Over the weekend was the first trip with the sailboat for my wife and I. Saturday we trailered the SJ23 to lake Murray, SC. It took 1hr to raise the mast, roughly set the lines and back up to the ramp. We floated her, fired the original 6hp 2stroke and intended to run around to the dock to pick up my wife. I'll spare you the horrifying events over the next four hours, but that's when my ignorance showed. I am happy to say our boat survived without a scratch and sit that night all pretty at the slip.
Sunday we drove back to the slip, I guess to regain our dignity and try again. This time we loaded up, motored about 1/2 mile out into the lake from the inlet and raised the mainsail only.
About this time is where things get really cool
I'll never forget it:
My wife slowed the engine to idle, still in gear. It took a couple minutes of drawing diagrams in my head with reference to the wind. Tensioned the halyard, adjusted the traveller, did this and that. Once I was satisfied my wife put the engine in neutral. The sail had some flap in it so I made a couple more adjustments then she stopped the engine. There was complete silence. I think we studied the boat, the wind for ten minutes. I happened to look to the shore which was the moment I realized how far we'd travelled since stopping the engine. I guess there was a astonished look on my face when I turned to my wife and said, "We're sailing!"
Over the next couple hours several adjustments were made as the wind changed, a few tacks, but overall I just kinda marveled over the thing. The sun set low in the sky so it was time to head back, which was the time we went in irons. I'm still confused about that, but regardless we made it back in and had a blast. I don't know how long it'll take for that "first time" feeling to go away but I suppose I'll miss it some day. That sure was awesome!
We did remember to bring in all the bumpers so we didn't look like newb's.... made sure of that. Unfortunately we drug a 50ft dock line in the water the whole time and forgot to lift the engine while sailing. I'm not sure how much of a speed penalty that cost us, but I'm guessing we run 2-3 knots average speed..... which reminds me I have to fix the knotmeter.