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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 11-01-2009
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1st Day Under Sail

Saturday was the first day my wife and I sailed First Light without a deckside chaperone. Plenty of dockside help...thank you John! We cleared our slip at Timber Neck at ~1130 Saturday morning with no help. No one else in the marina was sailing.

Don't NOAA was broadcasting 12-13 KT South winds for parts somewhere in the Chesapeake. Cloudy conditions with the sun peaking through at random moments. Cloud patterns were consistent w/ no dark build-ups on the horizon.

We motored out of Broad Creek with confidence at 2 knots. Had to quickly power on instruments and remove covers to determine depth. Will have to put that one on the checklist for things to do before casting off. Good NavAids in the creek. Red-right-return, red-right-return, red-right-return! Left my sounding line at home:-) We notice a sailor backing his boat out of his slip under sail, solo. Two masted, small mast aft.

Made it through the channel into the Rappahannock River with no travail. We are up to 4 KTS on power. We don PFDs. Once we cleared the last beacon we turn East towards the Chesapeake. Not the right direction. The missus has her fingernails burried into the fiberglass! We steered West up the Rappahannock instead. Moment of truth...time to hoist sail and cut the engine!!

Decided to try Jib first and work toward Main if weather is permitting. After a memorable but terrifying few minutes we have the Jib flying and are heading toward the bridge. We learned a lot about winches, winch handles, and heeling boats in a flash.

OK. My wife doesn't like new things...especially heeling boats. The really nice winch handle about took a dive. The aluminum toerail stopped it. The tears were about to roll. Time to man-up. I dumped the adrenaline and calmly reassured her that we were safe. Took the time to teach her how to stand helm, trim the sail, pointed out reconizable nav points and use the auto-pilot. What a gal! We walked through the engine start/stop procedures several times. We tacked and came-about until a comfort level was obtained by all.

We were sailing an oval in the river, avoiding other boats, flying spray and chop. We were making 4-6 KTS the whole time and starting to take gusts of over 20 KTS. There were other sailboats out, under various conditions of sail. When the clouds started darkening to the South, we decided to head in. The rain began to fall sporadically.

What is it about folks racing through the channel to Broad Creek? I had a 40+ footer sailboat under motor try to move ahead of us as we entered the channel. We clearly had the queue but not in the other skippers mind. I backed off the throttle and let him proceed. Didn't want to slow another crew down by following us. We were motoring at 4 KTS. Best to error towards polite in my mind. We are new members of a new community and want to represent well. Motor boats are zooming all about.

Docking wasn't pleasant. No damage and no injuries but not pleasant. The current was manageable but the wind was whistling in the masts at the marina. We have to back in a long "U". My nature is not to gun the throttle at critical points of maneuver. After several attempts and dock guidance from John we secure the boat. I'm washed out. John takes time to help us get our docklines squared away. He even loans us a new 20 foot line to replace a heavily chaffed one. What a neighbor!

We have a quick nosh of PBJs and Pepsi, then wash and secure First Light. Shut all hull thru valves, power down all equipment, secure hatches, ports, lines and sheets. We have a portable propane stove in the cabin so we double-check to insure bottle is stored in the anchor well. Not happy with the furled Jib so refurl. Check the docklines for play. Time to go home and pass-out candy to the neighborhood kids. Halloween is upon us.
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Old 11-01-2009
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Thanks dakine929 for sharing your first sail on your boat. My wife and I will have our first sail aboard our new (used) boat today on Lake Ponchatrain out of Mandeville, Louisiana.
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Sounds like it all went pretty well!

Is your anchor locker, where you store your propane bottle, vented outside, or could air / propane get inside the cabin, or bilge, if there were a leak? If so, you many want to make a small holder for the back rail, out of PVC pipe, that will fit 2-3 of the disposable bottles. You can search the forum for more info, if you like.

Cheers!
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Old 11-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy654 View Post
Thanks dakine929 for sharing your first sail on your boat. My wife and I will have our first sail aboard our new (used) boat today on Lake Ponchatrain out of Mandeville, Louisiana.
ponchartrain isnt bad--we may see ye on our way back to slidell...LOL.....first days are unique and should be the subject of many goood reads LOL.....have fun and enjoy!!!!--pix also!!!!!need pix!!!!
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dakine929 -

My first sail on my catalina 22 was on a maine lake on a gray october day with wind howling...we managed to wedge ourselves nearly onto a lee shore at the end of the lake and had to claw back, a few feet at a time - after everyone but me went below, I eventually realized that that big black thing on the stern might have a use and dropped sail and motored...while some of us are born to it, most of us need to learn...grats to you and Billy654 on your new boats
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Old 11-01-2009
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All,

The anchor locker is sealed from the cabin and has great ventilation. The previous owner was considerate in his placement.

With several kids in college, a series of sailing lessons are desirable but not currently an option. We will slowly develop our skills, weather permitting, until the end-of-season (which is rapidly approaching). Seems to be plenty of friendly folks in the area willing to lend positive advice and suggestions without acrimony. Safety is paramount.

My relationship with my wife is just as important. We have been married for only 23 years, and would like to make that another twenty or better. First and only girl for me (as God intended).
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Old 11-02-2009
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Originally Posted by dakine929 View Post
All,

The anchor locker is sealed from the cabin and has great ventilation. The previous owner was considerate in his placement.

With several kids in college, a series of sailing lessons are desirable but not currently an option. We will slowly develop our skills, weather permitting, until the end-of-season (which is rapidly approaching). Seems to be plenty of friendly folks in the area willing to lend positive advice and suggestions without acrimony. Safety is paramount.

My relationship with my wife is just as important. We have been married for only 23 years, and would like to make that another twenty or better. First and only girl for me (as God intended).
Thank you Very much.. Enjoyed " 1st Day Under Sail "
And, There is NOTHING like "The Right woman" I wish you another 50 years.
I lost my Dearest and Sweetest and Most wonderful woman on the planet in July of 07. After only 22 years.. BUT, the Absolute most Wonderful 22 years a man could have..
So, Take care of your Sweety and NEVER take her for Granted..
And, Keep telling us about your Other sailing days..


Paul...
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Old 11-02-2009
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Congrats on your first time out! I'd only suggest you ck the wind conditions better before you get out there. I reefed main and partial jib work quite well in winds around 20. A boat doesn't need to heel allot to have good speed while sailing. Good luck!
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Old 11-02-2009
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All,

NOAA just doesn't do it for me. We did drive out to Cocomo's and visually checked conditions on the Rappahannock before getting underway. No white caps and a dozen boats. Our mistake was heading toward the Chesapeake after we exited the channel. We hit three foot chop and my wife got nervous.

We turned back toward the Rappahannock immediately. The wind was gusty at first then stabilized. I stayed with the Jib because I wanted my wife to get used to the concept of tacking before we progressed. Our main was already reefed and ready to hoist but the misses was taking it all in. Is a 12 deg. heel that dangerous? I was concerned because I didn't want to replace a $150 winch handle. After a few hours the rain was visible to the South and the winds started picking up. We made it to harbor before the winds really set in.

As a kid, I used to sail a Force 5 in 15-20 KT winds. Try reefing that sail configuration;-) During my three WestPacs, we encountered 40-50 foot waves for hours on end. Should have received submariner pay for some of those days. Ever sit watch in a 150 deg. engineroom 6 on 6 off seven days a week at $750/mo? Try doing that for 4.5 years. Sorry for venting but I received a private e-mail from some DR. type cruising the Carribbean lecturing me on my foolishness. Best wishes all the same and please don't choke on your caviar when you read this.
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Old 11-02-2009
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Your first sail went better than mine... Ah, I see you aren't a total novice. Twelve degrees? Oh Joy doesn't hardly hike her skirts and get until she's heeling at 25-30* but she's designed that way. Don't take no gaff from petal pushers like the one that emailed ya...
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