Sunday, October 7, 2012

Change of seasons

Fall fell on us with a thud. It seems just a week ago that the days topped out at near 110 degrees with swarms of bugs to harass every step taken outdoors and the lake so low that Kintala was sitting on the bottom in her slip. This weekend night time temps dipped into the 30s, hot buttered rum was the drink of choice, the heater appeared in the center of the salon once again while jeans and sweatshirts and watch caps were all back in fashion. I love it but clearly this sailing season is coming to a close.

Deck Monkey finally gets a break
Deb and I agree that the dodger ranks at the very top of the "good things we have done to the boat" list. We got off the dock for a couple of hours today. Out on the lake it bordered on "cold" rather than "cool", but snug behind the dodger the deck monkey was toasty and comfortable. It was easy to imagine anchor watches passing much easier on a cool and windy night or spray being shouldered aside on a lumpy passage. A few metal pipes, some plastic and canvas stitched together, and almost by magic Kintala has taken on a much more purposeful air.

Hmmm...all I need is a remote control for an autopilot...

For reasons not particularly clear we thought today would be a good day to fly a staysail. We haven't set the rig that way for a while ... and it showed.  We picked the bigger of our two staysails and by day's end had decided it would spend most of its time in the bag. Still, Kintala is a happy boat with a staysail in the wind and it looks like the smaller of our jibs (which is what we have on the furler now) along with the smaller of the staysails and the main with appropriate reefs, will be our normal working set when out on big water. It is good to be closing in on the boat in this way. Ever since the V-drive went tango-uniform the to-do list has been the focus of our efforts. Getting the boat squared away was one of the reasons for buying one that we could move to the lake. But the other reason was to get comfortable with sailing and living on the thing, and that side of the equation has taken a back seat this season. So even though today was a short day on the water, it was a good day for learning.

We hope to have a few weekends of sailing left in the season to learn some more good things, but when we came back in we tied up starboard side to and bow north rather than the accustomed port side to and bow south. This seems a better way to ride out the winter winds while taking full advantage of the dodger so we decided to figure out the details of tying up this way today. There are more details than one would think and it took a while to get the boat secure in its new orientation. But it feels odd. The sun comes in the wrong ports at the wrong time of the day, people are visible on the wrong side while their voices come in from the wrong angle, and the boat actually looks bigger facing that way. (I know, I know! ... but it does.) I just hope I get used to it before heading to the head some dark winter night and stepping off the port side thinking there will be a pier under my foot.

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