Join Date: Jun 2004
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Lessons in downsizing from 50' to 28'
We think about Plan A, but we live in Plan B.
Hence "What I have learned on a little boat from Friday in Mt. Dessert Island to Monday in Tennant's Harbor Maine."
On a little sailboat, you don't go to a place. You go sailing. The place you actually reach results from a combination of wind, sea state and weather that varies throughout the sailing day. I should have known this from all my nautical readings, but Taronga (50' Passport cutter) was big and powerful enough to let me chose a destination and to get me there - Bermuda, Chesapeake, Maine, wherever. White Rabbit (28' Morris Linda sloop) isn't as fast (engine or sail), does not sail as close to the wind in weather, is slowed down by small to moderate head seas and is pretty much stopped in moderate and above head seas. Not Rabbit's problem, the issue is I have had to learn a new mind set approaching the sea and sailing. And it has been "interesting" so far - I am not known as a very patient man.
Son Alex and I spent two days holed up in Northeast Harbor, Maine as the temp ranged from 28 to 42 with 25 kts gusting to 35. With water temps of 44 and wind chills of serious cold, there was no sense in getting out, getting soaked, getting frozen, getting miserable. We left on Sunday at 0630 with the wind on the nose (naturally) and long tacked our way to the W - lots of piloting through the islands and ledges of mid-coast Maine. While doing this we were slowly working our way through the "shake down cruise" items - chartplotter issues, reefing line issues, roller furler issues, stowage issues and cabinet doors that latch with magnets (not particularly effective in a sea-way.) The wind and sea picked up at noon with steep white caps from our up-wind destination as we approached Vinylhaven Island. We had been intending to go through the middle passage - Fox Island Thoroughfare. That became a "not possible" so we bore off and headed south and under Vinylhaven, suddenly screaming along at 8 kts with a double reefed main and a large reef in the rolled up genoa. At the bottom of Vinylhaven, we motored slowly, slowly into the wind and piloted our way through a narrow, bending ledge-bound channel into Carver Harbor.
Carver Harbor is all lobster boats as it's a working harbor - there are no other sailboats out now anyway - we tied up to a boat yard's float, drank a beer and a glass wine each, ate pasta, lit the fireplace and were asleep before dark. Woke at 0530 to a clear day with moderating wind and sailed. Very nicely this time, it's amazing what the lack of a head sea will do for a 28' boat. We decided it would have been the perfect sail if the temperature had been another 30 degrees higher (we would have settled for another 20...) Sunshine at 40 degrees on the water is still very cold sunshine. Got (fetched) to Tennant's Harbor arriving about noon on Monday. I was supposed to be in Portland on Monday!
So much for Plan A. Alex had to get to work on Tuesday AM, so got him to Portland Airport via highway for a Monday late flight and then stayed last night at a friend's house in Thomaston; 4 miles from Tennant's Harbor. A shower never felt so good.
The current forecast is for rain through the end of the week with temperatures remaining in the low 50's. I am learning/will learn patience. I am not going to MV; each day I am going for a sail. Destination Martha's Vineyard is somewhere in the future.
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