Mr. cthoops and I went sailing yesterday on Long Island Sound (we're moored in Groton). There had been 2-3 days of extremely heavy west winds, but when we checked the forecast that morning it indicated that things were lightening up. This was only our second sail on our new-to-us boat (last weekend's conditions were approx 5 mph, with seas under 1 foot), but we wanted to stretch our wings a bit and gain some experience in more challenging conditions.
Well, perhaps needless to say the weather forecast underestimated the winds, and we ended up sailing in approx. 18 mph winds out of the southwest with gusts in the mid-20's and seas of 2+ feet. We were doing pretty well sailing north and south (I love the way our boat handles the waves), but we had a few issues when we switched to east/west and I was looking for some advice.
At one point we realized we had drifted off course and we weren't making much progress, so we decided to unfurl the 130 genoa to try to give us a bit more power. At this point, however, we were sailing very close-hauled to try to get back on track (basically pointing as high as we could), and the genoa was of no help. We couldn't get it in tight enough to keep it from luffing wildly so we furled it. Subsequent internet research has led us to believe that the winds were too high for that particular sail. Is that why it luffed despite our having it pulled in all of the way?
More importantly, we had to turn on the outboard and motor back when we realized that we were getting pushed backwards. We were trying to sail to the west and the wind and waves were basically coming from that direction (so we were very close-hauled). We were also coming into low tide, so we were fighting the current. Best we can figure, having a mainsail alone wasn't giving us enough power to overcome the waves/current. Is that correct?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. This hasn't discouraged us in the slightest, and in some ways I'm glad we had the experience because we've learned some things, but the relaxation to anxiety ratio yesterday was definitely a bit too skewed for my taste!