While the drama queens were pulling hair, slapping each other, and sloshing around their running mascara...we went sailing.
A good friend of ours has some family in Corpus Christi and invited us down for the weekend. She wasn't sure what kind of boat they had - but assured us her uncle was a pretty good sailor.
Actually, it was a damn fine boat...a 2006 Beneteau 343 just off the back deck of his freakin' house:
And he was a damn fine sailor...who had raced in the TORC series in the '70's on every boat you can imagine. And had raced his previous boat, a Catalina 30, for over 20 years thereafter, picking up plenty of pickle dishes which he graciously showed me. He was also a diver, and had a bottom cleaning service up until a year or two ago. The dude definitely deserved a much-envied BFS hat and a beer:
David and our friend's cousin.
The sailing was actually pretty good both days. It was blowing steady 15-22, spurred on by some nice thunderstorms in the area:
And David taught us all a lot about handling the boat:
Our friend at the helm.
I did most of the driving - which was fine by me. We had to sail in the ICW a couple of hours to get out into the bay. I learned I'm not a big fan of the ICW. Way too much of a hassle. That's not sailing.
But we finally got out into the bay and opened her up in 20 knots. She was seriously tender due to her shoal keel. And dropping the centerboard helped - but not all that much on the tenderness side. Give me a deep keel any day. I'll just anchor farther out and throw empties at the shoalers.
She had a loose-footed in-mast furling main. I liked the loose-foot, but the in-mast furling is not for me. Way too hard to fine-tune the sail (at least this one). Of course, this boat was about convenience, not racing, so no big deal. However, the worm gear in the mast had already started deteriorating (edges breaking off the tracks) after only 5 years of sailing. I kind of expected more from Beneteau in the quality department - especially on such a critical system. Also, we had to be careful to manage the main while furling it. It was really easy to get it in a bind.
I guess what was weird about it all was that you had all this stuff to make it easier to sail, then you had the damn centerboard that you had to crank 50-80 times (one way) to avoid sliding across the water in a fresh breeze. That was a lot of work for little reward.
Yet, the twin rudders on this 343 did make it seriously stable on a hard beat. Very, very little tendency to round up. That I liked. Our boys even did some steering - which they loved. But they had a problem going from the tiller to the wheel - as did the wife. Always interesting to see sailor's dyslexia.
All in all, I learned I need a more performance oriented boat. I'm still a Beneteau fan - but I think I'll opt for the First series when the day comes.
This, my friends, is what it's all about.
Now - back to your regularly-scheduled mascara....