Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked 13 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
Due to a variety of circumstances we haven't joined a single event with our sailing Association this season so decided to make this weekend our first despite the destination being to windward with gusting to 20 conditions. The event was a race to West River with cruisers invited to join the race with their own start or just cruise and meet up for the after party. Some of our cruising friends signed up to race, but with just the wife and I as crew we decided to just cruise.
Since there was just the two of us and I didn't feel like fighting the weather/boat, I decided to be super conservative and went with double reefed main and 3 rolls left of the fuller. Boat felt great, but pointed about like expected, so we spent the AM going east and west with only hints of northward progress. As the day wore on, the wind decreased a bit, the full jib came out, then to one reef in the main, and finally the full main and jib for run down West River. All in all not a bad sail and we learned a bit about keeping things manageable with minimal crew in higher winds and waves. In retrospect, I probably would have been able to point much better with a bit more jib out. We would really benefit from a smaller jib for these conditions so we could point better and still have the boat well balanced as it was.
I was somewhat upset when our cruising friends texted me to inform me what slip they were in and ask if I was at the marina yet, when we were still in West River. I was under the impression that despite seeing them leave the marina at least 30 minutes ahead of us that they hung out for the race start, about 30-40 minutes after we passed the starting area. From the boats I could see it appeared we had dropped in line behind the race fleet, but ahead of the racing/cruisers, so was perplexed how they ended up so far ahead of us. Turns out the owner got concerned about doing the race and just headed straight to Pirates Cove, so they were well ahead of us all day. Since they had some crew they had out more sail than us most of the trip, plus a faster boat to begin with. Had I not thought they were racing, I might have hesitated to head upwind in those conditions and might not have been so insistent on sailing every inch of it. lol. Anyway we made it and took a slip overnight at Pirates Cove and had a nice happy hour and dinner with some HHSA folks.
I was expecting a big pay off from our upwind effort on the way home as the forecast was still calling for a fresh breeze out of the NE. The morning started out promising as we motored into a good breeze leaving the river and set off on a brisk beam reach down the bay hitting over 6 knots for a while in the AM, before the wind started to fade. The further south we got the more the wind softened. We eventually needed to go dead downwind, so went wing on wing until the VMG gradually dropped from an acceptable 3+ knots to a painful 1 to 1.5 knots. At that point we threw in the towel and cracked out the iron jenny to get back home.
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36