Sunday, November 2, 2008

Almost perfect

This was a pretty good weekend. The only real disappointment was the lack of wind Saturday when Steve and his friends Vince and Karen came out for a sail. With the drifter up little Nomad did her best but putting a few bubbles in an easy wake was all she could make of the wind. We enjoyed the visit anyway and they have an open invitation to try again whenever they like.

Once back in the slip I took to testing the tension of the fore stay by stringing up the hammock and filling it with approximately 175 pounds of dead weight. A little Rum-N-Coke helped keep the test going well into the afternoon. While I was involved with this complex series of equipment assessments Deb was just puttering around by wiring up and assembling the GPS system.

After surviving yet another party at the yacht club with the normal late night stay around a blazing bonfire, we woke up this morning to steady winds in the 9 to 14 knot range. Headed out in the wake of another "early bird" we watched as the newly installed GPS system gave us a continuous readout of our exact speed. This was the first time we had anything but a guess when it came to estimating how fast we have been going across the water and, as it turns out, we have been dissing little Nomad a bit. For all of our talk of our slow cruiser boat we found ourselves making a solid 4+ knots when we might have estimated we were doing about 2. The wind was steady all day and at one point, on a broad reach with a following sea, the GPS clicked up to 6.3 knots. That's just shy of our estimated max hull speed of about 6.7 knots while flying our pretty small jib in winds of 15 knots. Pretty cool stuff! A bit later I was at the helm and got to playing wind gusts against sail to try and bury the gunwales in the water. Nomad never got leaned over quite far enough but we got pretty close.

As an added bonus flocks of giant white pelicans are using the lake as a stop over on their yearly migration. These are just amazingly beautiful birds with white bodies, black tipped wings and bright yellow, almost golden, bills. They are also fantastic fliers. And they are big, six feet and more from wingtip to wingtip. I have to say that they classed up the joint by dropping by. Even the seagulls seemed on their best behavior in light of the visiting dignitaries.

Sadly enough the coming winter and this weekend's time change make for an early setting sun. We were on the bikes this weekend and really wanted to be off the back roads before dark. To do so we had to make the slip by 2 pm. Heading back in I learned we should drop the head sail first, not the main. With the main down and the wind still blowing I simply could not control the bow, making Deb's job out on the deck a little harder than it needed to be. There is some beginner in me yet. While putting Nomad to bed I found some more anti-freeze in the bilge water instead of the engine where it belongs. So next week's first task is yet another search for a coolant leak. Tell me again why we put motors on boats? This little diesel is getting to be a major pain in the butt. But all things considered it was still pretty close to a perfect weekend with friends on board, a fun time Saturday night, and near postcard winds and weather today.

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