Well, Landwalker, do you have anything to report?
Unfortunately, we ran into a cruise ship and sank.
Wait, that's not what happened.
Sunday sailing went great! It was the first time my wife and I were on the boat without an instructor, so there was some nervousness, but we did just fine (as far as we could tell, and nobody was around to tell us otherwise).
We left the dock around 10:40 AM. The location of the dock is such that you have to go a good distance straight out of the harbor before you get into the bay. (In this map
, we were leaving from South Portland Sailing Center, heading NE out of the harbor.) Unfortunately, that morning had 1) fairly light wind that was 2) coming straight down the harbor
, and 3) coincided with the current also coming straight down the harbor. Since I'm a stubborn bastard, we tried to tack our way out anyway. By about 12:05 PM, we had managed to almost
reach the Maine State Pier at the end of the harbor.
So, lesson learned #1: If the wind isn't favorable, motor out of the damn harbor.
We were supposed to pick up some friends from the dock around 1:30, so we turned around and motored back to the dock just to have some extra time to eat lunch on the boat and avail ourselves of toilet facilities.
Lesson #2: A boat with a cuddy cabin and a portable head is not very accommodating to a dude who is 6'4". I managed to do it, but man, there were contortions.
We ended up hoping in the truck and driving down the road a bit to stop by a McDonald's to take advantage of their restroom, then met up with our friends and got back on the boat around 1:40 PM.
At this point, Allie and I had wised up and we motored out of the harbor. Once we were in the bay, we had plenty of wind to do a good chunk of sailing. We sailed northeast (by this point the wind had moved so it was coming from the SE instead of NE), most of the way to Clapboard Island, then looped around towards the inland side of Long Island, headed SW through Diamond Pass (between Great Diamond and Peaks Island), looped around House Island on the west side, then tacked our way up the channel to Portland Head Light. Once we reached that, we turned around, jibed our way back down to Fort Gorges, dodged the cruise ship that was leaving the harbor just as we were arriving, and then took down the sails and motored back down the harbor to the dock, which we got to around 6:00 PM or so.
Needless to say we probably weren't setting any speed records out there, and we spent the whole time with a 100% jib instead of any fancy genoa or anything like that, but (by our standards) we got a lot of sailing in and covered plenty of area. I spent the whole time looking at the chart every few minutes to make sure we weren't anywhere with any opportunity for an underwater rock encounter, and was successful (or at least not unsuccessful) in avoiding any trouble spots. Our friends had a great time out, we had a great time sailing, and we got slightly more comfortable with the notion of being out on the water without a supervisor.
I think it was good that we were out on the 22' Pearson Ensign. Even though we want to get experience with other boats, for our first unsupervised outing it was good to have a boat that we had a little bit of familiarity with in terms of where everything was and all that.
I may get the chance to go out again on Friday with a friend who has a Pearson 28, so I'm looking forward to that opportunity. I'd still like to see if we can rent that 26' Pearson from Portland Yacht Services before the season is over, just to see another boat, but they haven't been terribly responsive. Just have to keep trying, I guess.