Adventures of a Maiden Voyage

Finally going Sailing!

There is always more that needs to be done, but this boat owes us some fun! I know I probably shouldn’t think that way, but, after putting in two years of hot, sweaty labor and spending loads of money, I can’t help feel that way.

After finally getting her off the hard and back to her mooring field we felt the time had finally come to bring her out to the ocean. Since we have never done any ocean sailing yet, we thought that it would be a good idea to bring someone more experienced with us the first time around. Fortunately, the seller of the dryer midget dinghy we recently purchased is also a Captain for the local schooner here in St. Augustine. Fl. Seems like a friendly, easygoing guy. For once, the plans actually worked out.

We set a date, Stacey pulled our sailboat alongside his on the mooring field like a champ (yes, fenders were out) and away we went.

We knew we had to use the motor sparingly if we didn’t want to run out of power. We were a little nervous about that after seeing how far out the inlet was. Fortunately our guide for the day, Steve decided it would be wise to tack our way out. We spend six hours on the water getting comfortable with the boat, tacking, rigging up lines for the first and second reef points on the main, along with other good points. Of course we found new things that need attention like a winch that wouldn’t turn with the handle, pin holes in the sails that need patching up, etc. Nothing new there. I did find Steve’s sail patch idea interesting – sail cloth and some 3m5200. Gotta love that idea! No sewing necessary!

It was great to see the jib furler work well as I recently replaced the drum line and had initially rolled it up backwards! I hear this is a common issue. I guess that makes me feel like a little less of a dumb ass.

First sail was successful and thankfully uneventful. YAY!!!!!!!

A week later we set out on our own along with two of our boys (18 and 20). Unfortunately, it was a light winded morning which had our sails flapping around a bit. There is definitely an art to light wind sailing which we have not fully acquired yet.

Coming out of the inlet the waves were pretty large at 6-8 feet. Wow! Our boy’s favorite part, but they both ended up getting seasick. Fortunately, Stacey and I did not.  Because of the large waves and the light winds we couldn’t successfully tack our way out this time, so we eventually motored through. After a while things were going great. We were flying and tacking comfortably with full sails practicing our skills. And then it was time to head back in.

We slowly sailed downwind back into the ICW again along with a mild incoming tide. Again to save motor power. All was going well until we had to wait a short while for the bridge to open and noticed that our motor was puttering out once in a while. Not now! So close to our mooring field! We put all our fenders out in case, and eventually headed under the draw bridge very slowly and cautiously. We made it past the bridge, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk of bumping into other boats in the field. Out came Boat US to the rescue! They brought us to our mooring without a glitch. The main issue did thankfully end up just being low battery power.

Lessons learned:

*Always monitor battery power available. Duh!

*Make sure your stuffing box is not over tightened and has cooling water lubrication. Your stuffing should Not get hot to the touch while in use. Extra friction will obviously cause your motor to work harder.

Which now leads to another big project. Previously, we charged the batteries before a trip, but we could not charge while underway. We will be installing a 48 volt solar charging system (400 watts, fast charging!) specifically for the motor. This will allow us to harness energy while under sail. Can you see the Benjies flying?

Until the next time.

How the Insanity Began

Neither one of us has ever sailed so how did this whole sailing thing even come onto our radar? I blame it all on Dennis. He can have all the credit for the crazy idea this time. Dennis had stumbled on some sailing videos on You Tube and it took off from there. He went in search of a first boat that we could learn to sail on. I present to you our very first sailboat which we lovingly named Squirt.12143331_1054213897931751_7257496061172752968_n

Oh the fear that little yellow boat instilled in me. Dennis played fearless. There was a very big learning curve with Squirt that included but was not limited to getting stuck, drifting into the pier, running aground on oysters, getting stuck in a storm and almost flipping her over more than once. Needless to say it was never a dull moment when we took her out. There was definitely  a Lot of learning going on. It wasn’t all terrifyingly frought with misadventure though. We enjoyed ourselves on many sailing days also. There were dolphins that you could almost reach out and touch. The views and of course the sailing itself was Amazing.

After about two years or so of sailing Squirt we decided we wanted a bigger boat that can eventually take us further. Dennis had his list of musts. There were some long drives to look at some doozeys.  Time, patience, and quite a few boats later we found a Bristol 29.9. The price was right because she didn’t have an engine which was big on Dennis’s must list. He had his heart set on putting in an electric engine. He got his wish and then some.

Turns out this girl needs more work than originally anticipated. That is usually how it goes though isn’t it? She is coming along slowly but surely. All the projects and hard work will pay off.

Would love to hear how sailing came into your life? Did you grow up a salty sailor or did you find the adventure later on?

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar