Yesterday was one of the 2-3 days out of the dozen-plus I've sailed, that had a period of solid, steady breeze. Each of these sessions I've been a little nervous (not counting the one where the dinghy turned turtle on me), while also getting a little taste of the real thrill of sailing a small boat.
I'm starting to get a real feel for the mainsheet as a gas pedal and it really is exciting. I realized last night as I was drifting off to sleep that most of my sailing thus far has been a sort of cruising, where I set it and forget it; only making minor adjustments to the sheets and pretty much setting them in the cleats and riding along with some tiller adjustments.
Yesterday was the first time I sailed with the mainsheet in my hand, giving and taking line to adjust my speed in concert with the tiller adjustments I was making with my other hand.
No time for emailing photos from the boat today. The wind was kicking and I was sailing! Of course, were I a more competent sailor, I might have been able to handle the boat and shoot some decent pics, but, I had my hands full focusing on keeping myself in a mast-up position.
Another beautiful day, upper fifties, although a bit shaded with some cloud cover hanging around. Did the same downriver as yesterday, plus sailed upriver all in about 1/4 the time. I was actually able to get the boat going across the river at a solid 5+ knot clip, heeling over and moving. I was throwing some wake from the bow, too.
Got some shots of the wing-on-wing action on my upriver return trip, too.
Worked out my work thing early and was able to get down to the river before 11a and in the water not too long after that.
It was beautiful out there. Sun shining and a light breeze pushing me downriver. I was able to tack into the wind, closehauled, except once when the wind got really light and I had to fall off and come around to get on the opposite tack. Is that how real sailors handle that sort of thing? Do a 320?
I was able to get the furthest downriver that I've made it and took a couple of shots of a nice sailboat in the little Greenway Boat Docks.
I fell off and tried to double-wing it back to the launch. I made it a bit past halfway when the wind died completely dead. So, we (Hank was with me today!) took some pictures and emailed them to Kris. I updated my Facebook status to reflect the fact that my intention to sail had become an intention to float. Got a couple of responses to that one.
Mark in Sydney declared he wants to open up the Australian franchise of my life (he's not witnessed most of it, so this may not be as desirable of a goal as intended), O'Docker requested confirmation of his suspicion that I was doing this in the middle of the day, and Queen Maeve quoted some obscure line of literature from some random children's book author, regarding boats, saling, or messes, I'm not sure. Oh, yes, and later in the evening, the T-man made a veiled reference to my exploits in his Proper Course posting.
So, about this point I figure out I've drifted back toward my downriver nexus about half of the distance I'd gained. The Huck Finn thing is attractive, but when you have kids to pick from school and more writing to do in the home office, a day with feet up on the rail has to have start and stop limits on it. I also thought how nice it would be to have a hat, (North Sail?) since the sun was beating down on my face and I was starting to feel a little crispy.
Adjusted the tiller and started sculling my way toward the West bank of the river in hopes of getting out of the current and making way toward the launch.
A half-hour or so later, I was able to get to a boat dock that runs parallel to the river and de-boat myself and pull the dinghy along for a few hundred feet, which was much faster than the sculling.
Just near the end of the dock the wind kicked up, well, kicked up is strong. A breeze presented itself, so I launched and we were off again. A slow drifty twenty minutes later and we were upstream a bit from the launch. Breeze strengthened so we turned about, dropped the centerboard and scooted into the launch on a starboard tack, closehauled.
As I got in between the ramps I pulled up the centerboard, furled the jib and the wind pushed us leeward abeam to the dock. A nice gentle landing and I released the mainsheet to kiss the dock.
Hank was off in a hurry and we headed for home shortly after getting the boat out.
I have been following Tillerman's Hat Quest for a couple of months and in the process of reviewing the list of hat-getters saw that Garrison Keillor made the list for a canoe race on some lake (ahem) in Minnesota.
I sailed this morning, pulling the boat around noon to make a meeting with a client in the early afternoon. That meeting got done around 1430.
As I pulled out into traffic, boat in tow, initially intending to go home, I thought 'Why not?' and turned down the hill and went sailing again this afternoon.
Of course, it wasn't a hard choice to make, since the sun came out and it was beautiful this afternoon for a couple of hours. I what point does this activity become a habit (or worse) that I should worry about?
The jetstream is dipping down South and blowing us some Northern chill. We may have snow on Monday, because of it. This has been an odd winter. No El Nino, or La Nina, but we have had quite a few of these jetstream events, which are rare for us. It's usually lined up with the Roaring Forties and bringing our weather to us from out in the Pacific.
Regardless, I took advantage of a few moments of sun, as well as a stiff North breeze, blowing up around 8 knots and giving me some screaming reaches. Well, screaming is relative. It might have been pretty tame for one of you real sailors. I, however, was thrilled that the boat was heeling, if with my 250+ leaning out over the rail. Woohoo!
I got out today around noon; first stop was the chandlery to pick up a shackle for my boom vang and then down to Willamette Park to launch.
I got the boat in the water and there was a pretty solid current and a gusty little front blowing in, which made it hard for me to point away from the little dock that runs perpendicular to the launching bays. I would have just started drifting down river, but the wind and current were forcing me against the dock and there was a power boat tied up, mechanic hard at work trying to fix the motor.
I tried to appear as though I were waiting for someone, checking my non-existent watch, and adjusting the boat's rigging, as I waited around for them to finally clear out.
This goose eyed me like he knew what was up. Either that or he thought I looked like a giant breadcrumb.
I got underway and sailed across the river and started tacking back and forth, making way toward the Sellwood Bridge and dodging the occasional buoy and/or anchored fishing boat.
I was a little nervous, as the wind was gusty and I still had the memory of DR-1 fresh in mind from November. I mostly used the mainsail and left the jib furled.
Managed to snap a couple of pictures with the camera on my phone and send them to people who were working while I was sailing. Yeah, I'm *that* kind of friend.
Here's my breadcrumb imitation.
I got an email from a colleague who lives up on the hill. She said she could see a boat down there with a sail up and asked if it was me. I took a picture of her house and emailed it back to her asking if that was her house.
She told me if I was paying attention I would have noticed that it of course was her house, as anyone could plainly see her smiling and waving.
She might be really good at that Where's Waldo? game.
I passed a couple of paddlers, too. Well, actually, they passed me. A guy in an OC-1 outrigger with his ama set at a rakish angle. And later, on my way back downriver, a guy in a sporty looking little dory.
I finally got confident enough to put the jib out there and got a couple of nice little pockets of wind to drive the boat across the river and back.
I find it fascinating how my concept of wind is shifting. I see it more as something that exists in pockets, or cells, almost independent of one another. Whereas, I think my prior understanding of wind was a more unified field that blew everywhere all at once.
I finally had to give it up and head in, as I had left my gloves at home and my hands were starting to get too cold.
Temps hit a record 60+ degrees (I'm sure we'll pay for our sins later this month) and I saw a little 5 kt breeze blowing on the Weatherbug app on my iPhone. So, I was off to Willamette Park in the two-hour window of freedom in my afternoon.
It got breezier as I made it down to the park and prepared. I had the dinghy all setup with the stern in the water when I started getting 15 kt+ gusts.
I decided to hold off for the day, since I had a parent-teacher conference to attend.