Apr 09

Stellar Monday Sail

Tag: tripsmattholmes @ 3:53 am

This past Monday we sailed on the bay with friends Kevin Tompsett and Liz Roberts. This was the second week in a row that we had partially dismantled the engine and then put it back together in time for a sail (and we’re going to try for a third time this weekend). The conditions were varied, and interesting enough that I’ll give some details. First, here is our track:

We left the marina at 10am, a good 3 hours earlier than our usual average departure–which explains why we had no wind for the first 3 hours:

Upon motoring out of the marina, we immediately discovered–via an unusual and alarming noise eminating from the engine room–that the drive belt of our engine was rubbing on the alternator belt, an unfortunate and potentially disastrous condition caused by my improper reassembly of the engine the previous day. We elected to motor very SLOWLY, thereby minimizing the bad sound, and in this hobbled and tenuous state we were able to make it out of the narrow channel and hoist the sails.

Upon hoisting the sails, nothing happened. A situation caused by a total lack of wind (refer to wind archive graph above). So we sat around with the sails up for a half hour, floating for a bit. When the wind finally picked up enough for some proper sailing, we headed for angel island, and promptly sailed directly into the wind shadow of angel island. Disdaining engine usage–for reasons already mentioned–we floated around in a state of no wind for another hour or so. We sailed away from angel island a few times to reach some wind, and then elected to turn around and sail right back into the wind shadow. These maneuvers, confusing though they might seem, are well documented in our gps track above. In our defense: these things happen when you don’t particularly care where you’re going or how long it takes to get there.

As we made our way up racoon strait (the section of water between angel island and tiburon on the mainland) the wind rapidly increased. By the time we hit the west end of racoon strait we were bowling along, way overpowered, under full jib and full main. Without fanfare, I took this opportunity to change into my foulies (there isn’t enough good raingear to go around, so I try not to flaunt my enviable ability to stay bone-dry). We started burying the leeward rail in the water, hefty splashes started coming over the bow. We partially furled the jib, which helped very little. Kevin had been playfully mouthing off about us not doing any “real” sailing earlier in the day, so I decided it was an ideal time to take him up to the bow to help me set up the staysail. Within half a minute seconds a big splash soaked him through. 🙂

Thus outfitted with main and staysail, we sped under the bridge. When we made it a mile and a half past the bridge, the wind slacked off some, at which point we checked the time, Liz and I chose beers, and we decided it was time to head for home. The way back involved some fun sail changes–we went wing-on-wing for a while and scooted DDW (dead-down-wind) along the headlands, taking advantage of the flood current starting to pour back into the bay (it happens along the edges first). Back in the bay, we went off towards angel island a bit to get some room on the wind, so that when we jibed we would be ability to come up into the wind enough to use both foresails. Then we unfurled the jib again, and with both jib and staysail drawing well, we sailed just about as fast as our boat will go. The wind was still blowing and it’s a bit of a task to jibe with both headsails at once, so we sailed right into the lee of alcatraz for the maneuver. The jibe accomplished, we jammed along on the port tack until it was time to douse the staysail and main and crawl back down the channel at a lazier pace.

Super light then quite heavy wind, and myriad sail combinations, all in one glorious day.

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