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TheWollard 03-31-2013 08:52 AM

Chapter 1: Our first cruise
We made big plans. We were going to sail 25 nautical miles, from Port Charlotte down the Peace River to Cayo Costa state park aboard our new 1978Watkins 27, Miss Marisol. Crew included my wife and 5 year-old daughter.

Although I have experience sailing dinghy's, my only experience with a 20+ foot sailboat was in ASA 101. This is also my only experience with a winch.

As I hoisted the main halyard for the first time I managed to foul the line on the winch at a point where the main was as tight as it could get. Damn.

Leading up to this point, I had dreamed about sailing Miss Marisol every night for the past week. Literally. In every dream, every night.

I unfurled the genoa and we were sailing. But I had a problem I couldn't fix. I pulled out my iPad and started searching for solutions online. I tried running the line forward and around to another winch to break the catch. This and every other idea was useless. My girls were getting upset.

At this point, the wind died. We moved 100 yards in 40 minutes. I spent this time working on my fouled line. I had to cut the halyard to drop the main.

We then motored a few miles to find the wind, and started sailing on the genoa. This was a good decision. We saw several dolphins including a mother and baby, and some large rays. The motor was off and my girls where smiling. I had worried that my girls would have a bad experience and not enjoy sailing.

Our big plans were cancelled. We decided to turn around and head back to the dock where I could replace the halyard. We stayed aboard Miss Marisol (kept at a dock behind a strangers house via Craigslist) and awoke the next morning to solve our problems. I bought a new line, met with a rigger who could splice the end loop, and arranged to get my 1 missing mast step replaced.

Then we enjoyed another 3-hour cruise, sailing on the genoa.

This wasn't the grand adventure I had imagined, but it was great family time. My girls loved it when the sails were up and the diesel off. They played cards (Go Fish) while I tacked up to Punta Gorda. Their smiles told me everything I needed to know.

Magnolia 03-31-2013 09:01 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
All, in all, it sounds like you got your feet wet (per se) and some of the kinks worked out. Your next time out will be smoother sailing. Have fun!!

34crealock 03-31-2013 09:21 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Fowled the odd winch myself a few times. You can read up on all this stuff but you just need to do it to get comfy with your Watkins. Keep smiling, it just gets better.:)

chuck53 03-31-2013 09:21 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Glad everything worked out. Have you figured out everything you did wrong? if so, you had a good day. There's no better knowledge than that learned the hard way.

capecodda 03-31-2013 09:49 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Good decisions, good sailing, good experience. Congrats on getting out there.

Sail on!

Capt.aaron 03-31-2013 10:01 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
I sailed a little borrowed Catalina shoal draft center board thing, from Ft. Myers up to Gasparilla, back down to costa, and down to Cabbage Key on a three day adventure over Thanks Giving with my dad. Still one of my Favorite weekend cruises of all time! I love that area. Get back out there, they are gonna love it.,....bring bug spray and a mosquito screen, and coils.....and fans.

rockDAWG 03-31-2013 10:01 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
I love happy ending. Time with your kids is priceless. And soon you will an old salt. :D.

Group9 03-31-2013 10:05 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Sounds like a great adventure.

I'm jealous and wish I was doing it right now. :D

mtitus 03-31-2013 10:20 AM

Re: Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Two big thumbs up. Sailing a boat never quite goes to plan. Good skipper's improvise- sounds like you did- welcome to the club. Smiles all around for the crew.
Fair winds in the future to you and your crew.

marcusc130 03-31-2013 03:26 PM

Chapter 1: Our first cruise
Good write up. You might look up how to tie a rolling hitch. Allows you to tie a line above the winch, relieve the tension, and clear the override. That's something that will happen again.

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