Monday, July 20, 2009

A Pod of Dolphins, A Torn Main and Rain

We were able to go sailing on Sunday, July 19. We had a boat full of wonderful friends and family- my good friend the beautiful ( and very pregnant) Alma and her cool husband Alan, my gorgeous nieces Victoria and Madeleine ( who turned 17 on the 19th! Happy Birthday!) and Ben, who turned out to be a crack crew member. We were a bit concerned about whether or not there would be enough room in the cockpit for 7 adults but we managed just fine. Mark spent a good bit of time on the safety and sailing briefing so everyone knew what to do and when to do it. I highly recommend spending an hour making certain the guests know what to expect and how to crew effectively- its more fun when everyone participates.
boat 124
From left- Madeleine, Victoria, Alma (and Sophia) and Mark
We left the marina with a forecast of 15-20 knot winds and a possibility of thunderstorms. Since we have been suffering in drought like conditions as of late, we were undetered by the possiblity of rain. We knew if the weather turned sour we would drop sail and motor back in so we stayed within a few miles on the marina just in case.
boat 129
On right- Alan tidies the cockpit lines
Early on, the weather was breezy and there was just enough wave action to make it fun. We bounced along while everyone got to know the winches, lines and sheets and how to operate them correctly. While were out getting toknow Ceol Mor, we were treated to a pod of about 6 dolphins playing just 20 yards off of our starboard side. I need to get better about keeping the camera and video handy as I was so busy trying to crew, I missed the opportunity to photograph them. This will not happen again.
boat 128
Mark and I readying the main
Victoria did a long stint on the helm and did an admirable job. She never panicked and took instruction exceedingly well. Alan and Ben did a great job manning the winches and their extra upper body strength was appreciated when the winds picked up to 20 knots. Madeleine hung out and Alma gestated quietly.
boat 127
Victoria at helm
I looked off to the West and saw really ugly, dark, lightening filled clouds approaching. Mark was his usual cool self, I was my usual chicken baby self and requested an early reefing of the main and furling in the genoa. Mark likes to wait to see what the wind will do, I like to assume it will get nasty and proactively preapre for the worst. Mark ignored my pleas and carried on. The main sail ripped at the reef point when the wind picked up. Would we have a rip had Mark thrown in the extra reef when I asked him to? Hard to say, but I like to think that I was right and since I am writing the blog, we will all assume this was an "I told you so" moment.
boat 125
We seriously need to do something about the jib sheets
We dropped sail and motored back in just as the rains began to come down. The ladies retreated to the cabin below while the manly men battled the current coming into the channel and got soaked. The rain stopped and the sun came out just as we were approaching our slip at the marina. With so many deck hands, we were able to get Ceol Mor into her slip with very little worry or bother except for the old dude who felt he should be captaining the boat, not Mark. It was a bit annoying for Mark to be telling me one thing only to have Old Barnacle Bill on the dock telling me to do the opposite. I ignored Barnacle Bill's instructions but did say " Thank you so much for your help" as he turned his back and wandered off down the dock. Ah well, one of the best parts of sailing are the people you meet- even crusty characters, maybe especially the crusty ones. These are the type people that cartoons aer made of and personally, I LOVE cartoons.
boat 130
Its been so long since we've seen rain, I wanted to take a photo just to remember it by

1 comment:

  1. You were right!.. Better safe than sorry because if you get caught in a squall reefing is a bitch. You can always shake it out when it passes.

    I've been caught too many times with too much sail up and it's a bitch to get it down. One memorable sail was from CuttyHunk near Vinyard to Greenport LI. Winds were favorable...broad reach about 18 when I put up all the canvas... But they kept building the entire time and came terribly close to accidental gybes in 30+ YIKES.

    By the time I decided to reef the seas were running 8' and turning the boat into the wind could cause a broach or dip the boom in the drink! YIKES.

    I didn't reef but had to hand steer the boat for the last couple of hrs before the wind died and we could ... return to normal.. But we did the 100 miles in 9.5 hrs YIKES with the current with us most of the way...

    If we had less canvas up we would lost 20 minutes I suppose and been more relaxed.

    Reef early is the take away.