Monday, 14 May 2007

out at last

Yesterday we finally made it out sailing. We have been spending a lot of time working on various systems. Nothing is finished but many things have been started. It was getting to the point that actually getting the boat out on the water was seeming like a big deal. I was hoping that we would be sailing at least every week, but there is always one more thing to work on, one more thing to get ready before we cast off.

We picked up our friend Jonathan at 10:00am and got the boat ready to go. We got things squared away and started up the engine. Then I made
my first ever VHF transmission to the Johnson Street Bridge. (We are just upstream of the drawbridge, so we have to request a lift each time we go out or come back in.) I think that was what I was most nervous about. Anyway, the operator acknowledged my request, and the bridge began to open. We pulled out of our slip and we were on our way.

We had some challenges with the rig. The main sail is well sized for the boat, but we aren't sure if it is well cut for the boat. Farther research is required.

We were cruising along well in a 20-25 knot breeze under double reefed main, when we tried to set the Genoa. As with the sea-trial, the halyard wrapped the forestay, so we couldn't set more than a corner of the foresail. It was a known problem, but one I hadn't been able to really fix, since I hadn't had someone to crank me up the mast in the bosun's chair. I was hoping that the short term fix would work for one sail. Alas, it was not so.

About an hour and a half out, we decided to turn around and head back in the general direction of the harbour. Without
a headsail, we didn't have much luck getting the boat to go where we wanted to go, so we doused the sail and motored back.

There was a fair bit of wind an current against us, so going was slow. For most of the return trip we averaged less than 2 knots. That was a bit of a concern because the bridge operator goes off duty at 4:00pm. We had a deadline to meet, and deadlines are never a good thing to have when sailing.

As it turned out, we made it to the bridge with 15 minutes to spare. With Jonathan's help and advice, docking was relatively smooth and painless.

Once we were tied up and settled, I asked Jonathan to crank me up the mast so I could take care of our halyard problem. A few minutes at the masthead was all it took to install the fairlead block I bought 2 months ago. I took the camera up with me to take a couple of reference shots for future rigging and masthead electronics upgrades.


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