Last Man Standing
Join Date: Aug 2008
Thanked 186 Times in 178 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Well it was very short and very sweet, but it was BFS. And though I sucked as a sailor, I had fun and learned a couple of things.
My wife and I went out yesterday for an evening sail...hoping to hop on the GR course for a run. It was the first time she and I had sailed together without the kids. The winds were SSW at about 15 knots. It was perfect.
We motored out of the marina and hoisted the sails (main and 150), lifted the motor, and were cruising along very nicely at 6 knots. It was perfect.
We sailed toward the channel between Sometimes Islands and MDP Point and were just lining up for the start at Mark B - and BAM! A very long, sustained 30+ knot gust hit us right on the butt and pushed us over. Smackmutha was at the helm and emitted a "wooooooooooohoooooo" and a giggle (always a good sign) as we laid over at about 45 degrees and rounded up (does that qualify as a broach?). I released the jib sheet preparing to tack us away from the rocks which were now about 150 feet to leeward. Another even higher gust hit right then and we couldn't get through the wind to complete the tack. It was no longer perfect.
I went back to starboard to sheet in the genny as we came back around to at least let us edge away from the rocks (we had about 100 feet left). However, the sheet was completely in the water. My boat partner had taken the boat out over the weekend and, apparently, had taken the stop knots out of the sheets. Not sure why - but there you go. Luckily the port-side sheet was holding so I scrambled forward to pull in the clew in grab the trailing sheet. My wife did a hell of a job keeping us in irons as much as possible. 30 knots and a flailing 150 is a hell of a lot of power. I finally wrestled the bastard in and grabbed the sheet and scrambled back to the cockpit.
I wrapped the sheet around the winch and tried to get us some purchase so we could make away from the rocks. But, since the sheet was no longer in the block and because the clew was so high and far back on the 150, I couldn't really winch it in. The sheet would wrap the second I'd try to take it in. (Advice?) So I tried manhandling the sheet in to give us some punch. As if. So we've got a wildly luffing genny and WAY too much main - and we're not making any headway. In fact, we're making great leeway.
About 50 feet left. Motor time.
I let go the sheet, lifted the lazarette hatch, lowered the motor, and prayed. I had one shot at this. And anyone that knows small outboards knows that it's always a pure Hail Mary. Running through the checklist - kill switch/cord in place, one pump for a prime (not two you'll flood it), half throttle, full choke, in neutral, and...
It was just then that I noticed the sheet in the water, just about a foot from the prop. I read all those MOB stories on SN where the majority of problems occurred when the prop would foul on a line. But thinking through that and checking for lines in the water in the heat of the moment? Not as easy as it sounds - even though I promised myself that would be part of my checklist. I pulled the line out of the water and glanced up.
I pull....nothing....crap...pull again....
What a wonderful sound. I shoved us into gear and started slowly pushing into the wind - which had not let up yet - and away from the rocks. My wife noticed that the temperature had dropped a few degrees - which explained the wind. I hadn't noticed anything.
I ran forward and doused the genny. Luckily the flogging didn't rip anything. I then doused the main and got back in the cockpit, breathing hard through a cotton-dry mouth. Holy crap that was close.
I told my wife that with only the genny on board, the wind so high, and sun starting to set we should probably head back in. She mocked me - told me to harden up, put a reef in the main, and sail some more. I seriously love that woman.
She was right! Here was my chance to get some more practice in and I was spooked. What a pansy.
So up went the reefed main. The wind had died a bit to around 22 or so. So we threw up the genny as well. Man that reefing thing works! We had a blast.
Another great day on the water.
1. I really need to get a 110 - and maybe even a smaller big wind sail. And I need to add a second reef point in the main, I really want to be able to deal with 30-40 knots of wind pretty comfortably. I just can't do it right now with my configuration. Advice?
2. I need to do a much more thorough check of the boat at the dock before pushing off. The sheet thing was my fault for not catching the problem beforehand - and it really sucked.
3. I love BFS. But I love my hard-assed wife even more.
S/V Dawn Treader - 1989 Hunter Legend 40
Last edited by smackdaddy; 04-06-2010 at 04:15 PM.