Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sprung

Finally. Warm. In typical Mid-Atlantic fashion, we were wearing hats and gloves one day and shorts the next. No complaints from me. The Purple Martins are back, baitfish are hitting the surface in the canals. Finally.

We are counting down the days to 'retirement'. I'm still looking for the right terminology for when you quit work with no immediate prospects for income to go sailing. Maybe 'Lucky' is the right word.

Canal sunset, early Spring
We went sailing on Thursday. Had a great time.
We, generally, go by the boating rule - 'A good day boating is when nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt'. I think Roux (our big Chocolate Lab baby) was a bit concerned a few times when we were healed over.  But he is a good sailor dog.

There weren't many boats out because it was a classic Albemarle Sound day. Three foot chop with 20 - 30 knot winds. That makes it uncomfortable for a lot of boats and people. But we need as much sailing time as we can get and, especially, in not-so-smooth conditions.  We are still (and probably forever) learning the nuances of SeaClearly. Of course, she is a big, blue-water boat so the Albemarle doesn't present much of a challenge for her. But her personality still comes out.

She likes a port tack. Why would that be? No idea. But, ask any sailor and they will be able to tell you which one their boat likes. 'Lagniappe', the Catalina Capri 22 that we used to have (and will always miss) preferred starboard. There may be some physics that make it true. Or it may just be perception. But then, perception is reality.

Junie the Sailor Girl
 and Roux the Sailor Dog
(This is actually from
 some other day.
But notice the PFD?)
Another thing we have been working on with SeaClearly is balance. Her's, not ours. When, like yesterday,  we have a double reef in the main, and the staysail full, she tracks with the wheel damn-near centered. The same is true if we have full main and full genny. When we reduced sail a bit yesterday (eased the mainsail, took two turns on the stay) she pulls a little - about 15 degrees. All of these things are important to know.

Another thing we did was wear our lifejackets. As simple as this sounds, we need the practice. Here in our neighborhood, you can watch boats go by all day and never see anyone wearing a PFD except the little kids (only because it is required by law, not because people possess any level of common sense). We have these kick-ass PFDs and tethers to keep us on the boat. How stupid would it be to fall overboard with them stored safely in lockers. We laughed at ourselves when we realized that Roux had his life-jacket on and we didn't.

One constant challenge we have here is water depth. On a good day, we only have about 6-12 inches of water under our keel until we clear the marker a quarter mile outside our harbor. We can usually tell by looking at the water level on the bulkhead whether it will be a touchy day. Well, Thursday, the water level was fine but those 3 foot waves I mentioned made for variable depth. So we gently kissed the Albemarle mud repeatedly. Thankfully, it is soft and gooey. Probably best that the water is not clear so we can't see it. Imagine how happy SeaClearly will be with clear water and clearance.

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