Sunday, September 30, 2012

Single Handed....Sort of

     Went to the boat today with the intention of starting her engine and airing her out. Weather report today was pretty crappy for sailing. I've been looking forward to going out but the wind forecast today was dismal at best. I love sailing but I have better things to do than just sit flat out in the bay. We were pleasantly surprised when we got down to Sal that there appeared to be a very nice breeze. We immediately agreed to go for an impromptu sail. We hanked on the the drifter and then I took over. I think it's called "ghost sailing". I handled the boat the whole time, from casting the lines off to docking her afterwards. First mate got to relax and hang out as I untied us and  maneuvered away from the slip. We motored out of the inlet because of the northerly wind, which was light but steady, only 2-3 knots. Once clear of the inlet I hoisted the drifter and away we went.......slowly. I was actually surprised at how well Sal went. She managed 2-2.5 knots in no more than 4.5 knots of wind. That drifter sure helps her along. We only hoisted the drifter because neither one of us wanted to hear the slapping of the main, as the bay was filled with motor boats. After a short sail we headed back in. We had gone out on a whim so we didn't have any snacks or water. We were just out there for a quickie! As we approached the inlet I turned Sal into the wind, pulled the drifter in and started the engine. While transiting back to the slip I kept running through my mind  how I would get Sal into her berth and tied off. I approached slowly and turned her as I usually did. With the bow gliding into the slip I put Old Sal in reverse to scrub the last bout of momentum, jumped onto the pier and secured the rear spring. She was secure in the slip. I admit the weather was more than forgiving today but it was still a big relief to guide her into the slip almost perfectly. The first mate was impressed. I have to say that today was a very light wind day and probably won't get many that perfect but it was a good start. If I can find some free time this week after work I may head out again.

Poor Boat

This poor classic looks like she has seen better days:(

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Random Pictures From Sequoia Nation Park

We had a great trip to the very remote and beautiful place. It's hard to imagine the size and age of the Sequoia trees there. From what I read some of these trees are over 2300 years old and 285ft tall! We were only there for 5 days and really only got to scratch the surface of this national park. We had a great tour guide that showed us all the great places. We saw rivers, waterfalls, caves, trees and wildlife. Although I think all the bear signs are just a scare tactic to add to the experience...We didn't see any bears! Below are some random pictures of Sequoia and Kings Canyon showing what an amazing place this is.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Single Handing

   Over the next few weeks I will be setting our Sal up for single handed sailing. I am doing this because while I have the best first mate there is.....she doesn't always like to bob around in the bay without a destination. I single handed an O'day Daysailor II and 19ft wooden sharpie as a kid. I  have also gone solo on Sal before on the last leg of our trip home with her.  It was quite easy as there were no slips to get in and out of. I am fairly confident I won't have a problem with the sailing portion of singlehanding, but I am working now to set up our slip for this. We share a berth with another sailboat, meaning there is no finger pier on our starboard side with the bow in. I am terribly afraid of being blown into that or another boat.
   The first mate was very hesitant about the idea but as long as I have all of the safety equipment that I need, she's ok with it. I have a harness, tether and jacklines that I will use once away from the slip. I also have a nice handheld ICOM waterproof VHF radio that I will keep clipped to my harness. I have a whistle that I will keep on me and a strobe light.
  As far as Sal goes I have most of the lines run back to the cockpit. I  also set up a downhaul on the jib in case I need to get it down quickly. That also runs to the cockpit. This will save me a trip to the bow. I have rigged her very simply so it should be fairly easy to handle all the lines. I still have to install a padeye in the cockpit.....might do that this weekend. Still contemplating a tiller pilot. I will probably hold off on that because of expense. While out sailing the last few times I had been working on a sheet to tiller setup that works ok for now....I will have more time to mess with it once I get out there by myself.
I may try to head out this weekend and see how it goes....I will report back (good or bad). Wish me luck!


A Bike Ride to Sausalito

Crystal and her bro!
Classic Golden Gate picture...Of course I needed my own pic

Sausalito was full of this beauty


Fisher 34....need I say more...

Looking over at Tiburon
Fog rolling in over the hills of Sausalito.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Made it Home!!  ........ To finally finish my journey home: So there I was motoring across the southern Chesapeake Bay with a very stiff NNE 20-25kt breeze. I was getting tossed around like a rubber duck in a tub full of kids. These waves were at least 4-5ft, for the most part breaking on my beam. I was wet and miserable, and to make matters worse, I could only make about 3 kts.  I had already plotted the course outside of the HRBT to the entrance to Little Creek Inlet on my handheld GPS, and for the most part just followed the channels. In hindsight this took me much further than I needed to be, so a lot can be said for being familiar in advance with the waters that you plan to be in. This was going to my first time in my own boat in the Thimble Shoals Channel and the entrance to Little Creek Inlet.
   After an hour or so I began to start looking at the GPS, wondering how much further I had to travel.  It appeared as if I wasn't moving.....I only went 2 miles.....I had about 5 to go! I was nervous because I knew if my trusty Atomic 4 quit I would have been on the 6 o'clock news: "Beached!" I'm glad to report that not only did Old Sal and her trusty engine get us there but she also reassured me that she was still a good ole' boat with plenty of sailing left in her keel.
   As I continued to motor on I could see a Navy vessel off in the distance...way off. As the minutes passed, the ship got closer. I was making steady progress for the inlet. I now only had about 2 miles to go and could see the bright green marker lights from within the harbor. At the time I had no idea what the lights were but I was just happy that they were getting closer. What I was most concerned about now was that the Navy ship appeared to be heading for the same inlet...which, as I was soon to find out, is only about 300 yards wide. As the lights and breakwater of Little Creek got closer so did the ship. After another hour passed we were both at the breakwater at the same time....eeeyikes! What luck.
  "THIS IS WARSHIP 4 1 SMALL SAILBOAT TO OUR STARBOARD SIDE PLEASE STATE YOUR INTENTIONS", blared out of my handheld. I thought to myself are they for real? They couldn't see me for the past hour getting tossed around like I was inside a washing machine? I did not answer. "THIS IS WARSHIP 4 1 SMALL SAIBOAT TO OUR STARBOARD SIDE PLEASE STATE YOUR INTENTIONS" blared again.At this point we were both in the calm of the breakwater and their bow was blazing by me. This was no small frigate or destroyer either, this ship was a much larger amphibious assault vessel. I was well clear of them, so I grabbed the handheld and said "THIS IS S/V SALACIA AND I INTEND TO STAY AS CLOSE TO THIS BREAKWATER AS POSSIBLE AND OUT OF YOUR WAY". I didn't get a response. As they went by I noticed a large wall of water starting to build toward me against the breakwater. I guess this was from displacement of the ship, because there really was no wake. I saw the wall of water bulding and could do nothing about it. When it hit I was just about tossed out of the cockpit. I would say to this day that was about as close to being knocked down as I have been on any sailboat other than a Sunfish.
   Once the wall of water passed and Sal settled out I finally felt I could breathe a sigh of relief. I took the turn to starboard to enter the commerical part of Little Creek Inlet. I was so happy to have Sal at her marina that I quickly forgot I was nearly swamped just minutes earlier. As I turned down towards my slip I could see the friend I'd arranged to meet me waiting at my slip to receive the lines. And just like that, Sal was home.
   We learned many lessons from this entire adventure, which I will post here soon. But the biggest thing we found was that we had chosen the right boat. While many will not consider her perfect, in every aspect she had proven herself perfect for us!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great day on the water

Relunctantly returning to her slip......

Look at those classic lines

Returning from a nice day sail. Beautiful day!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

North Sea on a 28ft Sailboat

 Great video of what our small boats are capable of! Are we capable? Am I capable???