Afternoon sail

by Chuck August 16, 2009

Dana and I took Odyssey out this weekend even though the kids decided that they wanted to stay home and work on their posters and cages for the fair. It felt a little weird to take off to sail with the kids at home, but it turned out to be a nice trip for Dana and I.

Saturday morning was gray, so I wasn’t sure if we were going to have a comfortably warm day for being out on the water. We loaded up the boat with towels to use as blankets, sweatshirts, and wind breakers. Turned out once we were on the water that we didn’t need warm clothes, it was a beautiful sunny day out there.

The wind was blowing just about right – not too much to fly the genoa, but enough to make Odyssey lively. We consistently were hitting speeds of 4.5 to 5 knots over the ground most of the day. Dana and I, mostly Dana, pushed the boat harder than we have in the past. We found that we were pretty comfortable at 10 degrees of heel, and that as we got to 20 degrees things started flying across the cockpit. We mostly tried to stay under 20 degrees of heel.

The coolest part of the trip was seeing a gray whale only one or two hundred yards away. It would come to the surface, blow, then wave one pectoral fin in the air as it slipped back under water. We watched it for about half an hour as we sailed toward Port Susan. At one point we noticed we were on a slightly converging course so we tacked away. The whale looked like it was bigger than Odyssey, we didn’t want to be in its way – and that’s not including the whole marine mammals laws.

The trip from Hat Island back to the river was long and boring. It was downwind, so it was relatively calm even though we still made 3.5 to 4.5 knots over the ground most of the way. Downwind sailing isn’t the most exciting thing, and Dana took advantage of the calm to take a nap. I didn’t even have the VHF to keep me company – most of the charge was gone on the radio so I was saving it for emergencies.

Setting up and tearing down were almost trouble-free. We had a little trouble putting the mast up, one of the stays got stuck under the edge of a portlight and wouldn’t come free. Then once the mast was up it turned out the bolt we normally use to keep the forestay on was missing. We had to set the mast down and dig a replacement out of the cabin.

One the way in we were having trouble getting Odyssey onto the trailer. We needed it to move away from the pier, but every time I kicked the bow out the stern would swing in to the pier, and when Dana kicked the stern out it would pivot the other way. We couldn’t get the boat to move sideways through the water at all – until I realized that I hadn’t retracted the keel into the boat before we tried to put it on the trailer. Once I cranked the keel up we were fine.

The whole day was great, and Dana and I had a good time. I’m looking forward to more “adults only” trips out on the Sound.



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