rocks Marina in Baltimore, MD into the Patapsco River, and as we were motoring out of the creek I noticed clouds building over Baltimore. As we sailed around a bit, I kept checking the weather radar on my cell phone, and finally decided we'd head back in to see where the weather went.

Back at the dock we had a bite to eat, and watched the storm pass well to the north of us. So we headed back out, and as we're motoring out again I look to the southwest of us and see yet another big dark cloud building. So I checked the weather radar again, and could see that this one would pass to the south, so we figured we'd stay out this time. (Cue "Jaws" theme music.)

As we're sailing around I'm keeping an eye on the weather, and though it was passing to the south of us it seemed to be growing in size -- and sure enough, we started getting some rain drift off it as it went by. No big deal though, it slacked off after about ten minutes and the sun started coming back out. That's when the fun started.

We were on a beam reach in SW winds at about 10kts, when suddenly we got slammed by a burst from the NW. I mean, this came with no warning at all -- I figure it must have been some following wind from the storm that just went by, a tail-end microburst or something. When I checked the weather buoy right by the Key Bridge (about two miles from where we were), it recorded winds up to 34 kts.

But the interesting thing was the behavior of my boat. She took the wind right on the port bow, shuddered for a second, then came up into the wind to a close reach and took off like a bat out of hell, sails a-flappin'. My nephew and I trimmed in just a bit to get them under control, but let some spill out to keep her as level as possible, in consideration of our newbie passenger. Then we just rode that rocket for about ten minutes until it all passed.

We had plenty of sea room, being headed approximately for the center of the Key Bridge two miles away, and when it died back to down to about 15 kts or so we tacked around and headed back to the White Rocks. Our passenger said it was a lot of fun!

Afterwards, when I had time to think about it, I realized how far I'd come in the past five years of sailing larger (20+ feet) boats, after growing up with sailing dingys and such. When I first started taking my ASA and USSA certifications I'd have been changing my drawers afterwards if I'd been caught in winds like that. Now it was just a situation to adapt to as quickly as possible, and we turned it into an exhilarating ride. (Just to point out how strong that wind was when it hit, I saw another sailboat larger than mine heel over until I swear I saw her keel come out of the water -- she must have been close to being on her beam ends.)

But what really impressed me was the behavior of my boat, the way she took the hit, then leaned into it and ran like a thoroughbred. I'll have a lot more confidence in her after that performance, no doubt.

Just thought you all would like to hear the story. Take care, everybody!
I have a relative with a Newport 28 who has reported that it has done well in all sorts of conditions.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-05-2008
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I raced on a Newport 27 for five seasons, and about the only knock I can give it is that it's a little light to close-haul in more than three-foot seas. But on a run with 18-25 knots, it would frequently surf at 10-12 knots, pretty impressive on a boat that size and vintage. Basically, it was a C&C 27 hull with a different deck and about 1,500 lbs. less ballast.
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