Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Micro Season Apex!! 80'f in October !!!

Hi temp today 81'f!!!!!!!  No shoes, no socks, no shirt sailing.  Strong north wind, Force 4 with higher gusts.  Today shipped the rudder and steering stick.  It's good to know that it retains it's bite even when healed over, which happened a bit and to a greater degree today as I tried to find out how well the little skiff could stand up the wind. 
At times the wind died down to an easy breeze, and that made for amazing lazy sailing while laid out on the cockpit sole soaking up the heat of the sun, like charging my batteries before the cold sets in.
Looking southwest into sunny sky and cloud and shimmering water
At the auto bridge I dropped the mast and rowed under it and into the marsh.  I still had the rudder in place and with the wind behind me I decided to stand up and sail down wind using my body as the sail.  It worked! Wonderfully actually.  After sitting down all afternoon standing was nice.  The steering stick (a push pull affair) worked as if it was meant for standing and steering.  I was initially concerned about stability, the boats, mine, but it turned out to be just fine.  The floors don't extend to the edges of the boat so standing on them keeps weight inboard where it should be.  I figure that sailing this way would make reefing very easy all you have to do is sit down!
I don't know why but I find it hard to say it but I think it may be true that I am become a "small boat sailor".  I have been so certain that I am not, but my actions and delight in this boat would seem to prove otherwise.
back on the shore, a flat bottomed skiff is so easy to beach and step off dry footed. 
Well this was my 2 days of sailing this week and they were pretty great.  I am learning more and more about this boat each time we go out.  It is great fun to be the smallest boat out on such blustery days and to be doing just fine, sailing amongst the the bigger boats with crews on them, giving way, and taking my rightful way.
I have found that the little bay here, that I hardly even referred to as a bay previously, has now become my own playground with plenty of water for a boat like this and plenty of area for my kind of sailing.  I have a beautiful prominence to the north, with rock cliffs shooting up from the water and a lovely lighthouse atop, marinas all to the west.  To the east, across the river is a beautiful shore that seems like it is far away and I need not venture that far on most outings.  Sailing out as far east as the commercial channel gives me a great view to the south, down river, tall rock cliffs on the western shore and a lovely beach and a point to the south east.  I also know that looking south, I feel the presence of the Atlantic, just 40 miles away.  All I have to do is point that way and sail.  I don't need to, and don't even want to right now, but knowing that it's that easy makes it all a bit more amazing.
If that happened to be my last real outing for the season, then I've done alright, especially considering I didn't start my season until late September.  The handy ease of this boat means that my season never really ends, I just have to be ready for those nice days each month of the year that seem to materialize just to keep me sane and on the water.  I think I will invest in a drysuit for the colder season sailing.  I've been in the cold water once before and have no real desire to experience that again, although, it wasn't something I regret having gone thru, at least now I know what it's like, Hypothermia, and accepting once death in the present moment.  After that, everything seems bonus!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Huck Finn-ing it

The view from my lunch spot was marsh, reeds, sky, water.  Pretty great to be out on an 80'f day after the middle of October!  Had a romping good sail out in Stony Point Bay, with white caps.  Caught one wave over the weather rail, but ended up not nearly as wet as I have been from spray on my 27' foot boat.
Launched, rowed under a railroad bridge, sailed a half a mile, then dropped the mast and sailed under an auto bridge, then rowed under the lee of the land, raise the mast and sail and we were off!
On the return the marsh seemed like a good place to stall off going home, have a snack, and a short nap.  The little folding grapnel anchor kept us in place just fine.
This boat is soooooooo handy, easy to launch, switch from sail to row to sail.  The anchor is small and light and fit's in a bag with it's rhode.  I am excited about the 15 foot micro cruiser/camper/adventure boat, but sailing this boat and being able to carry it in the pick up truck and launch it myself, easily, will be hard to give up.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Confluence of waters

I have been preoccupied by the idea of a particular little boat, for sometime now.  I made a chalk drawing of her.
I worked out the dimensions, I made some station frames and used some battens to lay it out in the shop, so that I could get a real sense of what she might be.
this was great fun.  I could actually lay down in the space I set up for a berth, sit in the cockpit, feel what it might be like to be aboard her.
This last issue of WOODEN BOAT MAGAZINE had a piece on a boat of almost identical dimensions, lines, and type.

I found this very interesting timing.  It is also was a bit reassuring to see that an established naval architect drew something very similar and that the boat was built and successful.

With what I have learned over the past month or so of sailing WHISP, I am even more interested in seeing this idea become a reality.
This excitement has spilled over into the project that is the remodel of WANEESHEE,  my Bristol 27, and I have recently made some real progress on her interior adjustments.  It's exciting to see the progress and it makes me happy to think about the occupation of the remaining projects to keep me busy thru out the winter.

I intend to finish sewing the jib for the skiff, though I believe that using it, and the rudder will be something I only due when another person is aboard, or in light air on mild days.  The addition line handling would make it a bit awkward by myself, and steering really is dead simple with the oars.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bigger water and the Clearwater

A long fetch coming straight up the river, out of the south, force 3 to force 4
                    close hauled, the flat bottomed hull wants to pound when we drop off the wave tops and land in the troughs
I try to steer us to softer landings                We tack and come off the wind sailing into the Marina basin
We ghost along UNICORN, the hands on deck wave and say hello
we come back on our course to sail under The CLEARWATER and the crew waves and admires the little red skiff
                    Back out in the river and we run back up to the next bay, our home, the rolling waves lifting the stern
the main sheet eased out            I worried about control off the wind but needn't be.  It's a fun ride back home

On the approach to the dock I decide that I'm not ready to be done for the day and veer off and sail up to the light house as the sun gets low in the sky
even in the gusts the little sail seems to pull the boat along but not over press it
            It's just the right size for this kind of sailing          We sail right up to the dock and I reach out and loop the painter around a cleat.  3or 4 hours of easy, fun, sweet sailing, running, close hauled, beam reach, spray
This boat fits kind of like a kayak fits.
DDP Clearwater

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

rowing boat-sail boat

Glassy river, so just a row
to the point, to the light house
and back
                    the tide is ebbing and almost slack
row up river and let the current carry me back
                                                                            Out into the channel           the seagulls dive
the surface shimmers and a breeze is on the rise
                            The current helps us home, raise a sail, raise a hope, raise my spirits
at the bow the water sings                 close hauled, ease the sheet come off the wind
make myself comfortable, no shoes, no hat the sun is warm
come about and it's one long tack,
                                    past a beach, past a marina, past a yacht club, past people I go unnoticed
I must be invisible, a ghost ship, bright red hull, big white sail, bright sunshine
no one sees me
                      I'm a ghost, ghosting by right up to the landing with full sail raised
reach out and catch the cleat with my painter. 
A nice breeze is filling in but a couple of hours is enough today, there's always tomorrow, I hope.
I forgot how well this boat rows
row or sail the little skiff is becoming more and more cherished with each outing.  I want to take care of her, get her things, new, longer oars, a tent for the cockpit, better arrangements of everything.  I want to pamper her, which is really pampering me isn't it?
The chair at my desk rises on the swell that the tug that passed me going down river hours ago, left behind.  It's a giddy kind of instability, like a shot of single malt scotch.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Debauched UNICORN Triptych

I missed getting a photo of the ship today, but I snagged these older images off the internet and DDP'ed them.