Monday, May 9, 2011


This may come as a surprise to some of my friends, and not at all to others, but I'm not much of a sailor.  That's not to say I can't sail, I actually do pretty well at keeping the boat moving with the power of the wind, but I don't feel the need to always be under sail just because I have a sailboat.  The beauty and serenity of the boat being pushed along over calm waters with a gentle breeze is wonderful.  10 or 12 knots of wind on a beam reach (wind direction at 90 degrees to the direction of travel) is just about perfect.  The motion of the boat settles to a natural rhythm, and the bow slicing through the water makes a sound that it truly hypnotic.  For people that pick and choose the days they go out sailing this is what they are waiting for.  Those of us that are out every day, and don't get to pick the conditions, deal with a far greater range of conditions and therefore a greater range of enjoyment and disappointment. I feel like we err on the side of disappointment, but that's probably  because the bad days always stick with you longer than the good ones. Before we left Seattle I purchased new sails for our boat. The ones we had were old and because they were made for other boats and purchased second-hand they didn't fit very well.  The sails I purchased this time were also built for another boat, but I lucked out with the headsail and it was not only a great fit but was new and well made, at a very good price.  I was not as lucky with the mainsail.  It too was new and a very good price, but when I got it to the boat I realized it was too big and would have to be modified (re cut).  I got a good quote for the work and sent it off to the sail loft for the work, which was completed quickly.  All this is happening in March, and the weather is not cooperating, heavy rain and/or high winds mean I have to wait days or weeks before I can put up the sail at the dock each time I want to test fit or take measurements, and when the sail has been re cut and I finally get a break in the weather, I hoist it only to find that it needs more work.  The sail goes back to the loft, the additional work is complete, and the sail is  returned to us a few days before we leave in April.  We leave the dock April 2 on our "sailing adventure" and the mainsail is stuffed in a bag and taking up valuable sleeping space on our bed.  When the second round of work was done I had them leave off some of the reassembly of the sail, mostly because I'm cheap and didn't want to pay them to do it, but also because I thought I could do it myself.  I'm cramming everything I own into an over sized floating closet and leaving on a multi-year vacation, it's not like I have other things to do.  Once we are away from Seattle I find I don't have all the supplies necessary to complete the assembly, so the sail completion waits until we get to Port Townsend.  The sail is now off the bed and installed where it should be, but many of the control lines need to be moved or adjusted to work with the new sail, and the lines for reefing (making the sail smaller for higher winds) seem to be missing all together.  The next couple weeks travel include winds that are too strong for full sails, winds that are coming directly from our intended destination in narrow channels, or a complete lack of wind.  During our extended stay in Nanaimo I find the reefing lines buried in a locker and install them, and our boat is ready to be sailed.  Finally, what this long-winded rambling is leading up to, is that we had a beautiful sail in Desolation Sound, and the new sails look like they will work fine.

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