Monday, August 29, 2011

Tired of being a new-be

Friend Barry of Juno fame dropped by the lake this week. Barry has been spending so much time sailing a Jeanneau 51 around the Caribbean this season that Juno remains high and dry, up on the hard with her stick lashed firmly to her deck. He had heard about Kintala and wanted to see our new boat, so he dropped by Saturday afternoon. We sailed around the lake, ended up in Coles Creek for another night free of carp chomping on our hull, then sailed around the lake again on Sunday in decent, if not exciting, winds.

Barry is to sailboats what I am to airplanes, a life long enthusiast who can make a reasonable claim at being pretty close to an expert. Sailboats are not airplanes though, and after a couple of days with Barry on board it is clear I am a new-be still. We were headed down wind. Barry allowed as putting up the whisker pole would be a good idea, asked me to keep the jib flogging a little, walked forward and rigged it up. Done. (Last time I tried that I came near to getting skewered and put the pole away for another day.) I paid attention and managed the next deployment with a lot less risk to cabin top, mast, pole and me.

We flew the big reacher. I thought we had been doing a pretty good job of trimming the thing. Except, well, we had the blocks about two feet too far forward. Also, turns out they call it a reacher for a reason. Hard to wind we really need to put on a different head sail. I did try to impress Barry with how well Kintala will point with the cutter rig up. He might have been more impressed had I realized we were hanking on the wrong sail and running the sheets inside the stays wouldn't work. Oops. But hey, I did learn that, when the wind picks up, we can roll up the head sail, fly the bigger sail on the inner forestay, stand the boat up a little and still go hull speed. (I keep telling myself I would have figured that out...eventually.) I also learned that it is quite possible to furl the head sail going upwind as well as down, and doing it that way is a good idea if downwind points one right at the nearby shore. (I was planning on rolling up the sail really, really fast!) And guess what; keeping the sheet tight, back winding the sail just a bit, and popping the clutch will drop a stay sail right on the foredeck. No fuss, no muss.

About the only thing I did do right all weekend was to get on and off the pump out dock. Of course then I botched the approach onto the pier and had to make a second run at it. Good thing they write me checks for driving airplanes, not boats.

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