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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 12-27-2009
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Underway on wind power...

Captain Sparrow can suck it, 'cause I can sail!

Ok, I admit that's crude but I'm pretty excited. Today was 50F, and sunny with a 5-10kt breeze. It doesn't get any better than that at the end of December. I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to try out the boat.

Originally, I had planned to just motor out and back. My neighbor came by, and told me that on a gentle day like today, that I'd be fine and should try it out, maybe just on the main.

I actually had to motor out for a little ways because I was headed directly into the wind and the channel is way to narrow for tacking, especially just on the main, and most especially for a total noob.

Anyway, I finally got out to some open water, and rounded a red marker and got the boat alternating between a beam reach and a close hauled. (zig-zagging towards the mouth of the river, but I did not need to make a full-blown tack to the other side, as it was further off base course than I needed to go).

With only the main, it was slow going, 3-4 kts. I experimented with everything I'd read. The gentle breeze made it safe and easy to experiment with trimming the sail in different ways to see the different effects.

I did not mess with the traveller, I just locked it amidships. The boom vang was disconnected and stowed and I didn't bother with it. I just handled the tiller and the mainsheet. I was able to observe the tell-tales, feel "true' and "apparent" wind, and generally have a blast. I also was able to observe that my boat has just enough weather helm to round up and stop when I release the tiller but not overly much. This makes me feel a little better about falling overboard. At least the damn thing won't sail off without me.

I had the Rhode River and a good chunk of the Ches. Bay completely to myself. Once I made it to the mouth of the river, I sailed back on a broad reach for most of the way. The apparent wind made me think I was nearly stopped, but that final marker receeded quickly so I knew I was moving well, probably 3-5 kts.

Unfortunately, I enjoyed myself a little too long and found myself racing the sun back to port. I ran with the wind on my back, but as the sun fell, so did the wind, to nothing. I gave up and furled main and opened the throttle. It got cold quickly, and I burned the nav lights.

I made a perfect back-down into my slip just as it turned totally dark. I take no credit for that though, there wasn't a breath of air stirring and the water was like glass.

It was a perfect, laboratory-like environment for a noob's first sail.
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Old 12-27-2009
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Well, I'd say congratulations are in order. Although there will be more exciting sails in your future, that first sail will always be most fondly remembered. Way to go BH!
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Old 12-28-2009
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Sounds like a great time for your first run. Congrats!
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Old 12-28-2009
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Good for you.... carry on!
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Old 12-28-2009
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Yeah...now I have an addiction that's not getting satisfied! I'm dying to hoist the jib and run with both sails now!
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Old 12-28-2009
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Way to go ...

I was one of those "it's gonna be cold" guys weeks back, but sounds like you picked a fine day and had a great time. Couldn't tell from your note whether you were solo, or whether your neighbor went along.

Congratulations!

Kurt
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Old 12-28-2009
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I was...mostly solo. I took one of my kids with me. She's been stinkpot boating with me, so knows the ROTR. She was useful for maintaining course while I raised the sail.

After that she got cold and went below presumably to get out of the wind, but she was really geeking out on her phone and iPod.
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Old 12-29-2009
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Grats! I started sailing too 2 months ago, and I could not wait to get my first sail with my first sailboat! Sounds like you had a blast!
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Old 01-21-2010
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I have many months to wait, and seem to have sailing on my mind all the time now.

Can't wait to get out there.
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Old 01-21-2010
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Awesome man! I can't wait for my first sail!!!
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