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  #1  
Old 11-03-2009
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Our First Year

Thought I would share some thoughts about our first year on our C&C 99. Before I get started, I'd like to mention how helpful this forum is for all things sailing. Many articles and tips found here made our first year a much safer and enjoyable one. We bought our 2003 C & C 99 in April and launched May 1. Having an experienced friend/captain aboard on the maiden voyage certainly made us feel far more confident than going it alone. We had been sailing for just about a year prior to buying our first boat. For a new boater, I found that everyone assumes you know everything, and as such, you need no help. If you don't ask questions, no one tells you anything. In other words, everyone is happy to help as long as you ask. To get started, I made a list of stuff to bring from home, on the boat when heading out sailing and off the boat when heading home. This was really helpful. I never forgot the keys to the boat or left the power on.

I had acquired a small sailing reference library but the books only go so far. I found reading sailing books was no substitute for experience. Also. every boat is different so the books were of limited use. Books on board include The Handbook Of Sailing by Bond and the Narragansett Bay/South Coast Cruising Guide. I got them on eBay for a lot less then my local book store.

On our first day out alone, we made sure we knew exactly what we were doing step by step and where we were going. From discussing which dock line to release first to charting our brief outing, we took no chances. We ran between two green cans with just the Main in Greenwich Bay, RI. It was stressful to say the least, but we learned to trust our electronics and charts over time. Every time we went out we ventured a bit further. We moved to a mooring about Memorial day. One day I forgot to secure the furler and the Jib unfurled. I added that step to my list. Also, as recommended by a friend, we got a mooring buoy. That really helped my first mate pull the mooring line. She was really happy with me that day. Shortly thereafter, two large Cormorants decided to make a home on our spreaders. Every time we went to the boat, we had to spend an hour cleaning off the bird poop. We stopped by our local rigging company and they put spikes on the spreaders. Problem solved! Lesson learned. Make friends with your local rigging company.

We raised the Jib after a few trips and the boat really performed nicely. We headed south one day to Hope Island and the next time out made our way around Prudence Island and back to East Greenwich. During the summer, we got caught in a few rain storms and sailed in some heavier than expected wind. About half way into the year, sailing in a 2-4 ft sea with 20kt winds, we ran aground. It was not a pleasant experience to say the least. We had to call SeaTow as we were getting pushed to shore and it was getting dark. My wife's confidence was shot. She made me buy new inflatable life vests and a lifesling and for a period of time, every time our depth would sound a 10' warning, she would panic. She calmed back down after a few uneventful days on the water.

Speaking of electronics, I called RayMarine on few occasions to get some tips on the gear on board. They were quite helpful is discussing some operational aspects of my GPS/Plotter and sounder. Learn to trust your electronics but keep your chart nearby.

About three quarters into the summer, we took our first guests out on the bay. My wife's friends, then mine and the in-laws. We kept the kids and landlubbers engaged by letting them steer. Not always a good idea we found out. On a calm day, no issues, but in unpredictable winds, it can leave the inexperienced guest at the helm. New rule...no guests alone at the helm and they stay on the windward side of the boat. Its no fun when the guests get scared.

As the year went along. we found we needed to clean the bottom more often. No one told me this was an important maintenance. We picked up a full Kt when the bottom was clean. We bought a dinghy and a used outboard. The outboard never worked very well but I didn't want to spend $1k on an outboard to get to my boat. I'll need to revisit that plan next year.

So throughout the year we sailed around 20 times. I need to keep a better log. Seems we used our boat more than many of our neighbors in the boatyard. We're really proud of that fact. Next year we'll look to join in with other boaters and pick up a mooring around Newport and Wickford . We also hope to get to Block Island at some point in the summer.

Thanks to SailNet for all the help.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Thanks for the update. Sounds like you guys had a great first season -- learned a lot, had a few "adventures", and really built confidence. Good for you!

Over the winter, you'll have the opportunity to learn about another important aspect of sailboat ownership: The long, earnest wait for spring.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Thanks!

Great ideas in your post. The key thing is that you are learning more about how to handle the boat, and passengers. Experience is the best teacher.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Hey,

Congrats on a great first season. I'm sure there will be many more.

One nice thing about keeping a log is that you can read it during the winter and remember how much fun sailing is.

This winter and spring you will learn a lot more about maintenance and commissioning the boat.

Barry
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Old 11-04-2009
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That was a nice read with good ideas. Course it is making me really wishing it was spring here in MN.....
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Old 11-04-2009
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Good on you! The first year out of the way, and many more to come I'm sure.

I'd like to stress the idea of a logbook. We keep a log, not so much of headings and waypoints, but just a summary of distance covered, destinations, hours motored, sails set, and a summary of weather and any highlights that occurred. It makes for a great read on those rainy days and you can reminisce or plan to revisit particularly nice places.

We also keep a running count of days aboard, and a separate count of overnight stays (averaging 60-80 days/50-60 sleeps/year), and of course any maintenance done over the course of the year.

Right along with putting the sail cover back on, it's just another post-sail chore to sit and jog a few notes in the log each time.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Interesting first year and good job of taking it one step at a time. Double handing with a less "qualified" crew member makes things tougher but if you force yourself to do your logbook every 30 minutes and/or at every change of direction, sail plan, incident etc, what you will find (at least that's what I found) is that your navigation, problem management and anticipation improve dramatically. The obligation of managing a very accurate log book is that constant angel on your shoulder and when you get tired of it or frustrated at all that time jotting down lines you'll likely find yourself cutting corners where on occassion you get bit.

Good luck and have fun in season 2. And unless the boat is pulled (I guess it is) there is a lot of fun sailing offseason as well if you have the gear and a destination in mind.
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Old 11-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Over the winter, you'll have the opportunity to learn about another important aspect of sailboat ownership: The long, earnest wait for spring.
Ain't that the truth And don't forget Spring commissioning
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Old 12-05-2009
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Our first year too :)

My fiance and I also just finished our first season as novice owners nad sailors on "Bad in Plaid", a 1985 Tartan 34.

I learned a ton and had a tone of fun.

We're on Lake Erie and our longest sail of the year was getting her from Vermillion ot Cleveland the second week of May. I am thankful I had the forethought to have a 4 other experienced sailors onboard for the transfer, because I was sick and over the rail for 5 of the 6 hours. We were beating in to southeasterly winds, in a cold gray spit but the swell was out of the north, making it a rolly trip.

But....the sun came out just as we approached the Cuyahoga river, my seasickness left me and the season got only more fun from there.

We were out twice weekly at least with a consistent group of friends, mostly day/evening sailing close to shore. I've started to get a handle on the very basics, but for everything I learn I now realize there are dozens of things still to go.

We made some minor mistakes. I drew down the batteries once and was lucky to have enough juice to start up the engine to get back into our slip. ((at the end of the season we learned that the claim of "new" batteries in 2008 really were tagged as August 2005)). A pair of new Group 31s are on my Xmas list to replace the Interstates that came with it.

I learned how to swap out cockpit drain hoses when one of our port side drain hose ruptured and had us taking in water. I was in a full panic until dergon_gf reminded me that we could just change to a starboard tack and the drain would be back above the waterline. ((she's smarter than I am )).

Our jib tore out early. We were hoping to get one season out of the original 1985 sail, but it didn't come close. But we dicided to go with multiple patches until changing it out for good over winter.

We had no collisions, groundings, or near misses. Actually we got lucky because the guy in the slip next to us was even more green than us with a much bigger boat and his bouncing in and out of the marina distracted our neighbors from *our* bad form.



Lifting out was a huge learnig experience. Thanks for firends who showed my how to winterize water lines, wrap the mast and save some $$. For next year.....learn how to winterize and oil change our Universal diesel. I ain't spending $260 for that again!


It will certainly be a long winter waiting.

Last edited by dergon; 12-05-2009 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 12-05-2009
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dergon - Nice!
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