Fair warning to John Pollard- Look away now.
After satisfying my pre-sail checklist and a brief argument with my outboard, I departed the dock with a total of 4 souls onboard and motored out to the channel.
I clipped on, we raised the sails without incident, made a U-turn and ran before a weak breeze from the north as last time, until I could round the channel marker and get the wind from a better angle.
...and then the wind fairly died for a couple hours, came in fits and starts from various points north. I shook out the reef I'd put in because of the forecast. I watched 3 other sailboats flop and flail and then give up and motor out past me. One guy was motoring with his sails up. We had no destination in mind, so we just sat there and observed the traffic around us.
At about 4:30/5 pm, a lively breeze of 10/15kts piped up from about the northeast or so. We'd drifted a ways south, so I headed north to green bouy "1A". The crew went below to warm up around the heater so I singlehanded. Once there, I headed west for home up the Rhode River. Eventually I was too far into the wind, so I called everyone up, dropped the sails and we motored the rest of the way home. Lights were called for, so I burned them.
I learned a lot during the final fresh breeze. We were zipping right along. I believe that I was getting the sails right judging by the tell tales and our good speed. I kept the heel well under control. A little more wind and I'd have been wishing for that reef that I let out though.
No one fell overboard, harnesses were worn, PFDs were broken out, nothing broke and no one died. We made a perfect stern-first docking just as the sun dipped below the horizon.
After a weak start, the day ended better than I'd had any right to hope.