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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got in my first sail of the year. Most of you won't recognize me, and I wouldn't expect you to - I live in Missouri. My stomping grounds are basically a conservation lake nearby, and my boat, a little Dolphin Sr! Today, however... Today was beautiful. Nice wind, bright sunshine, nice temperature outside.

>Click here to see Little Prairie Lake<



Did I say "Nice Wind?" LOL - the "nice wind" became a "wild wind" around noon, about the time I got to the lake! The forecasted wind was already a bit high, 15 - 20 mph, but what met me when I arrived was a good 25 mph wind, with gusts anywhere from 35 to 45 mph! And all of this blowing straight across the lake, directly at the loading ramp.



I did it, though. I got the boat set up, rigged, and ready to go. I got it into the water. I even waded along the edge of the water to the nearby fishing pier to pull it out and away from the shoreline. I re-checked all of the rigging, made sure the rudder was down, put in the daggerboard, and raised sail; the poor old sunfish sail flapping like a flag in a high wind! I was determined, though. I pushed off, and barely managed to gain control about halfway back to the shoreline. I sailed across the wind, spilling almost all the wind from my sail, with the hull beating against the waves, cold spray all over my face. A difficult tack, into the wind, and back, still moving fairly slow, for all the wind available, now taking even more spray all across my back. I let the sail spill the wind, and headed in to shore, and again busted my tail loading the boat, bagging the sail and mast, and making ready to drive back.



Maybe it was a little crazy. I probably should have turned away, and gone back home, as soon as I saw those whitecaps on this little lake, but... I'm glad I didn't. I got a real work-out! And I got a great experience. I'm happy with my little Dolphin Sr.



Still making tentative plans for a future of Sailing... reducing the anchors in my life, until I have exactly as many as necessary to sail. Furniture, cars, all sorts of "goodies," all weigh down our lives. Some of us crave those anchors... Myself, all I crave is a good boat, a good wind, and a good woman. A difficult combination, to be sure, but worth seeking.



-Mathew

Capt'n Cat (Space Ghost) did not come for this trip. He prefers to do his sailing on dry land.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No cooler, this time. I just brought a large bottled water with me, and didn't even have a chance to reach for it, with each gust coming from 20 degrees west of the main wind.

I'm hoping for better sailing weather next week. My sister will be bringing her son and daughter (both in elementary school) up for their spring break, and it might be a fun memory for them to take home of going sailing. Even though they live near Houston and the Gulf... They've never been on a sailboat, before.
 

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haha if you're going to cast off the anchors of society and sail away, may I suggest a slightly bigger boat?

It's great that you are getting out there early! I hope that you were wearing a wetsuit or some other kind of immersion protection. I had a cold water dinghy capsize that nearly killed me even though I was wearing a wetsuit and was close to shore, and am young and in good shape. Wear that life jacket!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, definitely a bigger boat! This one is simply for use in the small water available around here. Once I head out into the world, I intend to move up to something in the 38 ft range. I like the lines of an aft cockpit better, but I really do like the interior setup of a center cockpit. I'm very tempted by the Ketch rig. I'm also starting to consider that a full keel might be right for what I'll want to do.

For now, the little Dolphin is simply to get practice in sailing. I've also sailed a 27 ft MacGregor built in the late 70's during a visit to California - the owner of that boat agreed that the skills seemed to transfer over pretty well.

Right now, it's all about getting on the water, though.
 

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Good for you for pushing your limits - safely.
I have been out on a Sunfish with another adult human (and a cooler) in winds around 20 knots and boy can that be fun! Get the boat onto a broad reach, raise the center board a bit and hold on as the hull planes and takes off on top of the waves. Of course that was in the summer so when we dumped the boat the water was not really cold.
I'm not sure I'd want to take a Sunfish out with winds 30 - 40 knots by myself. I would have to do what you did: dump most of the air. The problem is there is no easy, practical way (that I know of) to reef that Lateen rig unless you had a smaller sail you could use.
Still, good for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is a sunfish sail, good eye! but it's on a Dolphin Sr, which was intended for a slightly bigger sail. However, in the Dolphin community, the sunfish sail is often much easier to come by....

It may be hard to believe, but I've seen images of the original sales brochure for the Dolphin Sr, exactly like mine, and it portrays up to 4 people on the boat at a time!!! I know that last summer, with my cousin sitting with his back against the mast, the boat was slowed down a lot.
 

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Very jealous! My 2012 first is not likely for another 7 weeks. Enjoy.
 

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That is a sunfish sail, good eye! but it's on a Dolphin Sr, which was intended for a slightly bigger sail. However, in the Dolphin community, the sunfish sail is often much easier to come by....

It may be hard to believe, but I've seen images of the original sales brochure for the Dolphin Sr, exactly like mine, and it portrays up to 4 people on the boat at a time!!! I know that last summer, with my cousin sitting with his back against the mast, the boat was slowed down a lot.
Then your cousin's weight was not in a good spot. Riding up forward on small boats like this will kill your speed quite effectively by pushing the bow down so the boat has to plow through the water. Weight distribution is key to getting small boats to move at their fastest.
I could see 2 full grown adults riding comfortably on your Dolphin Sr. or maybe 4 light teenagers - not 4 adults.
Here is a spec sheet for the Dolphin Sr.: DOLPHIN SENIOR sailboat on sailboatdata.com
It is difficult to tell from that spec what size sail area (SA) the boat was designed to carry. I'm sure the Sunfish lateen rig works just fine even if it is a little smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He definitely was. But, I was more interested in just having my cousin ride along, than I was in trying to make him sit "exactly so, right there, now quickly, to the other side!" the entire time.

He just bought a house. A big one. Near Phoenix, Az. I keep telling him, every item you own is an anchor, but now I come to think that maybe he feels the need for anchors in his life. For me, I'm slowly freeing myself of my anchors, and look forward to the day when everything I own fits easily and comfortably in a reasonably sized sailboat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I went out on Monday, March 12, with my nephew and niece to the little lake nearby, to get my second sail of the year in. My sister and mom came along, too, although my mom didn't care to try sailing. Weather forecast was for 15 mph winds... a little active to take the kids sailing for their first times, but still fun. It wasn't until I'd been sailing for a couple of hours and had taken my niece out already that my sister commented that she checked the weather shortly after I got out on the water and the wind was already up to 18 mph. Not long before the end of sailing for the day, my nephew finally rode, just once, briefly - after his sister sailed with me twice! (screaming her head off the first time! lol) As we were leaving, I asked my sister to check the weather for windspeed again - about 25 mph! So much for the "fun but safe" wind forecast. It was tons of fun, though, spending several hours on the water, fighting to hold the sail in, leaning way out to compensate for heel, and even dragging the boom in the water once or twice, I heeled over so far! On the way in, I decided to go straight for the shoreline from a little distance out, and see how fast I could go with the daggerboard up. This was a small mistake: On the way in, I wound up a bit off of where I wanted to be, so had to steer a bit to port - and with the daggerboard up, I had an accidental gybe with that strong wind, and nearly wound up in the water, myself! I did end up with about an inch of water added to the cockpit by the time it settled, again. I have no idea how I managed to keep from going into the drink.



Lots of fun, even for the screaming kids, and plenty of exercise, which was sorely needed, along with a slight sunburn (first of the year!). I'm loving this warm, early spring.
 

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I'm guessing March 6th as a first sail of the season in Missouri is pretty good. Our first sail was just a few weeks ago on March 15th. It was great, but unlike yours surelyujest71, we had hardly any wind. Nevertheless, it was cause for celebration. Love these warm spring days!

First Sail in 2012
 
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