Some times things just work out...
Yesterday I had plans to go out with some friends sailing. I was looking forward to it as one is the previous owner and getting him on the boat always gives me some good insight. Got a call from the head sailmaker for loft I use out here and he has been on my boat before and again, having him out sailing teaches me a huge amount. So it looked like I was going to have a sail with 2 super experienced guys on the boat. I get there and the wind is great, not a cloud in the sky, and its perfect. Get a call from both guys, they wont be making it. So I decide to hoist the sails and cruise at least in the harbor. If I am going out of the harbor I usually motor all the way out since its a good mile or so from my slip to the ocean. I raised sails and decided I'd sail around the harbor, then head in early. Well the wind had me on a perfect beam reach up the channel. Usually its 90 degrees and you must tack or gybe up the channel. Wow...ok...so in no time, and no tacks I am almost to the ocean! Wow...ok. Point towards the Ocean. Ahead of me is an older 30 ft wooden sailboat with a rounded stern. He leaves the harbor and turns south, I am about 1/4 mile behind him and I do the same. I trim my sail, look up and if I wasnt careful would have rear ended him! Wow, sure shows the speed difference between my boat and that boat! Pull around him and he offers to drag race for pinks...lol. Before I know it hes in the distance. I tack and head up the coast...boat is doing 6.5 knots, about 10-12k wind and fairly calm sea state. I look around me and see the pod of dolphins swimming with me! I look behind me and I see one swimming just below the surface right behind me. Cross a powerboat wake and I see them surfing in the wake and then jumping around. WOW. I look next to me and a 30 ft sailboat is on the same tack as me. We drag race for about 20 minutes and I am making adjustments looking at the other boat and my GPS speed to see what helps and what doesnt in these conditions. Great learning tools! I go up the coast a while, then tack and head back down and again the boat is doing 6-6.5 knots steady, wind is still a steady 10 max, I would say from boat speed maybe a tad bit more 12 max. The sea state was 3 foot waves and long intervals, so it was enough to make the boat move but not enough to get the deck wet. I was able to just enjoy the day, the sun, the wind, the sound of the boat through the water, just a wonderful sail. This got me thinking. In less than 2 years I have become competent. Some would say more than that but I am learning still. Using travelers and boom vangs to adjust sail shape in certain wind conditions to move the boat more efficiently, and having the confidence to be out there singlehanded. It was a great feeling. 6 months ago I would have been out but not comfortable. A year ago I wouldnt have been out in those conditions. There was a bit of chop, and a few white caps out there. My general rule has been no sailing in white caps, now thats when the fun starts! I used to be happy if the boat was going 5 knots...6 was a bonus. Now I am seeing high 6s regularly and when the wind picks up 7s. 9.6 was reached downwind in 15-20kts and that was a blast ow stable that was. Yup, I am finding myself frequently walking away from the boat saying, "THAT was an excellent sail!". It used to be just going out was nice, and it still is, but now that I understand the boat much more, and I am comfortable in bigger wind and rougher sea states, I can enjoy it much more. Looking forward to adding electronics to the boat and...SPINNAKER! Going to get an Asymmetric Spinnaker this year and fly that. Always more to learn right! Looking forward to getting this boat in the teens downwind with a spinnaker!
S/V Cuajota - 1975 WD Schock Santana 30
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