Tell us what we did wrong yesterday.
Over the weekend the NWS was forecasting a warm day for yesterday with 10-15 kt S/SE wind and temps in the low 70's F. Sounded too tempting, so a buddy and I planned for an afternoon off to go out sailing. The night before we were going, the NWS upped the wind forecast to 15-20 kts with gusts up to 27 kts and a Lake Wind Advisory.
We met at the lake as planned to assess the situation. Definitely gusty, but there were no whitecaps, so we decided to head out and hoist the main only. We discussed reefing, but decided against it. Maybe we should have.
Initially, it was a pretty calm sail. A few gusts came up, but we just let the main out to spill some air and kept a pretty good pace in the 4-6 kt range. The lake is pretty much an east to west run, so the southerly wind put us on a starboard beam reach the whole time heading east. After a couple of miles out, we decided to come about 180 degrees and head west. That's where things went wrong.
In preparation, I centered the traveller and pulled the boom in to about 10 degrees off center. We came about by heading off the wind and as we were coming around the wind died. When we were just about 180 degrees from our initial heading a big gust came over the beam, swung the boom 20 degrees and immediately filled the sail fast and we were rained on by pieces of plastic in the cockpit. WTH? We looked up to see that about 5 sail slides had broken and the lower third of the main was billowing out to leeward. I went up on deck and tied the sail to the mast through a reefing grommet (see photo) and we made it back to the harbor fine, but sail shape was a bit compromised :roll eyes:
What should we have done differently? Should you always head into the wind for a 180 degree turn? Should we have reefed? Or did we just have old sail slides that were past the time to replace?
Edit: And does anyone know a good place to get a deal on sail slides and shackles?