Join Date: Dec 2011
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Re: Big Freakin' Sails
My first BFS.
After a successful night of nerdowelling in Victoria, I procured a ride back to my boat anchored in Tod Inlet on Van. Island for my bike and I. Was quite happy and a little shocked to find the Folly almost exactly where I left her (It was the first time I've ever anchored overnight, as well as leaving her unattended at anchor. The night in town had definitely been with the risk). After spending the morning layzing around on the hook recuperating, I decided to motor over to Blue's Bayou Cafe for a late brunch before heading back to my mooring in Cowichan Bay, 15nm away.
Heading down to the dock after a very delicious meal, I was very heartened to feel the breeze picking up out of the west, it would be a nice beam reach all the way home. In the distance I could see several sailboats out on Brentwood Bay but only one had a sail up, a 50 foot ketch flying a single jib. With my five months of sailing experice I mentally mocked these sailors for not taking advantage of the sunny skies and stiff breeze. Casting off I motored past all the moored boats thinking to myself that the wind felt a little stronger then normal. I reasoned that it must just be the apparent wind because I was motoring, to be on the safe side I decided to start out with just my genoa. Pointing my bow into the wind I quickly lashed the tiller, hopped on deck, raised the foresail, hopped back in the cockpit, and changed course to north, promptly finding myself standing on the sides of the starboard seats hanging on to a port side stanchion with one hand and the tiller with the other watching the water zoom by just below my feet as my (pFolly heeled over to 35+ degrees. I now realized why no one else was sailing, the winds were significantly stronger then the 10 to 15 knots I was used to.
After several tense moments I realized I wasn't going to capsize, my book was right Cal 25s are a forgiving boat. Not sure what to do I started the motor as the wind blew me back and forth between a port and starboard tack. The best course of action seemed to be to drop the sail so next time I was on the starboard tack with the sail backwinding I tied off the tiller , went foreward and wrestled down the genoa.
With the sail down and stowed I settled in for a long noisy motor home, my engine being a 25hp 2stroke. After about a half hour of motoring my heart started to calm down, the adrenaline slacked off and my eyes returned to their normal size. under barepoles I was still heeled over 10 to 15 degrees. Realizing that if I want to sail around the Pacific I was going to have to learn how to handle these kind of conditions, so I decided to raise my normal jib. Pointing the bow into the wind I banked on the foresail as fast as possible, put myself back on a beam reach and felt my heart start racing again as I watched the gauge go back to 20 degrees of heel. Each gust pushed to 25 making me grip the tiller that much harder. After a while I came to the conclusion that despite my book saying that you should try to keep your boat under 15 degrees of heel 25 wasn't going to capsize her and I was able to sit back and enjoy the very exhilerating ride.
On getting back to my mooring I found my radio turned it on and found out that winds were 25-30 knots gusting to 40.
That's my first BFS. I admit that there were some errors in judgment made by me, but I survived, the boat survived, I learned some stuff and consider myself a better sailor for it.
Last edited by Agri; 08-05-2012 at 02:53 PM.