Here on the Chesapeake, some of us aren't done sailing.
Yesterday was 60F, partly cloudy and when I departed from the dock, it was blowing 20 knots varying rather widely between the west and northwest.
20 knots for me is fun, lively sailing. I reefed at the dock and loaded the 130% genoa. We shot out of my river as if from a canon. Downwind sailing, 6.5 - 7.5 knots.
Down the Rhode, into the West river, and out into the Bay. After a few minutes, I felt the boat being pushed even harder and I just knew that the uphill slog back into the West River was going to be some real work.
I turned the boat back west, and got my a$$ totally handed to me by a 32 knot wind. Boat's on her side, water splashing over the coamings, even with a two-speed winch
, I simply couldn't grind that jib
in. We were being shoved sideways by the waves and wind. The winch
was intermittantly underwater. All leeway and no headway.
I gave up and fell off. Now we're under control and flying, but being driven further away from home, to the SE. This time, I want to tack and sail north to get lined up with the mouth of the river. It took two tries to get the bow through the wind, and I still couldn't get the jib
in enough, but I was able to start the engine and drive us north, even with the mouth of the river, finally getting the jib
sheeted in to the correct point.
We tacked again to sail WSW back into the river and I was able to disengage the engine. We tacked one final time to sail north, into the Rhode river to my marina.
I was disappointed that I chose an incorrect sail for the conditions, and disappointed that I allowed myself to be overpowered, and required the engine even briefly. Seriously, 32 knots deserves respect but I should have been able to handle this.
I intend to sail around Delmarva and if I can't handle a 30 knot breeze, I have no business being out there.
I have an auto-pilot
, but it's not installed yet.
I do have a storm jib
, but it was in my storage unit in town, not on the boat where it shoud have been.
I considered dropping the main, but felt that I would lose my ability to point, and require even more engine work to return to port. The Pearson 30 derives it's "drive" from the jib, and main balances the helm and provides pointing ability.