Sunday, November 17, 2013

Skiff wind

We were treated to a warm sunny saturday morning, the first saturday I've had to myself in a long while, so of course, I wanted to go sailing.  The wind was forecast to be light to calm so I thought I'd settle for a row on the river.  Wanting to spend time with my girls, my wife and my dog, I thought the skiff would be ideal for this endeavor.

launching into the marsh
at the kayak launch.
I pulled the boat into the back of the truck.  It took more time to pull the truck up the the boat shed than it took to load and tie down the boat.  I was again amazed at how easy and quick it is to be ready to start an adventure with this boat.

We have never all been in the boat at once and we were a little concerned for how we'd fit.  The dog is not the most willing sailor and fidgets most of the time, straining to see and smell what land based interests she is missing by being in a small boat.  With 2 adults, a dog, a bag with snacks and the sailing rig lying in the boat we set off.  It actually fit us just fine.  Though narrow, the cockpit is long, 7'-6" and flat.  Because I can remove any and all of the thwarts we can have clear floor space, which is just what an old dog likes.

After rowing out from the marsh and under two bridges we decided to raise the mast and see if the light air would pull the boat.
I was also concerned about how this would work with the boat being so crowded but there was no need as it all went quite smoothly.  Because I had got in the bows to row, that was where I was going to stay.  It seemed a bit much to try and swap positions fore and aft in such a skinny boat.  So with the dog amidships, she was deemed the commander, the wife in the stern she took the steering oar and I trimmed the mainsheet which was led all the way forward after it found it's block on the after deck.  This arrangement actually worked out fine.

It turned out that there was enough wind to sail and we made our way up river to the light house on the point on one tack before we attempted our return.  The return was a bit closer to the wind so it took two tacks, but we did sail our way back.  The distance from the launch to the point couldn't be more than 3 miles so a 5 or 6 mile trip took us about 3 hours.  The tide was against us on the return but not by much.  The rate of travel wasn't as important as the fact that we were able to make way in our chosen direction, with no centerboard and steering with an oar, and a pretty good load in the boat.  The fact that it took as long as it did was a bonus in that it allowed us all to spend some time together soaking up the sun and feeling very happy to be where we were.

A dog, a boat, my wife and
a warm fall day.
We saw a few power boats moving up and down the river and one sail boat under power headed down river, but we saw no other boats under sail nor did we see and kayaks or row boats.  We had the place mostly to ourselves and that was just fine

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